Elite barbecue teams from around the world prepare to smoke, season and sear their best recipes at the 25th annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue in historic Lynchburg on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Judges and more than 25,000 fans will join competitive barbecue’s leaders as they compete for the coveted title of Grand Champion – in what many call the world’s most prestigious barbecue competition.
Teams from the United States and international teams from as far away as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Holland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom will compete in seven categories – Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder/Butts, Beef Brisket, Chicken, Dessert, Cook’s Choice and Jack Daniel’s Sauce.
In celebration of the silver anniversary, the Winner’s Circle – a separately judged competition of The Jack’s esteemed champions of years past – has been added to the itinerary.
Primarily known for its whiskey, Lynchburg is home to the Jack Daniel Distillery, America’s oldest registered distillery. But on the fourth Saturday of October, it turns into barbecue country as the historic town hosts the world-renowned competition, attracting teams from all 50 states and around the world.
To qualify, domestic teams must have won a state championship with a minimum of 25 teams entered, or a competition with more than 50 teams battling in the categories of Pork Ribs, Pork Butts, Chicken and Beef Brisket. The final competitors are then selected during a blind drawing of all eligible teams in early September. The 2012 Jack Daniel’s Grand Champion, Pig Skin BBQ, joins the current season’s Memphis in May, American Royal Open and Houston World’s Championship Bar-B-Que grand champions receiving automatic invitations.
“Known around the world, the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue strikes the perfect balance between high-energy competition and laid-back fun among the best of the best in competitive barbecue,” said Lynne Tolley, KCBS-certified barbecue judge and great-grandniece of Jack Daniel. “And with thousands of fans visiting historic Lynchburg to take in the action, The Jack really comes to life.”
Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett continues to find the talent, focus and skill of competing teams admirable.
“Each year, we see this competition get better and better – in talent, quality, ideas, taste and excitement,” said Arnett. “We’ve watched teams pour their heart and soul into perfecting their culinary craft and that dedication is what makes this competition the best in the world. As we celebrate 25 years, our fans, judges and teams will certainly feel the specialness of this event in a way they never have before.”
Other activities include original games such as the Country Dog Contest, Butt Bowling, and Bung and Bag Toss competitions. Games begin at 11 a.m. Saturday and continue throughout the day. Tours of the Jack Daniel Distillery from the Visitor Center will also be available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Barbecue judging starts at 11:30 a.m., and the awards presentation will take place at 5 p.m.
Admission to the 25th Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue is a voluntary donation to the Moore County schools. For more information, please visit www.jackdaniels.com.