For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
Jo Ellen Edwards, Executive Director Chad Hodges, Contest Organizer
Uptown Lexington, Inc.
Second Annual BBQ Capital Cook-Off set for April 27-28
Competitive cooking teams from all over North Carolina and the Southeast and one as far away as Australia will work to perfect the thrill of the grill at the Second Annual BBQ Capital Cook-off in historic uptown Lexington April 27-28.
Coordinated by Uptown Lexington Inc. as a fundraiser for the downtown revitalization organization, the BBQ Capital Cook-off will bring approximately 50 teams to Lexington to compete for money and bragging rights in a city with a rich culinary heritage that is celebrated annually at the Barbecue Festival in October.
Bank of the Carolinas is once again the title sponsor of the event, which is free to the public, and the Lexington Tourism Authority and Lang BBQ Smokers are the presenting sponsors.
“Our vision in 2010 was to develop a signature event for the spring that complements the fall Barbecue Festival,” said Walter Hoffman, president of the ULI Board of Directors. “We appreciate Bank of the Carolinas for believing not only in our organization, but also in this new event concept: pairing the popularity of Lexington-style barbecue with competitive barbecue cooking.”
“As a bank, we are committed to our community and continuing to provide support for this new initiative is the perfect way to show our sincerity,” said Ed Jordan, executive vice president and CEO for Bank of the Carolinas. “We look forward to building upon the success of last year’s event. Our employees also enjoyed being part of the event.”
The site of the cook-off, which is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, is the open block between East Second and East Third avenues behind the Edward C. Smith Civic Center, where teams will set up their grills beginning April 27.
Visitors to the competition will be able to see a variety of cooking styles and grilling techniques and can talk to competitors Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and again after 2 p.m. Saturday, after the cook-off judging is concluded. Since most competitive cooks on the national KCBS circuit cook “low and slow” the teams will be busy tending to their entries for the contest overnight and turn in their beef brisket, pork, chicken and ribs between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday. The winners will be announced at 4 p.m.
The competing teams are vying for the title of Grand Champion, a share of the prize purse of $15,900 and the chance to qualify for larger competitions on the competitive barbecue cooking circuit such as Memphis in May, said Chad Hodges, BBQ Capital Cook-off chairman and ULI board member.
Lexington teams competing include Buck Wild BBQ, Yadkin River Smokers, Big John’s Backyard BBQ, OBC Outrageous BBQ Cooking and FOG. While many teams are from around the state, others are traveling from Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
But the team traveling the farthest is called the Tongmasters from Sydney, Australia. Sponsored by Meat & Livestock Australia, a trade group promoting Australian meat, the team is comprised of cook-off winners from around that country who will be promoting high-end Australian wagyu beef, which they will cook in the beef category of the contest, Hodges said.
“The BBQ Capital Cook-off will offer more than just a barbecue contest,” Hodges said, noting food vendors, a wine festival, live bands and children’s activities round out the weekend of events for the general public.
With the smell of smoke in the air, cook-off attendees can satisfy their hunger for barbecue from three vendors from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday evening and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The barbecue vendors will be Carolina BBQ Co. of Monroe, The Little Red Pig Championship BBQ of Marshville and Skin-N-Bones of Florida. Other vendors are Island Ices and Café Express Vending.
There will also be beverage vendors and the Southern Gateway Wine Festival, featuring wines from area vineyards, will also return this year. The four wineries participating in this year’s festival include Childress Vineyards, Native Vines Winery and Weathervane Winery, all in Davidson County, along with Cauble Creek Vineyard from neighboring Rowan County.
The wine festival is being coordinated by the Tourism Recreation Investment Partnership for Davidson County (TRIP) to bring attention to the wine industry of the lower Yadkin Valley and its contribution to the region’s economy and tourism attraction. Wines will be available at the festival for tasting by purchasing an armband for $10. The armband will be honored for tastings of selected wines at all four Southern Gateway Wine tents. Each winery will also have selected wines available for purchase by the glass, bottle or case. The wine garden will operate from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Other activities Friday night and Saturday include live bands performing a variety of music and activities for children. The kid’s area, a benefit for the American Children’s Home, will include inflatables, art activities, face painting, snow cones and more.
In partnership with radio station Q 104.1 New Country, Hunter Hayes will headline the live music programming at the Second Annual BBQ Capital Cook-off. Hayes, who was nominated for the Academy of Country Music’s Best New Artist award, has recently shared the stage with Hank Williams Jr., Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum.
Hayes will perform at 3 p.m. Saturday to cap a day of musical entertainment that will begin at 10 a.m. with Sanctum Sully, followed by Big Daddy Love at noon. Sanctum Sully is self-described as a “traditionally untraditional” bluegrass band from Asheville. Big Daddy Love, also based in Asheville, performs Americana, bluegrass and folk rock.
On Friday night, Scott Gibson and the Side Affects will kick off the cook-off as they perform a variety of original music from 6 to 7 p.m. The Lexington band plays regularly at High Rock Outfitters’ Uptown Unplugged acoustic music series. In addition to Gibson, band members are Scott Eppinga, Richard Rathmell and Bill Baker.
The Broadcast, originally formed in Brooklyn in 2007 but now based in Asheville, is a nationally touring six-piece, soul-infused rock band known for its tight, high-energy performances Cosmopolitan magazine described lead vocalist Caitlin Krisko’s voice as “drenched in honey, and dripping with soul.” They will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.
There are several new additions to the lineup of events for cook-off attendees Saturday. Cecil Conrad will demonstrate how Lexington-style barbecue cooking originated in the early 1900s from 10 a.m. to noon and a cornhole tournament will begin at noon. Lang BBQ Smokers will demonstrate its grills and raffle one off as well with proceeds going to Uptown Lexington Inc.
Fans of the nationally televised “BBQ Pitmasters” show, now on the Destination America cable channel, will also have an extra treat in store as the show’s crew films the season finale in Lexington on Saturday and Sunday. While the crew will film its own competition, shots of the Lexington cook-off will also be incorporated into the show.
Myron Mixon, three-time world barbecue champion from Georgia and a judge on “BBQ Pitmasters” will be selling his books and barbecue rubs and sauces during the BBQ Capital Cook-off.
The other two “BBQ Pitmasters” judges joining him will be Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, which was named “Best BBQ Restaurant in America” by Bon Appétit magazine in 2011, and Tuffy Stone, who was featured in the first season of “BBQ Pitmasters.” Stone’s team won second place in the brisket category at the BBQ Capital Cook-off last year. Stone and his wife own a gourmet catering company in Richmond, VA, as well as three Q Barbeque restaurants, two in Richmond and one in Hampton, VA.
Hodges said the television show typically draws a huge crowd wherever it films so he is expecting a larger crowd over the weekend than last year. KCBS officials estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people attended the inaugural cook-off in 2010.
“Last year’s cook-off demonstrated the strong national following competition barbecue cooking has,” Hodges said. “Many people follow teams who have appeared on the ‘BBQ Pitmasters’ series as well as sanctioned events listed in the KCBS newsletter, The Bull Sheet.”
For more information about the cook-off, call ULI’s office at 249-0383 or visit www.UptownLexington.com where you will find an event schedule and map.