Competition runs strong in hominids. No doubt macho cavemen began challenging each other to cookoffs soon after the first bonfire. Today, barbecue cookoffs are one of the nation’s fastest growing sports. With scores of new BBQ competitions popping up every year, the current count is probably close to 1,000.
The first barbecue competition was the Kaiser Foil Cookoff conducted in 1959 in Hawaii, just a few months after Hawaii became a state. “For Men Only” contestants sent in their main dish recipes and 25 finalists were flown with their wives (assuming they were all married) to the Hawaiian Village Hotel on Waikiki for the cookoff.
First prize was the title “Grand National Cookout Champion” and $10,000 cash. 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th prizes were a Jeep Station Wagon! The entry form had “Bar-B-Tricks” that emphasized wrapping things in foil before putting them on the barbecue. It seems that the crutch has a long history.
The template for modern barbecue competitions comes from chili cookoffs, the first of which, like so many other food firsts, was held at the State Fair of Texas in 1952 in Dallas. The World Championship Cow Country BBQ Cookout, held June 3, 1972 in Uvalde, TX at an event called Arama Days was probably patterned after the many chili cookoffs around the state.
Today, all manner of BBQ contests take place throughout the year around the country. And if you’re entering a BBQ competition for the 1st or 50th time, we’ve got everything you need, including a competition BBQ checklist, award winning recipes for things like competition pork butt and chicken, plus loads of pro tips and tricks. Maybe you’re trying your hand a local cookoff, or maybe you’re joining thousands of others in one of the country’s top 3 BBQ competitions, the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, the American Royal World Series of Barbecue, or the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. Either way, we got you covered.
Whether you are new to the competition BBQ game or are a seasoned pro, this recipe for competition pork butt from top pitmaster Tuffy Stone is certain to better your results. This award winning pork butt is one of the many mouthwatering recipes in Tuffy's first cookbook, Cool Smoke: The Art of Great Barbecue.
Discover how to create perfect award-winning competition BBQ chicken with this tested recipe from Darren Warth of Iowa’s Smokey D’s BBQ. Arguably the hottest team on the barbecue cooking circuit, Iowa's Smokey D's guide you through the various steps involved in creating amazing 1st place worthy grilled chicken thighs!
Create award winning smoked brisket thanks to this recipe from top competition BBQ team Travis Clark of Clark Crew BBQ. Travis provides a step-by-step guide to replicating his first place competition brisket recipe including selecting the best brisket, trimming the brisket, seasoning, injecting, smoking, and slicing.
Perfect your competition ribs with these simple tips and a competition rib recipe. Trimmed ribs are seasoned with a flavorful BBQ dry rub before being smoked for several hours. Wrapping the ribs with butter and other ingredients ensure that they are moist, tender, and packed full of flavor for the competition judges.
If you're planning on entering a BBQ contest then this guide to smoking perfect award winning chicken is a must read. Ask competitors which category keeps them staring at the ceiling at night, and most will answer "chicken." From prep to flavor profiles, here is what's competition teams are doing with chicken.
This comprehensive competition BBQ checklist is a must for anyone who is considering entering their first contest. This list contains everything you might need for cooking overnight at a contest so that you are well prepared for anything that might arise -- from food to kitchen gear to wash stations and so much more.
Barbecue competitions have become big business with prizes ranging up to $100,000 and some getting national television coverage. Here is the fascinating story of how these contests started in Hawaii "For Men Only," and how they became a popular sport with more than 500 annual events.
If you're a BBQ team interested in finding ways to better your scores, judging contests is a great way to see the other side of the turn-in table. I had the chance to judge four of the country's most prestigious contests and here is a breakdown of my experiences testing some of the best and worst competition BBQ.
If you’re like me, you likely fancy yourself quite the steak griller. But the true test of one’s talent is entering one of the countless steak cooking contests held each year. If you've ever considered competing in a steak cookoff, here's a first person account of what you can expect to encounter from start to finish.
Smithfield recently unveiled their new program, the Smokin’ With Smithfield National Barbecue Championship, a competition will show BBQ teams how they rank amongst other teams across the country while also having a chance to win up to $50,000 cash and other great prizes.
Here's a useful technique for tenderizing, moisturizing, and speeding cooking by wrapping meat in aluminum foil for an hour or two. The Texas crutch beats the stall, in which meat stops cooking during barbecuing, sometimes for hours. This simple trick works for brisket, pork shoulder and ribs on any smoker or grill.
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The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted
Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.
With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested. Click here to read our detailed review
Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners
The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke.
The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period. Click here for our review of this superb smoker
The Undisputed Champion!
ThermoWorks’ Thermapen ONE provides an accurate reading in one second or less. The ONE also includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight, rotating display, and water resistant seals. Don’t accept cheap substitutes. Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review