By Alyssa Schnugg
Holly Jubera took second place in the annual Fire Woman Challenge at the World Food Competitions in Texas this past weekend.
She also scored in the top 10 for the vegetarian category.
She said she’s particularly proud of her showing in the Fire Woman Challenge.
“I’ve wanted to do this since the first time I watched this competition,” Jubera said.
To be one of the Fire Woman Challengers, the cook has to be invited, generally after being recommended by other cooks.
The Fire Woman Challenge is an ancillary event held at the WFC, where lady pitmasters go head-to-head in a 90-minute, no-electricity, no-menu-limit barbecue battle.
Jubera cooked North Carolina Shrimp & Grits with fire-roasted corn blended into the grits.
For taking home second place, she won $750.
For the Vegetarian Category, she made a smokey peach BBQ pulled Jackfruit sandwich with onions, red bell peppers and yellow squash fried in different batters, on a beer bread bun with candied jalapeños and kale slaw.
After placing sixth place, she went on to round two where she presented the judges with mushroom moussaka with a Greek tzatziki sauce and fresh roti flatbread. She made the Top 10, scoring in sixth place again.
Jubera and her husband, Steve, have been competing in live fire competitions for the last few years. They started Thacker Mountain BBQ in Oxford where they hosted the Velvet Ditch Steak Classic cook-off in June that included a Kids’ Pizza Cooking Contest and raised $5,000 for Family Crisis Services.
Jubera’s only training in the kitchen comes from years of working in a Chinese restaurant in Springfield, Missouri before the Juberas moved to Oxford.
“All of my training has been from working at that restaurant, cooking with barbecue pitmasters at competitions and practicing at home,” she said.