top bbq smoking competitions

What Are the Best Starter BBQ Smoking Contests?

Looking to ignite your BBQ skills and compete in smoking contests? Well, you're in for a smokin' surprise! The world of barbecue competitions offers a tantalizing array of starter contests that will have you sizzling with excitement.

But where can you find the best ones? Stay tuned as we uncover the secrets to finding the perfect BBQ smoking contest to kickstart your journey to grilling greatness.

Key Takeaways

  • Local BBQ contests, online BBQ competitions, amateur BBQ smoker challenges, and BBQ festivals with smoking contests are all great options for beginners to participate in BBQ smoking contests.
  • Participating in BBQ smoking contests provides the opportunity to compete with others, showcase BBQ skills, learn from experienced competitors, and gain recognition and build a reputation.
  • Practicing BBQ skills is crucial for competitions as it enhances timing for turn-in times, perfects BBQ techniques, allows experimentation with flavors and seasonings, builds confidence, and increases chances of success.
  • Becoming a certified judge in BBQ competitions offers valuable insight into judges' expectations, helps understand rules and regulations, improves evaluation and critique abilities, and provides networking opportunities with other judges and BBQ enthusiasts.

Local BBQ Contests

If you're ready to showcase your BBQ skills and compete against other local pitmasters, local BBQ contests are the perfect opportunity to put your smoking talents to the test. There are several local BBQ networks that host competitions, such as KCBS, IBCA, FBA, and MBN. These organizations are well-known in the BBQ community and offer a variety of contests throughout the year.

To get started, you may want to consider entering the backyard or patio division. This division is usually less expensive and allows you to get a feel for competing without the pressure of the professional circuit. It's a great way to hone your skills and gain experience before moving on to more competitive categories.

When participating in local competitions, it's important to practice your BBQ skills and timing. Each contest has specific turn-in times, and being in-sync with these times is crucial for success. Use this opportunity to refine your cooking techniques and experiment with different flavors and rubs. The more you practice, the better chance you have of impressing the judges and coming out on top.

Another tip is to become a certified judge. This won't only give you a better understanding of what judges expect, but it will also familiarize you with the rules and regulations of competition BBQ. By knowing the ins and outs of the judging process, you can better tailor your cooking to meet their expectations.

Online BBQ Competitions

Online BBQ competitions provide an exciting opportunity for pitmasters to showcase their smoking skills and compete against other BBQ enthusiasts from the comfort of their own homes. While local competition BBQ contests offer a chance for pitmasters to connect with their community and compete in person, online BBQ competitions have gained popularity for their convenience and accessibility. These virtual contests allow BBQ smokers to participate in barbecue competitions without the need to travel or set up a physical booth.

One of the advantages of online BBQ competitions is that they can be accessed from anywhere, making it possible for BBQ enthusiasts from different parts of the country, or even the world, to compete against each other. This not only allows for a broader range of competition, but also provides an opportunity to learn from and be inspired by pitmasters with diverse backgrounds and styles.

Participating in an online barbecue competition is fairly straightforward. Pitmasters typically submit photos or videos of their dishes, along with a description of their cooking process and recipe. Judges, who are often certified BBQ judges, evaluate the entries based on taste, appearance, and overall presentation. Some online BBQ competitions even offer cash prizes or recognition for the winners, adding an extra incentive to participate.

Engaging in online BBQ competitions can also be a great way to improve your barbecue skills. By competing against other talented pitmasters, you can learn new techniques, experiment with different flavors, and receive feedback from experienced judges. Additionally, online BBQ competitions often have set turn-in times, which can help you practice and refine your timing skills, an essential aspect of competition BBQ.

Amateur BBQ Smoker Challenges

To further immerse yourself in the world of barbecue competitions and take your smoking skills to the next level, it's time to explore the realm of amateur BBQ smoker challenges. These competitions provide the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your passion for BBQ cooking and compete against other amateur BBQ enthusiasts.

One of the first steps to getting involved in amateur BBQ smoker challenges is to join local BBQ networks such as the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), the International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA), the Florida Barbeque Association (FBA), or the Memphis Barbeque Network (MBN). These organizations regularly hold competitions and provide a platform for amateur BBQ smokers to showcase their skills.

As a beginner, it's recommended to start in the backyard or patio division. This division is less expensive and offers a feel for what it's like to compete in a BBQ smoker challenge. It allows you to practice your BBQ skills and timing, aligning them with turn-in times.

To truly understand the judging expectations and competition rules, you may also consider becoming a certified judge. This will give you insight into what the judges are looking for and help you improve your BBQ cooking techniques.

The amateur division is the perfect place to learn and improve without the pressure of the professional category. It allows you to connect with other BBQ enthusiasts, share tips and tricks, and build a sense of belonging within the BBQ community.

