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Who doesn’t love ribs on the grill, slathered in
sauce and falling off the bone?
Well, for one, Orlando attorney and certified
barbecue judge Amanda Podlucky.
“It shouldn’t be tough, but when you bite into it,
the meat shouldn’t all pull off the bone,” she ad-
vises. “In competition, that’s considered overdone.”
During the week, Podlucky is a partner at
Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin,
where she practices personal injury defense, which
appeals to her appreciation for variety. “Every case,
every plaintiff is different,” she notes.
Podlucky recently represented a large insurance
company sued by a man who claimed an accident
had caused back injuries that prevented him from
performing basic tasks without help. Podlucky’s
team spotted a recent newspaper photograph
of him, taken after a race at which his team won
a division. “We were able to obtain a significant
reduction in the demand, despite the significant
medical bills, and settled for a small fraction of
what he was initially seeking,” she says.
But on weekends during barbecue season—
which in Florida runs from Labor Day to mid-
June—her craving for variety takes her within
Amanda J. Podlucky
COLEMAN & GOGGIN
Both Sides of the (BBQ) Bench
Personal injury defender—and brisket champion—Amanda Podlucky
is halfway to becoming a master cookoff judge BY G.K. SHARMAN
sniffing range of the wood smoke at various events
sanctioned by the Florida BBQ Association.
In the legal world, attorneys usually practice law
before taking the bench. In the world of barbecue,
Podlucky and her boyfriend, engineer Lee Thompson, started out as judges. No robe required,
though a bib is sometimes in order.
After joining the FBA, then taking a three-hour
seminar that covered the rules of competition,
food presentation (in Florida, it’s meat only, no
“greenery”), and, of course, a hands-on lab in
which instructors explained the finer points of
tasting chicken, pork and beef, they received their
certification in September 2015. By press time,
they’d judged 14 events. After 25, they can qualify
to be master judges.
In competition, a panel of judges samples the
entries in a double-blind tasting. They’re looking
for presentation, taste and tenderness. Judges
sample a lot of food, which is why that first perfect
bite is so important.
In early 2016, she and Thompson decided to
see BBQ from the other side and formed their own
team, Pig-Chicka-Cow-Cow. Though they are one
of the youngest teams in the FBA’s professional
Life outside of billable hours
1-2 racks St. Louis-style
Your favorite rubs
Orange blossom honey
Your favorite BBQ sauce
STEP 1: Cook 3 Hours Unwrapped
1. Set your smoker or grill for indirect smoking at
225 degrees F, with a 50/50 mix of apple and
2. While the grill comes up to temperature,
prep the meat. Remove the membrane from
the backside of the ribs and trim off large fat
3. Apply liberal coating of a salt-based rub,
followed by a sugar-based rub, on both sides.
4. Put the ribs on and let them cook for about 3
hours. Spritz with apple juice after 90 minutes,
and again around 2 ½ hrs.
STEP 2: Cook 2 Hours Wrapped
1. Lay out 2 sheets of 18” wide foil, roughly 8”
longer than your rack of ribs. Place one foil
sheet on top of the other.
2. On the foil, add 1/2 cup of brown sugar and cover
liberally with squeeze butter, followed by honey.
3. Place the ribs meat-side down
on top of the mixture; add more
brown sugar, butter and honey
on back side of ribs.
4. Tightly wrap the double foil around ribs; roll up
one end to form a pouch; leave other end open,
pour ½ to ¾ cup apple juice into the packet.
5. Roll up the remaining end and return to the
cooker for 2 hours.
6. Pull foil packet from the smoker and open the foil
packet to vent some steam; let the ribs “re-absorb”
the moisture from the packet for about 10 minutes.
STEP 3: Cook 1 Hour, Sauced & Unwrapped
1. Using a basting brush, cover ribs with your
favorite sauce on all sides. Don’t be afraid to
add fruit juices, rubs or honey to desired taste
2. Place back into the smoker for up to 1 hour until
sauce is set and ribs reach desired tenderness.
Slice & Enjoy!