The barbecue has many avatars – from the summer backyard party to the fierce competitions held at national and international levels involving thousands of people. It is in these competitions that pitmasters are pitted against each other to turn out the best barbecue, and attendees get to sample some of the fares. The festivals are also hosted to allied activities, mostly music, and sales of products related to barbecues.
The most famous American barbecue competitions are Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue, the Memphis World Championship, The National BBQ Festival held in Georgia, the American Royal Barbecue held in Kansas, the Big Pig Jig held in Vienna, Georgia, and the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.
The three-day-long Memphis in May World Championship is one mile of barbecue competitions. Alongside the food, there is vending, music, and a People’s Choice contest that gives everyone a chance to judge the ware. Also present is the Cooker’s caravan that gives people a behind-the-scenes look at the competition cooking.
The two-day National Barbecue Festival in Georgia not only hosts a Best of the Best competition, but other contests for backyard cooks, kids, and even one for the master of the sweet potato pie.
The American Royal Barbecue held in the fall brings additional entertainment by way of a rodeo event and plenty of concerts. Spreading over 20 acres of Kansas City’s Stockyards District, the Royal is the largest barbecue competition in the world.
Unusually named, the Big Pig Jig was originally a whole hog cooking contest but has now expanded to include stews, ribs, and sauce competitions. It also hosts an art and craft fair, concerts, a golf tournament, a hog show, a hog call contest, and a 5K run!
Set in the beautiful background of Madison Square, the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party attracts people from far and near every summer to not only sample the best barbecue, but also to enjoy some great blues, rock, country, and soul music.
So whether you are a barbecue aficionado or not, there are still plenty of reasons for you to visit one or all of America’s best barbecues – there’s a wealth of fun and tradition waiting for you.