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 contests 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 at 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.
Published On: 3/2/2023
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