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how to kraft a winner

Ken Hoffman on how to 'kraft' a winner in the rodeo's World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest

Hoffman on how to 'kraft' a winner in the rodeo's Bar-B-Que contest

Kraft mac and cheese
Nobody beats Kraft when it comes to this dish, says our columnist.  Kraft/Facebook

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has added a new category to next year’s World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest (read the CultureMap story here).

In addition to the traditional brisket, ribs, chicken, Go Texan, and Dutch Oven Dessert throwdowns, there will be an “Open Contest.” This is where barbecue teams can whomp up anything they desire — except desserts.

“The Open Contest category gives barbecue teams the opportunity to flex their cooking skills in a creative way,” David Stone, chairman of the World’s Championship Bar-B-Cue Contest, noted in a statement. “Whether it’s chili, macaroni and cheese, or surf and turf – winners will receive a trophy and bragging rights.”

Did he say macaroni and cheese? Well, listen up if you want to win the Open Contest and take home that trophy.

Head to the grocery store and pick up a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, the plain blue box that’s been around since 1937.  Be careful. Don’t be tricked into buying the “Thick and Creamy” version or “Spirals” or “Three Cheese” or “White Cheddar” or “Gluten Free” or “Cauliflower Original Cheddar” or “Whole Grain” or “White Bean Original” or “Unicorn Shapes” or “Frozen Shapes” (from the movie Frozen), or “Paw Patrol” styles.

You also don’t want the microwavable cups — 10 varieties. Or the Big Bowls — two sizes. Or the Deluxe versions with pre-made, pre-packaged creamy sauce – 11 styles. Way to take a good idea and run it into the ground Kraft.

No, you want the hard stuff, with elbow macaroni and processed neon orange cheese powder that you have to add milk and butter. No matter how much you stir, you’ll still bite into a clump of dry powdered cheese that puffs in your mouth and sticks to your teeth.

I don’t care how many trophies your barbecue team has won or how many times you’ve appeared on BBQ Pit Wars on the Destination America cable channel. You can’t make macaroni and cheese better than Kraft.

Kraft sells a million boxes of macaroni and cheese each day in the U.S.  In Canada, they don’t even call it macaroni and cheese – it’s just “Kraft Dinner.”
You can buy Alaskan Captain Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese at Costco ($99) or Lobster Truffle Mac and Cheese from Harry and David ($199) — and it won’t touch reliable ol’ Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for $1.19 or five for $5 on sale.

A box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese will serve two people ... or, just me. If you use margarine and 2-percent milk, the box packs only 875 calories, 32 fat grams and 25 grams of protein. It’s good for you.

I know a guy who won a big BBQ rib contest in Galveston. Later I asked him how he made his sauce that drew raves from judges.

I expected to hear about a secret recipe handed down through generations. Nope.

He said he uses plain Kraft barbecue sauce, the cheap bottles on the bottom shelf at the supermarket. He said, “Kraft makes a million gallons of this sauce every day. They know what they’re doing.”

I know another guy who entered a homemade hot wing contest. He went down the street and bought a couple dozen Three Mile Island wings from Hooters and submitted them. He came in third.

You want to win bragging rights at next year’s Rodeo BBQ Contest? First prize is waiting for you on the pasta aisle at your supermarket. You’ll recognize it – blue box.

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