ST. CHARLES – Barbecuing is almost second nature to North Aurora resident Nate Kuhn.
"I grew up not eating vegetables," Kuhn said. "I'm sort of a natural carnivore."
Kuhn was competing Sunday in an amateur barbecue contest, part of this weekend’s Firin’ Up the Fox event at the Charlestowne Mall. Kuhn and his wife, Sarah, were part of the CatDaddy's BBQ team.
"We have three cats," he said. "And it's kind of a cool name."
Kuhn was confident that his barbecued spare ribs and chicken would stand up well to the competition.
"Everyone who does barbecue thinks there's is the best," he said. "We are here to see who is the best."
Gavin Stoub, of Batavia, and his brother-in-law, Brent Bedell, of Orland Park, weren't about to reveal any cooking secrets.
"If I told you, I would have to kill you," Stoub said with a laugh.
He has been barbecuing since 2008.
"It's a good way to throw a party and have fun doing it," Stoub said.
Barbecuing is also all in the family for brothers Randy Mulvey of Wheaton and Bob Mulvey of Lockport. Their team was appropriately named The Brothers Q.
"He got me into it," Randy Mulvey said. "He's been doing it for a year or two. Barbecuing is a great family activity."
This was his first barbecue competition. He cooked up chicken thighs slathered with blackberry barbecue sauce.
"It's my first time out of the box," he said. "I'm hoping it will turn out all right."
Along with being able to spend time with his brother, he also enjoyed the camaraderie between the other barbecue cooks.
"It's almost like a community," he said. "You share secrets, although you don't give them all away."
Pride of the Fox Inc. put on the event for the second consecutive year. Firin’ Up the Fox started last year during the RiverFest event in St. Charles. LivingWell Cancer Resource Center in Geneva will receive a portion of the proceeds from the event.