BBQ Festivals With Smoking Contests

BBQ festivals with smoking contests offer an exhilarating and mouthwatering experience for barbecue enthusiasts and food lovers alike. These festivals showcase some of the best smokers and competition BBQ in the country, making them a must-visit for anyone passionate about barbecue.

One of the best BBQ festivals with smoking contests is the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City. This festival attracts top BBQ teams from around the world and features a variety of categories, including brisket, ribs, and chicken. The competition is fierce, with teams vying for the title of Grand Champion and the chance to be crowned the best in the world.

Another top BBQ festival is the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Known as the Super Bowl of Swine, this festival takes place on the banks of the Mississippi River and attracts over 250 teams from around the world. The competition is intense, with teams competing in categories such as whole hog, ribs, and shoulder.

For those looking for a more laid-back atmosphere, the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in New York City is a great option. This festival brings together some of the best pitmasters from around the country, offering a chance to sample a wide variety of BBQ styles and flavors.

No matter which BBQ festival you choose to attend, you'll be treated to a feast for the senses. The aroma of smoking meat fills the air, while the sounds of sizzling and laughter fill the atmosphere. It's a place where BBQ enthusiasts can come together, share their love for smoked meat, and compete for the title of best BBQ in the world.

Beginner-friendly BBQ Competitions

If you're ready to take your love for barbecue to the next level and get a taste of the competitive world, there are beginner-friendly BBQ competitions that offer the perfect opportunity to showcase your skills and learn from seasoned pitmasters. These competitions are designed to provide a welcoming environment for newcomers, allowing them to experience the thrill of competition while honing their barbecue skills.

To help you get started, here are some beginner-friendly BBQ competitions that you might consider entering:

Competition Location
KCBS Nationwide
IBCA Texas
FBA Florida
MBN Tennessee
Backyard or Patio Division Various locations

These competitions are organized by reputable BBQ networks such as KCBS, IBCA, FBA, and MBN. They provide a platform for barbecue enthusiasts of all levels to compete and learn from each other. The backyard or patio division is particularly suitable for beginners, as it is usually less expensive and allows you to get a feel for competing without the pressure of the professional divisions.

To succeed in these competitions, it is important to practice your BBQ skills and timing to be in-sync with turn-in times. Additionally, becoming a certified judge can provide valuable insight into what judges expect and familiarize yourself with the rules. This knowledge will not only help you improve your own barbecue but also give you a deeper appreciation for the art of competition BBQ.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Most Popular Smoker for Competition?

The most popular smoker for competition is the Lang BBQ Smoker Cooker Series. These smokers, like the 48, 60, and 84, are highly rated for their cooking capacities and mobility.

You can choose between patio carts or trailer frames, making them perfect for both backyard use and transport to competitions. Plus, with customization options, you can tailor your smoker to your exact specifications, giving you a competitive edge.

What Kind of Smoker Should a Beginner Get?

When it comes to choosing a smoker, it's important to consider your needs and preferences.

Electric smokers are user-friendly and convenient, while charcoal smokers offer that traditional smoky flavor.

If you want ease of use, go for a propane or pellet smoker.

For serious barbecue enthusiasts, an offset smoker is the way to go, although it requires more attention and maintenance.

Vertical smokers provide ample space for smoking sausages and larger quantities of barbecue.

Choose the smoker that suits your style and get ready to create delicious BBQ masterpieces.

How Do You Start a BBQ Contest?

To start a BBQ contest, you need to focus on organizing logistics, setting up judging criteria, and promoting the event effectively.

First, secure a location and gather necessary permits.

Then, establish entry fees, categories, and rules for the contestants.

Next, recruit experienced judges and create a scoring system that rewards flavor, tenderness, and appearance.

Lastly, spread the word about your contest through social media, local advertising, and word of mouth.

With careful planning and promotion, your BBQ contest will be a sizzling success!

What Kind of Smokers Do the Pitmasters Use?

Pitmasters use a variety of smokers to achieve that delicious smoky flavor. There are different types of smokers, such as offset smokers, pellet smokers, and electric smokers.

Offset smokers are popular among pitmasters for their ability to use different types of wood for smoking, like hickory, mesquite, or cherry wood.

Maintaining temperature in a smoker is crucial, so make sure to use a good thermometer and adjust airflow accordingly.

Avoid common mistakes, such as opening the smoker too often or rushing the cooking process.


In conclusion, finding the best starter BBQ smoking contests for beginners is made easy by checking local BBQ networks like KCBS, IBCA, FBA, and MBN.

Starting in the backyard or patio division is recommended to gain experience and keep costs low.

It's crucial to practice BBQ skills, understand turn-in times, and even become a certified judge to fully grasp the expectations and rules.

So, get out there, hone your skills, and enjoy the exciting world of BBQ smoking competitions!