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Cued up: Fiery foods show focuses on barbecue

The Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show turns 30 years this year, and it’s celebrating with a focus on barbecue.

“This anniversary, we’re going barbecue,” said Dave DeWitt, Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show founder. “That’s the main feature item in the show this year. You know, everybody thinks it’s just about super-hot and spicy stuff, but in reality we’ve covered barbecue now for 25 years.”

This year’s show, which starts today and runs through Sunday, March 4, at Sandia Resort & Casino, will feature two media stars of barbecue: Ray Lampe, also known as Dr. BBQ, and Rick Browne. Lampe is the author of about 10 books on barbecue and makes frequent TV appearances. He cooks competitively and teaches people how to use the Big Green Egg, for which he is the national spokesman. The Big Green Egg is a ceramic smoker.

Browne is best-known as the host of “Barbecue America” on PBS, which he hosted for about seven years. He has also written 16 books on barbecue and other things. Both will do demonstrations on the patio near the Eagle Room on Saturday and Sunday.

Robert Pianka of Marquis de Kampot will discuss the revitalization of the pepper industry in Cambodia at noon Saturday and Sunday in the Roadrunner Room.

“It was just totally destroyed, and it’s come back in the last decade or so,” DeWitt said of the pepper industry in Cambodia. “The first thing (Pianka) does is have everyone crunch a peppercorn in their mouth and get the flavor so they’ll believe what he’s telling them.”

Head over to the Eagle Room for a special 505 Food Fights edition to benefit New Mexico Kids Matter, which is a complex system created to protect children when the state intervenes to protect a child’s safety. A judge appoints a trained volunteer advocate to make recommendations to the court, according to the organization’s website. There will be three preliminary 505 Food Fights rounds Saturday, in which two local chefs will go head to head in each round, creating courses using secret ingredients revealed to them at the time of the bout. The winners will move on to the semifinal on Sunday, with the top two moving to the final later that day. For tickets and schedule, visit 505foodfights.org.

There will be about 1,000 products from 160 to 170 exhibitors at the show, according to DeWitt. New exhibitors include Miller’s Banana Pepper Mustard, Paulita’s New Mexico, Clark and Hopkins, China’s Dezhuang International and Hazmat Hot Sauce.

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