Barbecue purists all over Carolina, Texas, Memphis and Kansas City are weeping right now.
The best pork ribs in the world - as judged Friday at the World Food Championships in Las Vegas - come out of a smoker tended by a man from Lansdale, Pa.
"There is no better feeling in the world," said Bob Trudnak, a fixture on the BBQ circuit who competes under the name BBQ Guru. That's the Warminster-based company where he is marketing manager; BBQ Guru manufactures the Onyx Oven that he uses.
Trudnak also finished overall in seventh place in the side-dish category for his barbecue black beans, topped with pico de gallo and crispy bacon lardons from the local Bespoke Bacon.
Trudnak, who turns 43 on Monday, started competing in 2007. He is on the road most weekends from late February to November, juggling the Montgomery County-based catering business he owns with his wife, Tammy.
Last month at the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour Championship in Bentonville, Ark., Trudnak's ribs placed third and his brisket was seventh.
He also just begun bottling his barbecue sauce, which is a Kansas City-style sweetened with agave nectar.
So what's his secret for ribs - besides the apple and pecan wood in the smoker? "I'll give you three - because I have many secrets," Trudnak said, chuckling. "High-quality meat. [He uses Hunts Point, out of the Bronx.] You have to start with the thickest, most marbeled rib you can find. You need a great sauce, and controlling your temperature."
Also from the Philadelphia area, Glenn Gross of Fat Jack's BBQ finished in a three-way tie for 11th place overall in the burger category. His Ultimate Memphis Mauler - which won the 2013 Philadelphia Burger Brawl - was judged the third-best burger.
The creation uses Angus chuck brisket and ribeye, topped with BBQ sauce, cheddar-jack cheese, hickory-smoked brisket, Carolina pulled pork, sauteed onions, Kentucky slaw & Memphis Dry Rub., served on a buttered, toasted Le Bus onion brioche roll with a pickle on top.