You’ve got the tools, the meat, and the passion. So what’s left but to show off those epic grilling skills? Whether it’s what you’re known for or you just want to try something new, barbecue competitions and festivals are a great way to show off your grilling and maybe learn a thing or two from some renowned champs. If you’re looking for something regional, just for pork lovers, in need of beer or if you want live music included, there’s something out there for you! We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular barbecue competitions in the country — think you got what it takes to grill with the best?


  • The American World Series of Barbecue — What’s known to be the one of the biggest barbecue competitions in the world, The American World Series of Barbecue takes place in Kansas City, Missouri every September with events including a rodeo, Livestock Show, and Horse Shows! As a nonprofit, American Royal raises money for scholarship funds and benefits agricultural education, scholarships and competitive learning! This BBQ competition brings in over 50,000 people each year from several countries, and includes entertainment and activities for the whole family.

  • The Barbecue Festival — What better place to compete than the barbecue capital of the world (check out our barbecue facts to see if that’s true!)? The Barbecue Festival in Lexington, North Carolina takes place every October and continues to break attendance records every year. If you really want to impress the NC crowd, be prepared — pork shoulder is the cut of choice in Lexington. Smoke yours on a Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill over BBQ Island Hickory Wood Pellets to have a leg-up on the competition!

  • Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival — If you believe meat is best paired with a great drink, the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival may be right for you and your team! The festival travels through different states in the South and East Coast, serving up your favorite local beers and bourbon along with live music and activities. Bottoms up!

  • The Great American BBQ & Beer Festival — We didn’t forget about you, Arizona!  We’ve got some awesome competitions too! The Great American is known to be Arizona’s biggest BBQ competition taking place in Downtown Chandler. Of course, we at BBQ Island are always there with our partners showing off what we do best. Plus, cold beer and live music make the entire event a huge Arizona party.

  • Wine Country Big BBQ — Who said California doesn’t know how to barbecue? The Wine Country Big BBQ in Sonoma County, CA boasts competition BBQ and world-class wine all in one place! Plus, additional events include the Winery Big Beef Challenge, pitting winery and vineyard chefs against each other for the best tri-tip and complementing wines! We’ll cheers to that.


The list is endless but there is something out there for you and your barbecuing preferences. Getting ready for a competition and need last minute supplies? We’ve got you covered. Shop BBQ Island for all of your BBQ needs: https://www.bbqislandinc.com/