Competition BBQ in the US is massive. There are hundreds of competitions each year with the top ones offering prize purses in the tens of thousands of dollars and attracting hundreds of teams from around the world.
There are several competition circuits in the US, the biggest being the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) who sanction competitions around the US, Canada and now even in mainland Europe. KCBS competitions are based on cooking 4 categories, chicken, ribs, pork shoulder and brisket. I could write an article on each of these individually but that’s not for today.
Cooking competition BBQ in this style is about long slow cooking using smoker-style BBQ pits. Competitors may take up to 18 hours to smoke a whole brisket for turn in, during which time they will lovingly follow a process that they will have spent much time and effort perfecting.
Judging is typically blind (in most circuits) with entries submitted in unmarked boxes. Turn-in times are fixed and rigorously policed.
In the UK we have a small but growing competition circuit, with several teams also competing in the US several times per year as well. Recently in the first ever European KCBS competition, British teams took second and thirds spots, beaten only by a top American team who had made the journey over.
Editor Note: We would like to welcome Steve to our writing team, Steve is the Founder and Chief Cook at the Royal Q Pit Crew, one of the UK leading BBQ teams, we hope to follow Steve and his team mate Neil Welsh as they compete in BBQ competitions and hopefully teach us the skills of Competition BBQ.