2014 Guide To Barbecue Competitions In USA

Gas up the Jetta and hit the open road this Summer to reconnoiter your way through pick-up truck loads of smoked meats at barbecue competitions across the USA.

It’s how I’ve lived my life for over 20 years and I see no reason to stop now.

Memphis, Tennessee: Undeniably violent, hot and filled with some of the finest photo opps for urban decay in America-it also hosts a monster of a barbecue shootout called Memphis In May. Hundreds of teams vector in from all over the world to battle it out on the banks of the Mississippi.

Please be aware that teams are not allowed to dole out food. As bizarre as that seems to a Texan, this is a rule laid down by the folks running the festival so take plenty cash to buy meat from vendors.

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in NYC. This is the 12th year of the event held in Madison Square Park in Manhattan June 7th and 8th 2014. Pit bosses from Texas, the South, Missouri, the Carolinas and New York all gather in the humid concrete swamp that is NYC to determine who the king of the crime-ridden Big Apple barbecue scene is.

For over four decades the little town of Brady Texas has hosted an International Goat Cook Off on the grounds of Richards Park. I’ve been to dozens of barbecue cook offs all over the US and this is my all time favorite. Expect over 200 teams, true Texas hospitality, more free food and beer than you can wrap your mind around and multiple riffs on smoked cabrito. August 29th and 30th 2014.

American Royal Barbecue Competition. Kansas City lays claim to being the best community of barbecue in all of USA. Of course native Texans know this to be false but we allow them to have their civic pride, no matter how misguided it is. Nearly 600 teams will converge on the Stockyards October 2-5 2014 to duke it out to see who will be dubbed champion. Once again, don’t expect Texas-style hospitality with tons of free meat being doled out by the teams.

It is forbidden.

Take plenty cash as you will have to buy your meat.

Dana Point State BBQ Championship in Dana Point, California. October 4th 2014. I imagine a lot of tri-tip sirloin will be served with big glasses of earthy red wine as the Californians attempt to put on a barbecue competition.

National Championship Barbecue Cook Off in Meridian, Texas. This shootout is my 2nd favorite cook off I’ve ever attended. 20k dollars is on the line as over 200 teams compete via invitation only on the Bosque Bottom fairgrounds the fourth Saturday in October each year. As this is Texas you will be fed tons of free high caliber barbecue as you can’t walk 20 feet without somebody trying to give you a plate of brisket and a cold beer.

There are thousands of barbecue competitions held in the US each year. This little list does not even scratch the surface but as a rough guide to some of the bigger cook offs it provides a good jumping off point for a meat fueled meander across America.

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About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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