The 1st Annual Smithfield BBQ Classic was one of the best BBQ contests that I have ever been to!  The location, the guinea pig style competition and the company of Smithfield were all great.  The town of Smithfield is charming and the Smithfield staff were hospitable and amazing!  Arlie Bragg and Big Poppa Smokers put on a great competition. I mentioned before that this competition was a guinea pig competition.  This means that all of the teams received their meat from the organizer (Amazing Smithfield Prime pork and a Snake River Farms Wagyu Brisket).  Yep, everyone started with the same meat.  I love this concept.  It also included a Kids Que contest (Liam competed) and a delicious pot luck dinner the night before the competition.

Smithfield BBQ Classic

1st Annual Smithfield BBQ Classic


Friday started with load-in.  The venue was a nice wide-open park and so we had a large area to set up in, with plenty of room.  We spent some time setting up our camp and getting organized for the cook upon our arrival.   My father, Don, flew in from Michigan to help out.  Thanks for the help, dad!

Smithfield BBQ Classic

In the early afternoon, there was a cooks meeting along with a draw for our meat.  We received lucky number 7 as our draw number and with that we received our meat.  We received some amazing Smithfield Prime Pork Butts and Ribs.  I must say Smithfield did a great job hooking the teams up with phenomenal meat.

After the cooks meeting, we headed back to the camp to start prepping the meat.  The meat was top shelf all the way.  Smithfield Reserve butts and ribs and a Snake River Farms Wagyu Brisket were beautiful to work with.  The chicken was great, but I am at a loss for the brand.  All I know is that the chicken was huge.  We called it Chernobyl chicken.  After trimming the chicken, we were barely able to put 6 thighs in the box.

Kids Q

Kids Q

After prepping the meat, it was time for the Kids Que.  Liam was super excited to be able to compete for the first time.  He had a blast. Liam cooked pork sliders with a spicy/sweet coleslaw on top.

Liam Cooking

We had to come up with a menu that didn’t require any chopping, since he had to do everything by himself.  All I was responsible for doing is starting the grill and taking the temperature of the meat.

Liam during Turn-ins

I as so proud of Liam.  He ended up in 5th place!  Not bad for his first time cooking!

Liam 5th Place Kids Q

Liam had such a blast an he wants to cook again next year.  We all knew that he was the overall winner, because he had such a fun time.  He got to keep the Weber grill that he cooked on, received an awesome ribbon and a swag bag from Smithfield  A big thanks to Sterling Big Poppa Ball for having the Kids Que.

Liam and Sterling Ball

Liam received his ribbon from Tuffy Stone. He always enjoys getting to talk to Mr. Tuffy!

Liam and Tuffy Stone

After the Kids Que, all of the competitors were invited to a nice pot luck presented by Smithfield.  Tuffy Stone, Bill Jones and Sterling Ball cooked the pork sliders and the competitors brought the sides.  It was one of most fun Friday night gatherings that I have ever been to at a barbecue contest.  It was situated up on a hill overlooking the river.  Awesome venue!

Pot Luck

After leaving the pot luck, it was time to fire up the generator and prepare for a night of cooking.  Since this was a bare bones contest, we had to bring our own power.  I was also the guy to bring the loudest generator.  At least I had power.


We started cooking and things went pretty smoothly.  We cooked the brisket and pork butts on the Shotgun Smoker and the chicken and ribs on the Traeger Texas.  Both smokers performed perfectly.  We monitored temperatures with our trusty thermapen.  I must say that all of our equipment performed awesome! In the end, we made some awesome BBQ.

5th Place Brisket

We ended up with 25th in chicken, 14th in ribs, 18th in pork and 5th in brisket for 19th place overall.

Me and Dad with the Kids

It was a great contest and we will definitely be doing it again.  Arlie and Sterling did an awesome job throwing this contest.  I can’t wait to compete next year!  Thanks again to my Dad for coming out and helping out.  It was a blast!

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


    • Rex Reply

      Thanks Brian. It was a blast. Hopefully I will get a chance to run into you and Marilyn soon!


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