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Old 07-11-2014, 10:00 AM   #1
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BBQ Cookoffs/Festivals??

I have a passion for smoking and BBQing. I also love going to the many BBQ cookoffs/festivals. Each year we say we want to got to some of them, but we miss them by scheduling other trips.

What and where are the best ones to go to?
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:16 PM   #2
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e one in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry that is one of the best. Not sure what time of year though.
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:28 PM   #3
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I also would love to visit/attend at least one of those but haven't found one yet near where we are traveling this time out. Many of them are in the South in the summer. I'd love to find one in early fall somewhere.

I satisfied my yearning for BBQ by eating some great burnt ends and brisket at Smokin' Guns in Kansas City . Still haven't found any as good as what we got at Neely's in Memphis a few years back but discovered they were closed when we were in Memphis in early June .
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:08 PM   #4
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Since my wife and I are BBQ competition judges, I'll jump in here. Go to kcbs.us On the home page for the Kansas City BBQ Society, you will see a heading for schedule and when you hit the arrow on this their schedule comes up by each month. It is listed by dates so you will have to play around for locations. They sanction about 500 competitions a year nationwide, now becoming international. You may be close to a comp and not know it.

The best time to visit is on a Saturday morning, if the comp is listed for Friday and Saturday, Sunday morning if the dates are for Saturday and Sunday. You can watch the teams prepare their turn-ins. From about 1100 until 1330 hrs., the teams are under pressure for their turn-in times, so they won't be very talkative. Before or after, they will gladly talk to you; and at some of them, if you look hungry enough, they might hand you a sample. However, at some comps, health dept. rules preclude this. There is usually some commercial vendors on site, selling their BBQ to the public.

The categories are chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder and brisket. At a normal comp, I have to eat 24 samples of BBQ, 6 in each category. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Then I go for ice cream on the way back to the campground.

Three of the more noted competitions are Memphis-in-May, "The Jack" at the Jack Daniels distillery in October, and the American Royal in Kansas City in October.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:08 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I love eating BBQ as much as I do smoking it. We try to watch every BBQ show that comes on TV. The one in Memphis is less than 400 miles away and is the one that I keep missing by being on a trip somewhere else. I already have a trip planned for October/November of this year. So the Memphis will be the one we try next.

I was hoping they would have a group of them in the same sections of the country where we could go from one to the next to the next, etc.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:41 PM   #6
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Check it out and mark your calendar for the last Saturday in October. Only the best of the best get invited to this contest in Lynchburg Tennessee. Get there early as some of the teams will put some samples out. One year when I was there, one team cooked a whole hog for the crowd. During the judging, hang out where the judging takes place, sometimes leftover samples are given to the crowd.

Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational BBQ | Lynchburg TN Visitors Guide
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:41 PM   #7
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reubenray,

Maybe you should consider becoming a judge.

You can play with the schedule to try to meet your schedule. Some of my fellow judges (there are several thousand of us) are full timers who go from one comp to another as they also tour the country.

As far as TV, try the travel channel on Wed. night about 10 pm, The show is called BBQ Crawl which follows DIVA Q, a lady cooking team on the BBQ tour. Besides some footage of comps, she also visits BBQ restaurants.

I don't know your location, but Lexington, NC also has a large BBQ festival in the summer. There are also many good BBQ restaurants in that area.

One trick I've learned, is to ask the campground host at check in if there are any good BBQ places in the area.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:56 PM   #8
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The categories are chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder and brisket. At a normal comp, I have to eat 24 samples of BBQ, 6 in each category. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Then I go for ice cream on the way back to the campground.

It must be terrible having to sample all those delicious dishes, but I guess someone has to do it.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:15 PM   #9
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October stonemountain park is hosting the big green egg festival.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:40 PM   #10
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reubenray,

Maybe you should consider becoming a judge.

You can play with the schedule to try to meet your schedule. Some of my fellow judges (there are several thousand of us) are full timers who go from one comp to another as they also tour the country.

As far as TV, try the travel channel on Wed. night about 10 pm, The show is called BBQ Crawl which follows DIVA Q, a lady cooking team on the BBQ tour. Besides some footage of comps, she also visits BBQ restaurants.

I don't know your location, but Lexington, NC also has a large BBQ festival in the summer. There are also many good BBQ restaurants in that area.

One trick I've learned, is to ask the campground host at check in if there are any good BBQ places in the area.
We love DIVA Q and watched 4 shows of her shows today. The DW only wished each show would be longer. We live about 35 miles NE of New Orleans.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by cavedvr View Post
Check it out and mark your calendar for the last Saturday in October. Only the best of the best get invited to this contest in Lynchburg Tennessee. Get there early as some of the teams will put some samples out. One year when I was there, one team cooked a whole hog for the crowd. During the judging, hang out where the judging takes place, sometimes leftover samples are given to the crowd.

Jack Danielís World Championship Invitational BBQ | Lynchburg TN Visitors Guide
We have a trip planned for this October, but I will make plans for it in 2015. Is it always the last Saturday in October?
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:06 PM   #12
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Just come to South Carolina and get some of the best BBQ in the World


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Old 07-12-2014, 05:37 AM   #13
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I forgot that we also have a trip planned next September/October to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. I am trying to figure out if I could extend it some to go by the Jack Daniel's Festival on the way home. This would make the trip close to three months by that time.
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:50 AM   #14
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reubenray,

If your schedule is clear in March, we judged these events earlier this year near your location:

Hammond, La. - comp was part of town celebration;

Bainbridge, Ga. - in conjunction with Pro Bass Fishing tournament;

Ashburn, Ga. - part of the town's Fire Ant Festival. Also a great sausage store along the interstate w/camping.

Green Egg festivals as mentioned above are enjoyable also. Not just BBQ, teams are handing out samples of different foods to be shown what can be cooked on these grills/smokers. My wife has two on our deck.

If your tastes go to other foods than BBQ, try food festivals on the internet. We have been to garlic festivals, mushroom festivals, hamburger festivals, brat festivals. cornbread festivals. We missed a banana split festival by two days.

In case you haven't guessed, our rig doesn't run on just gasoline.
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