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.
Thanks to the Bro'sQ BBQ team who let me tag along in their culinary adventures!
(Images: Sarah Trover)