Second ‘Smoke on the Border’ BBQ set April 7-8
GRAVETTE — The second annual Smoke on the Border Barbecue Cookoff will bring world-class barbecue into Gravette Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8.
Last year’s inaugural event was highly successful, with 37 teams competing for $6,040 in prize money, and this year’s barbecue promises to be even bigger and better. Already more than 35 championship barbecue teams from the four-state area have signed up to compete for prizes, cash and fame. The event will be held in Gravette’s downtown business district.
The Smoke on the Border Barbecue Cookoff is sponsored by the Greater Gravette Chamber of Commerce, and more than 1,500 attendees are expected. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the Chamber’s events and scholarship projects.
“We want to encourage folks to come out to Smoke on the Border and bring a friend,” said Fred Overstreet, president of the Gravette Chamber and chairman of this year’s Smoke on the Border committee. “We are planning for this to be one of our community’s greatest events, providing delicious food and lots of entertainment for the entire family.” Admission is free both days.
Smoke on the Border is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. KCBS is the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts, with more than 20,000 worldwide. The organization sanctions more than 500 barbecue contests throughout the world, with competitions for barbecued chicken, ribs, pork and brisket judged by certified barbecue judges. The event is also sanctioned by the Arkansas Diamond Cup.
KCBS is the most respected judging and sanctioning body in America because of its blind judging process that uses a weighted scoring index to ensure a level playing field for all competitors. The organization also trains and commissions certified barbecue judges (CBJs) at classes held across America. CBJs learn how professionals distinguish great barbecue from average fare based on the three important elements, appearance, taste and texture. To learn more about KCBS, visit www.kcbs.us.
The event will begin about 12 noon on Saturday, April 7, on Main Street in downtown Gravette and will feature vendors of many kinds. Saturday’s events will include the popular People’s Choice event, where members of the public can purchase a tasting kit which allows them to sample each barbecue dish, then cast a vote for their favorite. People’s choice entries may be turned in at the United Methodist Church dining hall just east of the intersection of Akron Street and Second Avenue. Participating cooks will be furnished a pork shoulder to season and smoke as they choose. Tasting kits are $10. Tasters should come hungry because there should be about a pound of pulled pork to sample for each taster kit sold.
Other Saturday events will include the Kid’s Que Burger competition in which the younger generation of cooks will prepare a sampling of hamburger, and the “Anything Butt” contest in which the cooks will prepare an entry featuring anything but the four KCBS certified categories. Overstreet says this event can get very interesting because these cooks can be very creative and they know how to cook more than just barbecue. The “Anything Butt” contest will be judged by a panel of “celebrity” judges.
The Kid’s Q competition will be held in two age divisions, ages 10 and under and ages 11 to 15. Meat will be provided for both the People’s Choice and the Kid’s Q competitions. Youngsters will be competing for cash prizes and trophies and are asked to pre-register by April 2.
A tentative schedule is: 12 noon — events open to public; 3 p.m. — celebrity judge orientation; 4 p.m. — Kid’s Que 10 and under turn-in; 4:15 p.m. — Kid’s Que 11 and up turn-in; 4:30 p.m. — Anything Butt turn-in; 5 p.m. — People’s Choice entry turn-in; 5:30 p.m. — People’s Choice serving begins; 10:30 p.m., — quiet time.
The serious smoking will take place on Sunday during the KCBS sanctioned barbecue cookoff when more than 35 teams will cook the four categories of competition meats. All competition judging will be done by a select panel of judges certified by KCBS. The teams will be competing for more than $5,000 in prize money. Smoke on the Border teams will also earn points toward the 2018 Ozarks BBQ Alliance Points Chase, as well as the Arkansas Diamond Cup BBQ series. This allows the competing teams to score points in several Team of the Year series.
While the turn-in is not open to the general public, to protect the fairness of the competition, the award ceremonies to be held after the tabulations are always a fun time for all. The awards ceremony should take place from 3:30 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Sunday’s events will also include a Kid’s Que pork chop competition, with meat provided. Contest judging will be held at the crossroads of Main Street and Second Avenue.
All of Saturday’s events and the Sunday Kid’s Q event are open for public entry. Entrants are requested to preregister.
Sponsors for the event in addition to the GGCC and the city of Gravette include Austin Drug, BuiltWell Construction, Crystal Lake Foods, Freedom Powersports, Grumpy’s Peace, Love & Coffee, Harps Foods #311 (Gravette store), Impervicote, InsulBead, Metal Building Supply, P&K Equipment, Reynolds Brands, Royal Oak Charcoal, Smithfield Foods, Teasley Drug, The Clorox Company, Tyson Foods and Yates Tax Service.
To register for the Smoke on the Border competition, call 479-752-3313 or email email@example.com. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ smokeontheborder.