Füstös Nyúl (Smoky Rabbit) Cup
Juicy meats, precisely adjusted ovens and extensive knowledge; this is what it takes to become a successful barbecue competitor. And, of course, a competition which one can attend. In our blog post below, we present the history of the Füstös Nyúl Cup so far and perhaps more importantly, its future!
Before we can get to know the Füstös Nyúl (Smoky Rabbit) Cup, which has a history of more than 5 years, we have to go a little further back in time, to the roots. Meat dishes are undeniably popular in our country, and backyard potlucks and bacon roasting over a campfire also have a long tradition. However, the situation is different in the case of the BBQ line. The defining elements of US’s backyard cuisine are the hamburger, ribs and, of course, steak prepared on the garden grill. Although we are familiar with this flavor in our country, the technical details have only been studied for a little over half a decade by those involved in competitive cooking. However, preparation, knowledge of dishes and different baking techniques are essential in this multivariate genre in order to prepare outstanding meals. The desire for knowledge and the search for perfect combinations inspired János Török, Benedek Szabó, Szabolcs Kauderer, Miklós Mód and András Csepregi to found the Fehér Nyúl BBQ Team. The Western European associations that hosted and entered their competitions based on the SCA (Steak Cookoff Association) and KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) frameworks, which were already internationally accredited at that time, served as an example for the professional team. However, their aspiration went beyond attending international events, the team also wanted to perform well in domestic competitions. They made their home debut at the KCBS competition at Tállya in 2017, which they attended in 2018 too, winning a couple of trophies. At the same time however, they started organizing their own competition, thus expanding the domestic segment.
The Füstös Nyúl Cup launched in 2018. The event was held at the team's namesake and key sponsor, the Fehér Nyúl Brewery & Taproom factory site. At that time, the cup, which was still small but aroused serious interest, provided an opportunity to get to know the prominent figures of the domestic scene, and this is how the friendship with Róbert Lúcius Szűcs, i.e. PiciGurman, a pillar member of the organizing team of the Cup, was formed. The direction was clear; more events, with as many competitors as possible!
2019 was a milestone for the team, the Cup and the domestic steak cookoffs in general. The first beer dedicated to the Cup, Smoky Rabbit smoked Maibock, was produced in a tradition-creating manner. The team took part in Austrian, German, Slovenian, English and South African competitions, but the most important event was the domestic Füstös Nyúl Cup held at Kobuci Garden, which was accredited by a Dutch representative of the SCA. The scores achieved at the competition were thus included in the international list, and the steak cooking workshop and competition judge training before the event significantly increased the credibility of the domestic scene. In addition, PiciGurman won the coveted Golden Ticket, which gave him the opportunity to compete at the SCA World Championship, hosted in the United States. The experiences gained during several months of competing in the States have been a great help to the team ever since, both in terms of organization and technique.
The development was therefore continuous, and the organizing team started 2020 with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately however, the pandemic also put a damper on the plans for the Cup. The second Smoky Rabbit beer was ready, the venue was available and international competitors also applied to take part in the Cup. The team negotiated with sponsors, everything was on track, then Covid hit. Unfortunately, the border closures made it impossible for international competitors to enter, and for a representative to come, and without one, an official SCA competition could not be held*. Fortunately, the event did not have to be canceled, but the points gained weren’t included in the international ranking. Regardless, the competition was held in a very good atmosphere, where, in addition to the competition, great emphasis was placed on the education of the next generation, by hosting a trade show promoting the segment of competitive cookoffs. In addition, professional chefs also saw the opportunity in a competition where, instead of sympathy voting, the meals are evaluated by qualified judges during a blind tasting according to a uniform, strict set of rules. We could say that the recipe had been proven, we just had to wait for the "good weather" to come.
2021 passed without any major events. The unpredictable pandemic situation made large-scale organization impossible, so this year was more about resting and preparing for the future. In 2022, the obstacles were finally removed, and this year's competition was again accredited. Numerous exhibitors and industry representatives came to attend, so those interested could meet the various ovens, spices, instruments and devices used in competitive cooking in one place. The trend is unbroken, more and more people are moved by the Füstös Nyúl Cup. And that's how we get to the present and the future.
2023 will be the year of growth. The team organizes significantly more events than ever before. This year, three cups will be organized, with two competitions in each cup. Five accredited steak cookoff competitions are enough to be called National championship, so by the end of the year we will have the first Hungarian champion! An integral part of the concept is to expand the competition series with rural locations, promoting the spread of the genre's reputation nationwide. All three cups will be accredited, so it will also be possible to collect a significant total score during the year for any given team, even without major international trips.
Of course, the organizers also help with the preparation through hosting steak cooking workshops. During the limited-seat training course, the participants get to know the SCA framework, the most important cooking techniques, and the successful acquisition of the knowledge can also be verified, as everyone prepares their own competition steak based on what they have learned. Organizational expansion is also necessary to facilitate all this progress. Therefore, the organizers decided to found the Smoked Rabbit Grill and BBQ Association! The association form facilitates the involvement of commercial sponsors and also eases organization, training of new members and the use of resources. If you are interested in competitive steak grilling BBQ, or you would like to visit the workshops or the Cup stations, or if you are interested in becoming a member of the association, we recommend visiting the following pages:
Acknowledgment: In addition to the Fehér Nyúl BBQ Team and PiciGurman, others also took part in organizing the Cup. They actively contributed to the aforementioned results with their work, expertise and support, and we would like to thank them for this: Andrea Molnár, Annamária Gyökér, Gizella Miklósi, Linda Török, Róbert Bogdán