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BBQ Competions Around California [Split from Memphis Minnies report on S.F.]

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WOW! where and when do you cook briskit competitively? I want to come...I watched 2(!) programs on competiitive BBQ on the Food Channel and am jazzed to go to one...

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  1. Hi Derek-

    Just to be clear, although I am competing against the pros, this is just a part-time hobby for me. There are two main competitions in Northern California each year. The biggest one is in Modesto in early May and the second is in Fairfield at their Tomato Festival on August 19th (I’ll be there barbecuing chicken and brisket for the Big Nugg BBBQ Co.). They are both sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) and are qualifiers for their main event in Kansas City.

    Unfortunately, neither are all that "spectator friendly" like you see on TV, IMHO, as they seam to be more about the contestants than the spectators. The public is permitted to walk around during the day of the event and attend the awards ceremony, but the contestants are not allowed to give out samples or sell products *during* the competition. However, that is not say that if you manage to befriend one of the contestants you couldn't stick around to share in the leftovers afterwards!

    p.s. there are also a few local BBQ vendors at these events, but they are not quite "contest" quality, IMO.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Civil Bear

      Still sounds like fun...isn't there one in Tahoe, or maybe Reno...John Asquattas (sp) Nugget..perhaps...?
      Smelling the heavenly blue smoke and not being able to partake would be hell!

      1. re: ChowFun_derek

        Yeah, he hosts an annual rib cook-off at the Nugget in Reno each year (Labor Day weekend?). Unfortunately, the competition is by invitation only. But I have heard that it is more of an interactive event where you can purchase ribs from the contestants.

        1. re: Civil Bear

          Labor Day.....Reno, I wonder if that would be too far for a Chowdown....NO I think not!

          1. re: ChowFun_derek

            My husband and I did the Reno Rib Cook off a few summers ago. We were a little disappointed cause we just wanted little samples..we'd pay for em..but ya had to stand in line for a long time and it seemed one had to spend a decent amount to "sample". We just chose a couple of places as a result. It was very hot outside as well..so dress accordingly. Lots of Qer's there from other cook-offs.

            1. re: ChowFun_derek

              Thanks for the info...it doesn't sound like fun........maybe I'll wait for cheap flights to texas, kansas city, or nashville...and just pig out!

      2. If I could choose one event to attend, it would be Memphis in May. Interaction is part of the contest, and the contestants are judged on their set-ups.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Civil Bear

          The site judging is probably why I would NOT go to MIM. I prefer the KCBS model, where the focus is on the product, not the patter.

          1. re: ricepad

            As a contestant, I definitely prefer the KCBS model too. But since you can't sample the food at KCBS events anyway (at least in California), I would probably have more fun at the MIM. And it’s not like they aren’t putting out world class ‘cue at that event.