Competition BarbecueSo what exactly is a Competition BBQ? Barbecue competitions are cook-offs where people prepare one or more items to be judged on a variety of criteria. Usually the competitions are for beef brisket, pork ribs, chicken, sausage and sauces. Typically you would be given a full day to prepare a thawed, unprepared meat product for judging. Check in times will be around 4pm the day before judging.
Barbecue Competitions almost always require an entry fee, but prizes can reach into the thousands of dollars. To maximize your potential payoff, it is best to compete in all areas (usually requiring a larger entry fee). This is the reason for the move by many to the formation of cooking teams. Teams pool their effort and prepare as many items as the contest will allow.
So why do I say this is a lighthearted undertaking? Barbecue is fun. Anyone who says differently should stick to flame-broiled burgers from the local drive through. If you need proof, why don't you drop in at the Annual First Even Texas Dead Cow Cookin' & Bean Fixin' Extravaganza (their spelling not mine), in Wichita Falls, Texas.
The Kansas City Barbecue Society will sanction 61 barbecue competitions this year, all over the United States. In all, a quick count of upcoming events tells me that there will be at least 138 barbecue competitions through this summer. Check your local area's upcoming events and I'm sure you'll find others.
If you are among the best you could find yourself at the top. The American Royal Barbecue. Kind of the championship match in the world of competitive barbecue. This year's will be held in Kansas City, Missouri on October 3-4. Over 600 judges will choose from more than 400 entrants to award $30,000 in prizes. This competition is the largest gathering of Barbecue cooks in the world with contestants coming from all over.
Charities, fairs, and festivals have found that there is a great deal of interest in participation and observation when it comes to barbecue. This great American cooking tradition has grown to have an extensive following. Many competitions benefit charities, raising thousands of dollars in the process.
So how do you get involved? Depending on where you live there may be many or few competitions in your area. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce or similar organization for an event in your area. Or you drop by my list of Event. But before you do that, get your favorite recipe fine tuned. These people take "Q" very seriously, and though they may be helpful and friendly to newcomers, they are quite prepared to blow you out of the water.
Your best bet is to find a competition with an amateur division. Though they seldom have cash prizes the experience will help set you up for the professional categories at the big events. Every year you'll find several top prizes going to people who have only been competing for a few years. On the other hand you'll also find prizes going to second generation cooks who have been involved all their lives. So practice up and you might find yourself taking home the big trophy next year.
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