Chow Town

American Royal extends VIP invitation to man who lost barbecue at KCI

Barbecue at the American Royal
Barbecue at the American Royal The Kansas City Star

Last Tuesday we brought you the story of a Washington, D.C., man who said his Joe’s Kansas City barbecue was confiscated at Kansas City International Airport.

By Wednesday, Joe’s Kansas City offered to ship replacement barbecue to the man, a government affairs consultant named Bob Porter.

This month keeps getting better for Porter, who has accepted an invitation to be a VIP guest at the American Royal’s World Series of Barbecue next month in Kansas City.

The invitation was extended last week by Bob Petersen, president and CEO of the American Royal Association. Petersen said in a phone interview that after reading Porter’s story he knew he had to do something to give Porter a good taste of Kansas City barbecue.

“We’re going to roll out the red carpet for him,” Petersen said.

Porter has been offered a free stay at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown hotel and full access to the World Series of Barbecue, set for Oct. 2 to 4. Petersen says Porter will get to meet pitmasters and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the event.

Porter will also be a “celebrity judge” at a barbecue cook-off on Oct. 2. Other judges include Ryan Maybee, owner of Manifesto and The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, and Jackson County Legislator Scott Burnett.

More than 560 teams are set to compete in this year’s World Series of Barbecue, and 40 more are on a waiting list. The event is expected to attract 70,000 barbecue fans over three days.

Porter won’t be the only one who gets to taste award-winning ’cue this year: For the first time the American Royal will allow barbecue teams to sell their smoked meats on-site, as long as they have permits.

For Porter, a barbecue lover who grew up in Texas, accepting the American Royal’s invitation was a no-brainer.

“It was not a tough call,” he said. “I’m going from no barbecue to more barbecue than I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes dining guides and bar guides for Ink magazine. Contact her via email at or tweet @sarah_gish.

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