A line of people queued up outside the doors of Blackhawk Commons on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus as chef Fritz Niebergall hosted the seventh-annual Fritz-a-Que celebration.
The Fritz-a-Que is a beloved, all-you-can-eat barbecue tradition at UW Oshkosh that faculty, staff, students and youth campers look forward to each summer. Niebergall has been a chef on campus since 2005, but long before that he was a member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and a certified barbecue judge.
For the lunch buffet, he prepared nearly 400 pounds of chicken and pork shoulder paired with five different barbeque sauces. Cole slaw, potato salad, desserts and beverages accompanied the two main dishes.
The Fritz-a Que is one of Niebergall’s favorite events to put on, because he can share his talents with friends and coworkers and give them a taste of real southern barbecue.
“I’m very social when it comes to food,” he said. “I love to answer questions, talk to people and share recipes.”
As people enjoyed their lunch, the chef couldn’t stand in one spot for too long. He walked through the crowd, greeting patrons, recounting the flavor nuances of his sauce recipes and educating interested parties about all that is barbecue.
Fourteen hours prior to the event, Niebergall fired up his gravity-fed smoker and began cooking pork shoulder “low and slow” overnight. He followed up with chicken later in the morning. He enjoys the process of barbecuing, because it requires patience and skill but is ultimately very relaxing. It’s a true art form.
Niebergall’s sauce compilation comprises flavors unique to various regions of the South. Recipes include his own award-winning Memphis style, a northern Alabama white sauce, a western North Carolina tomato vinegar mixture, a sweet Georgia peach recipe and a Louisiana-style blend with jalapeno and bacon.
Niebergall always looks forward to his annual Fritz-a-Que. It’s a great tradition that brings all of campus together to eat, laugh and enjoy “finger-lickin’ good” food.