Roundup of the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Competition

Categories: Q

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Carla Soriano
Participants of the 2012 World's Championship Bar-B-Que competition
The World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. I knew I'd arrived when a hazy cloud of smoke, emitted by hundreds of barbecue pits, impaired my vision and bewitched my senses. My destination was confirmed when I spotted cowboy-hat and boot-clad guys and gals descending on Reliant Park in masses, as if they were part of some kind of pilgrimage.

This year, 260,033 people poured into Reliant Park from February 23 to 25 for the annual competition, in which 263 teams from all around the state and the nation submitted 431 barbecue entries in hopes of winning prizes in the two comprehensive categories: Overall Grand Champion and Go Texan Best Barbeque, as well as the individual categories: brisket, ribs, and chicken.

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Carla Soriano
Just one of the many "golden tickets" to a private tent at the 2012 World's Championship Bar-B-Que competition
I may have been just one of the thousands in attendance, but was one of the lucky few who had the pleasure of sampling some of the best 'Q being offered. The friendly Jasper County Go Texan team (winner of the Go Texan Best BBQ category) treated me to a sampling of beans, chicken, and brisket. Their super-moist chicken, served sans-barbecue sauce, had a smoky flavor to it that was of the perfect caliber. Equally delicious was the high-quality, tender brisket, although its natural flavors were slightly masked by barbecue sauce. Serving as the perfect accompaniment to the meats were home-made beans, well-seasoned with garlic and generous chunks of onion. Despite the food being lukewarm when I tried it, it was obvious that its flavors would make any Texan proud.

The same could be said about the ribs presented by the hospitable Metro Go Texan 5/Road Dog Cookers (winner of the Champion Ribs award). The delicate ribs, whose nicely textured meat effortlessly slid off the bone when I bit into them, featured an enticing peppery flavor well complemented by the dabs of barbecue sauce topping them. Small bits of fat intertwined with the meat melted in my mouth with ease, only adding to the ribs' heavenly characteristics. Evident with every bite was the love with which the ribs were cooked. They were so tasty, I found myself licking their remains off of my fingers -- had I been offered, I would have gladly eaten five or six racks of them.

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Carla Soriano
Champion Ribs of the 2012 World's Championship Bar-B-Que competition, submitted by the Metro Go Texan 5/Road Dog Cookers team
Although the barbecue competition was the main attraction of the affair, the three-day fiesta also included live country music on two stages, dancing, and private tents galore. Those private tents, sponsored by companies, individuals and Texas counties, welcomed their respective invitees for a selection of barbecue and an all-access pass to the tents' bars, stocked full with everything from beer to frozen beverages to wine to hard liquor. Many private tents even had their own live musical shows. While at first I was impressed by the well-adorned, fit-for-a-rockstar tents, I eventually realized that the flashiness and size of the private tents were inversely proportional to the quality of the barbecue inside.

My Saturday-evening visit to one of the ultimate Texan experiences concluded at the main stage of the event grounds, where a large group of unabashedly excited people gathered in anticipation of the awards ceremony. Loud clapping, cheering, and animated chants erupted from all angles of the crowd. As I patiently awaited the announcement of the winners, the boisterous spectators confirmed my suspicions. While some attendees go for the delicious barbecue, others for the enjoyable musical entertainment, and many for the plethora of complimentary adult beverages, all go for the unforgettable party.

The 2012 World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest resulted in the following awards:

  • Grand Champion: Motely Que Crew

  • 1st runner up: Guzzlin' Gourmets

  • 2nd runner up: Jasper County Go Texan
  • Go Texan Best BBQ: Jasper County Go Texan

  • Runner up: Metro Go Texan 5/Road Dog Cookers
  • Champion Brisket: Keep'er Hot Cooking Team

  • 1st runner up: Bulldog Mountain Cookin' Crew 1

  • 2nd runner up: Hoot County Saloon 1


  • Champion Ribs: Metro Go Texan 5/Road Dog Cookers

  • 1st runner up: Milam County Go Texan

  • 2nd runner up: Cherokee County Go Texan


  • Champion Chicken: Motley Que Crew

  • 1st runner up: Guzzlin' Gourmets

  • 2nd runner up: Jasper County Go Texan


  • Champion Dutch Oven Dessert: Swine-Os

  • 1st runner up: Metro Go Texan 1-Bayou City Lagniappe Cookers

  • 2nd runner up: Lite Bunch


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    8 comments
    LW
    LW

    So, I don't really understand how the BBQ competition works. I've been meaning to go, but apparently, you need some kind of sponsorship/ticket from a tent? And, even if you get some kind of ticket, does it mean you get to try any of the winning barbeque, or only some kind of standard plate, or only food from that particular tent? Can someone explain how I get to be one of the lucky few who get to try the best? Or is this an invitation-only kind of deal?

    Jeezuie
    Jeezuie

    Once again, why do we have the best barbecue in the world for 3 days, and such plebian fare for the other 362?

    Txjboy
    Txjboy

    Each year winning teams are announced but team names mean nothing to us not participating in the event.  It would be nice if team members' names and hometown were included with the results.

    No Cue For You!
    No Cue For You!

    Basically, you've gotta know someone to get any good barbecue. There is a public tent, at which your purchased ticket gets you a plate of cafeteria-quality barbecue. It's only really worth going if you can swing an invitation to one of the private tents, then it's free drinks and (hopefully) good barbecue - and even then, you can only get into the tent(s) to which you have an invitation.

    Best advice: Ask around at your work/school/church/business organization. Chances are reasonable you'll find somebody who knows somebody.

    Carla Soriano
    Carla Soriano

    I definitely understand where you're coming from!  Knowing some more personal information about the teams and their members would help those not in attendance connect with the competitors. Here's an idea for next year's coverage of the event: an inside look into the lives & stories of the winning teams' bbq and heritage.

    SHUT UP & EAT!!!
    SHUT UP & EAT!!!

    So, if you knew their names and homestowns it would then mean something?

    Carla Soriano
    Carla Soriano

    No Cue for You! is right on point about invites to private tents. An invitation to a private tent will grant you drinks and Q from the tent that you have a ticket for, in addition to the "cafeteria quality" plate of bbq provided to each guest who purchases an entrance ticket ($10/person). Unfortunately, visitors to the competition are unable to try the barbeque from any tents they do not have a private invitation to. My best advice for getting into private tents is to hang out outside the tents, as this is where many of the tent owners/sponsors hang out. If you strike up a friendly conversation with one of these VIP's, they might be inclined to invite you into their tent, on the spot.

    LW
    LW

    Thanks, this was a very helpful reply. Your username makes me just a tiny bit sad though :(

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