The much-anticipated draw for the 25th annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue was held Friday, Sept. 6 at the historic Bethel House with approximately two-dozen people in attendance including Jack Daniel’s officials, media and a handful of barbecue enthusiasts.
The drawing was held in anticipation of this year’s world championship cook-off, slated for Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 here at Wiseman Park.
To qualify for “The Jack,” U.S. teams must have already won a competition in which 50 or more teams participated, or they must have won a competition of at least 25 teams that has been designated a “state championship.” The drawing is then held among the qualifying teams to determine the final competitors.
“A lot of work goes into this, not just for the barbecue, but for the draw itself,” said Steve May, Director of Lynchburg Homeplace. “I want to commend Debbie Christian and these ladies for all the work they do, as well as all of the other volunteers.”
The event began in 1989 and is today considered one of the most prestigious barbecue competitions in the world, as teams from across the United States and around the world compete in the categories of Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder, Beef Brisket and Chicken, as well as Sauces and Desserts.
“Barbecue, in general, meets Jack Daniel’s in (its) passion,” said May. “I know those in the barbecue community are very passionate and Jack Daniel’s is one of the most passionate brands of whiskey in the world. We feel it’s very fitting to have the world’s greatest barbecue (competition) right here where the world’s premier whiskey is made.
Before the drawing, May announced that for this year’s 25th anniversary event, barbecue officials have upped the ante. The grand prize winning team will walk away with a $10,000 winner’s check, double that of previous winners.
“We feel this event warrants that kind of money,” he added.
According to the competition’s website, in celebration of its silver anniversary, there will also be a separately judged competition amongst The Jack’s prestigious champions of years past called the Winner’s Circle.
Prior to last week’s drawing there were already 43 competitors entered in the Backyard division, as well as 23 international teams entered.
Last year, 68 championship teams from the U.S. and 19 international teams from Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Puerto Rico and Switzerland fought for the title.
Pig Skin BBQ of Rockwell, Iowa, was named Grand Champion.
A list of teams invited to this year’s event is available on the Kansas City Barbeque Society website online at <http://www.kcbs.us>.
—ROBERT HOLMAN, MCN Editor