One of the benefits to living in the Midwest is being able to witness the amazing skill and artistry that goes into the competitive art of smoking meats. Every October, fleets of vehicles pulling smokers of all shapes and sizes pour into our city and the year's best smelling party and competition takes place. This year we brought our camera so we could give you a tour.
Each year, the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) holds its largest tournament right here in Kansas City, Missouri. The KCBS holds tournaments all over the country (although mainly in the Midwest) and this is the grand-daddy of them all! There are people from the far reaches of the country, all huddled together in tents, sleeping bags and lawn chairs, all with one thing on their mind... winning.
Although "The Royal" might seem to resemble a large camp for bearded men, it's actually quite the extravaganza. Starting on Friday and ending at sundown on Sunday afternoon, there's live entertainment, more food than you can shake a stick at, a ridiculous amount of alcohol (in which there's always women wearing not enough clothing... and Mardi Gras beads!), and all the pride and tradition in the world.
Most teams have shirts, stickers, banners, trailers, flags and more boasting their logos, reputations and trademark items. Many sleep on the ground on in their lawn chairs (when there's a spare minute for shut eye); others have modified trailers to make set up and clean up a little easier (although units can range into the hundreds of thousands of dollars!). The main goal - Turn in a product that's warm, memorable (in a good way) and on time! Most competitors are seasoned veterans and have been competing for years and years. There are home cooks, seasoned chefs, culinary students and those who just tag along for the ride.
We followed some of the prep and presentation of the Bro'sQ BBQ team and although there's a fair amount of photos in our tour, this small amount just can't do the experience justice. If you're interested in seeing more photos from the day, you can check out Flickr for more fun and excitement!
Thanks to the Bro'sQ BBQ team who let me tag along in their culinary adventures!
• Outside Cooking: Build a Smoker
• Recipe: Smoked Lemon Bars
• Sausage: Cased Or Uncased?
(Images: Sarah Trover)