Rinaldi with Myron Mixon, celebrity chef and four-time barbecue World Champion.
HINSDALE, Mass. — Professional barbecue teams from all over New England will compete at the Harpoon BBQ Festival in Windsor, Vt., on July 27-28, with hopes of being crowned the grand champion and earning a ticket to the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue.
And Berkshire County's own George Rinaldi will be among them.
Rinaldi, 54, of Hinsdale, has been competing on the professional Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned circuit for eight years. He and his family travel to six or seven competitions annually. They've been all over New England, as well as in New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas. At a typical event, competitors must deliver their entries in four categories (chicken, ribs, pork and brisket) to the master judges by pre-specified times — and not a second later.
Rinaldi's skills have earned many trophies, including a first-place prize for his Ribs Division win at a recent competition in New Jersey.
"There are usually anywhere from 35 to 60 teams at each competition," Rinaldi said. "I try to stay in the top 10."
As his reputation has grown locally, he's begun taking on small weekend catering jobs to supplement his full-time work in the Facilities Department at Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America's Pittsfield office.
For Rinaldi, it all started several years ago when he was walking to a friend's house and smelled what he what he said was a heavenly scent.
"My friend said, 'I'm smoking sausage,' and then he showed me the smoker he was using," Rinaldi remembered. "Since that day, I've known what I wanted to do. I've been fortunate to have been trained by Myron Mixon, to have a strong mentor in Daryl Strickland and several good friends, including Kenny Nadeau, who are committed to my success."
Before embarking on the professional barbecue circuit, Rinaldi took two professional classes — one in Maryland and one in Alabama. He now owns two smokers — a Lang 84-inch Reverse Flow Smoker and a Myron Mixon G33 Gravity-Feed Smoker — and must choose between them when traveling to a competition based on what he'll be preparing.
"I have excellent support this year, with sponsorships from Market 32, North Elm Butcher Block and Uncle Kenny's BBQ Sauce," he said.
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BMC Cancer Center to Host Survivor Thriver Event on Zoom
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Medical Center Cancer Center will present its annual survivor thriver event using the Zoom online platform.
"Celebrate & Thrive: Health and the Rhythm of Life" will be presented by Dr. Mark Pettus, medical director of Population Health for BMC, on Thursday, June 4, from 4 to 5 pm.
Dr. Pettus will discuss healthy hints for thriving through cancer. The event is designed for cancer survivors and their families and is in honor of National Survivorship Day, sponsored by the Cancer Center Patient and Family Advisory Council and Survivorship Committee.
To register for this Zoom event, call 413-395-7992 and leave a message with your email address and the name of your oncologist. A Zoom link will then be sent by email once the registration is complete.
MassWildlife has seen a dramatic uptick in newly documented eagle nests and has confirmed nine new nests in Fitchburg, Wenham, Concord, Rutland, Wareham, Medford, Northampton, Hudson, and Barnstable. click for more
"I never intended to stay involved this long, but after you see the love and respect the staff have for the people they serve, it's impossible to leave," he said. "And while it has been hard for me to resign, it's time for me to step down, allow for new leadership, and enjoy my retirement." click for more