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East Fishkill Residents Know Their BBQ

Nancy and Don Muller at a BBQ contest in Germany.
Nancy and Don Muller at a BBQ contest in Germany. Photo Credit: Don Muller

EAST FISHKILL, N.Y. -- Before you serve your plate of brisket, you might want to give it to Don and Nancy Muller, an East Fishkill couple, first.

The two are certified master BBQ judges and contest representatives with the Kansas City BBQ Society and have judged over 75 BBQ contests and served as officials for 50 contests across the country and around the world in places like Canada and Germany.

To become a judge, the Mullers had to take a six-hour class. They had to judge 30 contests and take a test before they became master judges. BBQ is judged on appearance, texture and taste, with scores going from two to nine.

Getting to judge BBQ contests has some obvious advantages, Don Muller said.

"You get to have some incredible BBQ," Muller said. "They are cooking it for you and you're getting it hot. You're not going to get that anywhere else. It spoils you for the masses."

While everyone's tastes are different, Muller said he looks for certain things in each item. For pulled pork, it should stick to the roof of your mouth, while ribs should come off nice and clean.

"You should be able to see your bite mark," Muller said.

Muller said beef brisket should pull and break apart and not be like a rubber band.

"I'm a fair and reasonable judge," Muller said.

When he's back home, Muller said he likes to go to Big W's Roadside BBQ in Wingdale on Route 22 but he doesn't eat BBQ too much when he's not eating out.

Maintaining a healthy diet while eating BBQ around the country can have its challenges. The Mullers joined Gold's Gym and Don has lost 100 lbs. since November 2014, while Nancy has lost 50 as part of a Gold's Gym fitness challege. The two decided to lose weight after the birth of their grandchild.

"We use a Fitbit so we make sure we get our 10,000 steps," Muller said. "You have to balance it and maintain portion control. You have to focus on what your goals are."

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