Eggs on the Beach: A griller thriller
Sea Market, K’Eggs Over Easy, Healing Paws big winners
By Michelle Farnham
Oct. 17, 2022
MIRAMAR BEACH – Seascape Towne Centre was smoking Oct. 15, as hungry taste-testers had their fill – and then some – at the eighth annual Eggs on the Beach grilling competition.
Event organizer and Bay Breeze Patio owner Susan Kiley was all smiles, basking in what she called “chamber of commerce weather” as she watched the EggFest unfold, trusty clipboard in hand.
“We have 20 cook teams. New this year, Knob Creek is sampling a lineup of cocktail drinks and Abita Beer is sampling beers in our beer garden,” Kiley pointed out. “The raffle is probably the best raffle we’ve ever had, but I have to say – by far – this is the best food year I have ever seen. The food has been unbelievable.”
Cook teams are competing for prizes, including Best Knob Creek Bite, deemed to have most effectively utilized the Kentucky bourbon; Best Non-Profit Team; and the highly coveted Taster’s Choice, which allows attendees to vote via ticket system.
For the Judges’ Choice category, five honorary judges sampled food from each team, determining the winner based on such categories as taste and appearance. This year’s panel included Texas barbecue legend Chef John O’Neil, Chef Al Massa of Brotula’s Seafood House, private chef Kali Davis, Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood GM Mike McIntosh, and freelance food writer Abigail Abesamis Demarest.
O’Neil – who has a house here on the bay – even got called into duty, filling in after a member of the Food For Thought cook team had an emergency.
He was elbow-deep in beef, creating a dish he called “How Do You Do Your Wagyu?” using Honor Wagyu from Dallas, including beef bacon, New York strip and flat steak. His secret ingredient was his homemade non-alcoholic coffee syrup barbecue sauce, combined with Knob Creek to make a candy glaze. He topped everything off with his own Dude Food Fire spice blend.
When it comes to judging duty, O’Neil said he was really looking for depth of flavor.
“Anyone can grill, but if you have access to 15 hours of cooking, it had better taste deep,” O’Neil said. “Taste is 50 percent, but what did you do for creativity, what did you do to run with an idea, what did you do for visual aesthetic?”
Compared to the traditional Texas barbecue he’s accustomed to, O’Neil noticed beach barbecuers liked to incorporate a lot more tropical fruit, salt, and more heat, the latter he attributed to the area’s New Orleans influence.
Pete Goldman of Breezy’s Biscuits teamed up with “G-Stack” and “A-Stack” on the Mind If I Smoke? team. Together they created pork belly burnt ends with Knob Creek maple bourbon glaze, served with sweet sliced pickles, smoked mac and cheese, accompanied with one of Goldman’s hatch green chili cheddar biscuits.
This was Goldman’s first EggFest, and he was blown away.
“I think this is an amazing event! The turnout is probably 10 times what I expected!” Goldman said. “Food is what drives this city – as well as the beach – and we’re brining Georgia, we’re bringing Tennessee, we’re bringing Florida flavors right here.”
Across the complex, the Smoke on the Bay team included Jimmy Powell and Keith Landry, who were first-time attendees in 2021 and decided to enter as a cook team this year with their authentic Cuban pork with beans and rice.
Landry said the dish was inspired by a dinner served at a Cuban friend’s house. Starting with a pork roast, they marinated it in a spice rub, slow-cooked it for 15 hours, made a mojo sauce using freshly-squeezed oranges, and a side of Cuban beans and rice.
“My friend made this dish and I thought it was the best pork I’d ever eaten,” Landry explained. “We’ve been making this for at least 25 years. The dish just lends itself to being cooked on the Big Green Egg. When you’re smoking it, you’re doing it low and slow, and that’s the idea.”
Eggs on the Beach has both good food and good causes. Proceeds benefit The Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Food for Thought, and has raised well over $200,000 since its inception.
1. Sea Market
3. Brock Pest Control
Best Knob Creek Bite
1. K’eggs Over Easy
2. Brock Pest Control
3. Sea Market
Best Non-Profit Pick
1. Healing Paws For Warriors: Blue Mountain Bakery
2. The Eggstrahs: South Walton Academy
3. Food For Thought
1. K’Eggs Over Easy
2. Nice Racks
Photos by Michelle Farnham