WOW! That's really all I can say about the innaugural Kentucky State BBQ Festival.
Brad & Cindy Simmons of Lucky Dog BBQ contacted me a couple of months ago about an idea that they had to create a festival atmosphere where competition quality BBQ was available for purchase by the public. You see, BBQ competitions are all the craze these days but you can't sample or buy the BBQ that the teams prepare. They only prepare enough for the judges and since they travel all over competing, they aren't certified by all the local health departments to serve the public.
Brad & Cindy's idea was to emmulate the Big Apple Block Party format and have competition teams prepare their specialties and make it available for purchase by the public. They coordinated with a half dozen teams and the health department, and then threw the gosh-dangdest festival I've been to in awhile.
Big Moe Cason of Ponderosa BBQ, Craig Kimmel of Firehouse BBQ, Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porkers, Melissa Cookson of Yazoo Delta Q, Shelly Hunt of Desperados BBQ, and Brad and Cindy of Lucky Dog BBQ were the featured attractions, serving their competition grade BBQ. But there was plenty more to take in. Ray "Dr BBQ" Lampe was on hand for cooking demonstrations on the Big Green Egg. Shane Draper of Draper's BBQ was there with his awesome new rubs and sauces. And there was a wide varity of vendors displaying their wares and an excellent selection of music throughout the day.
I spent some time getting photos and taking in the festival, but I spent a good part of the day on Saturday pitching in to help the Peg Leg Porker team handle over 1,000 customers. The festival began at 11:00am and by 4:30pm, Peg Leg was sold out of his Memphis style pork shoulder sandwiches. Lucky Dog was out of brisket about the same time, and all the other teams ran short on at least one item. For a first year event, the turnout was phenomenal.
Firehouse BBQ took home the People's Choice award, but with the turnout and incredible November weather, all the teams were winners. I sure hope this becomes an annual event!
Here's a link to a few more photos.