This past weekend was the weekend to top ALL weekends for BBQ enthusiasts…The American Royal World Series of BBQ® in Kansas City.
But first, let’s start with a little BBQ history. In 1908, Henry Perry, an ex-steamboat cook found himself in Kansas City. To make ends meet, he began selling smoked meats in an alley to laborers in search of a quick, low-cost lunch…visualize beef brisket and wild game smoked over an open pit served in day-old newspaper. After bouncing from block to bock, the stand eventually found a home in an old trolley barn. As KC ‘s infamous jazz scene exploded, Henry’s quaint little BBQ stand became a KC icon, and Henry came to be known as the father of Kansas City Barbecue.
The American Royal World Series of BBQ® is one of the most renowned BBQ competitions in the world, and we just couldn’t miss it! Set in one of the United States’ most prolific BBQ states, Kansas City has been buzzing with excitement all week. Today KC has over 100 different BBQ restaurants!
So, what makes Kansas City BBQ unique? They aren’t partial to one type of slow-smoked meat over another, and they’re no stranger to using various types of wood for added flavor. And, we can’t forget that delicious, tomato-molasses based sauce!
For those of you that haven’t been to the American Royal, we’d highly recommend putting it on your bucket list…especially if you’re a BBQ lover. The size of this event is hard to grasp without actually experiencing it. The event covers 52 square miles! Now that’s A LOT of BBQ!
When we arrived at the Royal, we headed straight for the Operation BBQ Relief! We had heard they were prepping for their 2nd Annual Hawg with a Heart Pigapalooza fundraiser! If you’re not familiar with OBR, they’re a fantastic, not-for-profit corporation founded in May 2011 in response to a need for relief efforts in tornado-stricken Joplin, Missouri. In the wake of this nearly unprecedented destruction, competition barbecue teams from 8 states answered the call to help feed displaced families and emergency personnel including police, fire, and the National Guard. The group, headed by Stan Hays (County Line Smokers), Jeff Stith (Big Creek BBQ) and Will Cleaver (Sticks N Chicks BBQ), was able to serve over 120,000 barbecue meals to those who were affected by the disaster.
This year’s Hawg with a Heart Pigapalooza was hosted onsite at the American Royal! The OBR crew was cooking up four whole hogs, among other delicious BBQ fair, using our very own Cowboy Charcoal! We were delighted to be a part of the efforts to raise money for this very deserving and hardworking organization.
The American Royal Association is also a non-profit organization that has been working to provide scholarships, education, awards and competitive learning experiences since 1899. So, not only is it a great opportunity to sample some of the best BBQ on earth, it’s also an opportunity to learn about and support an incredible cause.
Our hats are off to all the great teams that competed and won this past weekend! It was an honor to sample some of the world’s best BBQ.
Some of our favorite photos from the weekend are below. Did you attend the American Royal? If so, we’d love to know what you thought of the event!
The Cowboy Charcoal Booth at the American Royal
The Operation BBQ Relief Booth