They’ve gone home. The West Bottoms is empty of competition barbecue teams.
By ARDIE A. DAVIS
A few days ago the scene was alive with meat fires, music, cooking demos, product displays, 563 cleverly named barbecue teams, and tens of thousands of happily grazing omnivores. Now they’re gone.
The ghosts of livestock past have reclaimed the scene. Present-day business, commerce and entertainment are back to normal. Say goodbye to another fantastic American Royal World Series of Barbecue and to all who made it happen.
I can’t wait until next year’s 35th anniversary celebration.
Here’s a snapshot of the World Series of Barbecue weekend:
Most of the teams were set up and ready to party and cook. That night two separate visiting groups — convention and meeting planners plus travel writers and bloggers — from across the U.S., were introduced to the American Royal’s 114 year old tradition and history by Bob Peters, American Royal president and chief executive officer, Cynthia Savage, chair of the American Royal board of directors, and Bill Teel, co-owner of the nearby Golden Ox.
Before chowing down on a stellar Golden Ox barbecue buffet, complete with side dishes and Boulevard beers, the convention and meeting planners took the Diddy-Wa-Diddy barbecue sauce oath and sampled barbecue sauces from Oklahoma Joe’s, Meat Mitch, Jon Russell’s, Plowboys and Pork Barrel on burnt ends, as they interacted with representatives of each company.
Two surprise greeters were Kansas City Chiefs’ outside linebackers, Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen. They were a big hit with the group as they stayed for photo ops and autographs. The travel writers and bloggers were treated likewise, sans the barbecue sauce tasting. Some were also treated to tasting sessions and barbecue cooking tips with pitmasters Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson’s, Jason Day of Burnt Finger BBQ and Bacon Explosion fame, and Rod Gray of Pellet Envy, outside on the contest grounds. What a perfect introduction to Kansas City.
Invitational barbecue contest with more than 500 different meat entries, side dishes and desserts contests, and Kids’ Que contest on the east side of Kemper Arena.
Open barbecue contest; more than 900 different meat entries were judged by more than 500 judges, using the Kansas City Barbeque Society judging rules and criteria.
Winners are posted online. Congratulations, thanks and kudos to all who participated.
As the traditional competition barbecue season winds down, what’s next?
On the high stakes end there are three major contests ahead: the Sam’s Club National BBQ Championship in Bentonville, Ark., on Oct. 19; the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, Tenn., on Oct. 26; and the Kingsford Invitational in Belle, Mo., on Nov. 8 and 9.
This doesn’t mean that all competition barbecuers and backyard cooks are hanging it up and putting their pits in mothballs until springtime. Many will slack off until spring, but others will compete and cook at home through fall and winter.
What’s happening next in your backyard?
Ardie Davis is an iconic figure in the barbecue community. He founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS’s Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on numerous food shows and writes for a variety of barbecue-related publications. He is also the author of a number of barbecue books, His most recent release book is “America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.”