Best BBQ Festivals and Competitions
When we think of barbecue, beer, bourbon and even blues come to mind. Here are some of our favorite BBQ festivals and competitions that deliver on all of the above.
Sam’s Club National BBQ TourIf you’re craving a good ‘ole fashioned showdown, you can watch the barbecue experts compete in Sam’s Club parking lots nationwide. The competitions span 5 regions -- from Tennessee to Nevada -- so there’s a good chance to see a grill master near you. 960 1280
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ FestivalPick your poison, and then pick your ‘cue -- whole-roasted hog, pulled pork, brisket … the options are endless. As are the drinks, so make sure you have a safe ride home if you plan to taste the unlimited samples of bourbon and craft beer included with admission. 960 1280
Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational BarbecueOne of the most prestigious barbecue competitions in the world takes place on the fourth Saturday of October in Lynchburg, TN. Every year thousands of people flock to “the hallow” to see the best of the best compete in pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket and chicken as well as sauces and desserts. 960 1280
Safeway’s National Capital Barbecue BattleThe annual 2-day competition along Washington, DC’s Pennsylvania Avenue has something for everyone, including top barbecue chefs and vendors, cooking competitions and demonstrations, as well as lots of samples and non-stop live entertainment. Bonus? It benefits local Boys & Girls Clubs. 960 1280
American Royal World SeriesKansas City, MO, is home to “The World Series of Barbecue,” the world’s largest BBQ competition -- with 500 teams competing and 70,000 spectators. The larger American Royal event spans 2.5 months and also includes a parade and a professional rodeo (with a $300,000 prize package). 960 1280
International Bar-B-Q-FestivalEvery second week in May, the town of Owensboro, KY, attracts a crowd of 85,000 people with square dancing, arts and crafts, and, of course, barbecue. Teams serve up a variety of meats including chicken, mutton and burgoo (a spicy stew) all vying for the Governor’s Cup. 960 1280
Houston Livestock Show and RodeoWhile it’s billed at the world’s largest livestock show, don’t be fooled by its name. Since 1974, the weekend before the livestock show is the 3-day, World Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. More than 300 teams of veteran pit masters dish out Texas-style ‘cue -- pork ribs, beef brisket and chicken, all smoked to perfection. 960 1280
Memphis in MayEach May, the city of Memphis, TN, is taken over by a series of arts, music and culture festivals. But the main event is the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, when competitors from all over the world flock to this barbecue capital with their elaborate smokers and whole hogs. For a taste of the action, don't miss the Willingham family's booth -- they're the only competitors allowed to sell their Southern delicacies to the public. 960 1280
Ferdinando’s Focacceria, Brooklyn, New YorkThese legendary links spend 40 minutes in the oven before they’re dropped into a red sauce made with fresh tomatoes, fennel seed and a secret mix of spices known only to the restaurant’s chef-owner Francesco Buffa. 960 1280
Triple Threat Pork SandwichDid You Know? Pork was introduced to American soil in 1539 when Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto landed with America’s first 13 pigs on the coast of Florida. Ever since then it has become a chow down staple.
Dish 1: Triple Threat Pork Sandwich
Where: Slow’s BBQ, 2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216-1305 960 1280
Apocalypse Now burgerDid You Know? The ancient Chinese were so enamored with the succulent swine that they buried their departed with hogs to ensure fresh pork in the afterlife.
Dish 2: Apocalypse Now Burger
Where: Nosh, 551 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101 960 1280
Oak-Roasted Pork LoinDid You Know? In the 1800’s raising swine was essential to the success of Midwest farms. Using the new Erie Canal farmers, were able to ship their hogs back East, leading them to nickname the pigs "mortgage lifters", since their sales kept the homesteads afloat.
Dish 3: Oak-Roasted Pork Loin
Where: Iron Barley, 5510 Virginia Ave, St Louis, MO 63111 960 1280
Roast Pork SandwichDid You Know? Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world. 36% of all meat consumed is pork, following by 33% of poultry and 24% beef.
Dish 4: Roast Pork Sandwich
Where: Dinic’s/Reading Terminal Market, 12th & Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 960 1280
Whole Hog BBQDid You Know? President Harry S. Truman once said "no man should be allowed to be president who doesn't understand hogs."
Dish 5: Whole Hog BBQ
Where: The Pit, 328 W Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601 960 1280