Bubba & Son trucked it up the mountain on June 14th-15th weekend for the 20th annual Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival in Tryon, NC. Fortunately this event is only 50 miles away from the house, so we didn’t have far to go. This was one of the most successful turnouts for the BBQ festival with 98 competition teams competing for grand champion. Space was going to be so tight that they asked anyone who could come early to please do so. We went up Wednesday morning and was the first team to arrive. I feel like we should have got some kind of award for being first; the event organizers didn’t agree.

The Blue Ridge BBQ Festival Takes place in the Tryon, NC in the Appalachian Mountains.

The Blue Ridge BBQ Festival Takes place in the Tryon, NC in the Appalachian Mountains. Author Dillon Black recounts his experience competing as part of the Bubba and Son team at this KCBS sanctioned event.

As we arrived we found out that BBQ pitmasters would be filming their season finale at this event. It was intriguing getting to see the film crews arrive and to watch them set everything up. I found it even more exciting to get to see who the finalists were going to be in the show. So I thought, why keep this to myself? I feel like all of you reading this should also get the advantage of knowing who was going to be in the finale. When they started arriving I couldn’t believe what teams made it to the end. It was

BBQ Pitmasters Season Finale- Tryon, NC

BBQ Pitmasters Season Finale- Tryon,

Yea…. You’ll just have to wait for it to come on TV.

I was so into the show that on Saturday I almost let my chicken and ribs burn because I was to busy watching the pitmasters cook the meat for their final turn in. A lot of what the judges say is scripted and it took several takes to announce the winner. We stood and watched the judges do the final segment when they asked the pitmasters about their cooks and about their turn-ins. This took almost two hours.

When you get to competition and you have an RV like us the first thing you want to do is hookup to power and water. The folks in Tryon had this spot on. We got there, they showed us our spot, and we had water and power right then and there. I can’t brag enough on the volunteers and all the people that made this event possible. It was what we like to call in the competition bbq world, very “cooker-friendly”. They did everything possible to make sure we all had what we needed and that we were satisfied.

The events at this cook-off were also more bountiful than usual. I cant even guess at how many craft venders that were there. Amy and I must have walked around for three hours just looking at all the interesting stuff that people had on display. Being that this is a BBQ and Music festival I must mention the music that was awesome. The lively crowd that was full of liquid encouragement made it all the more entertaining to watch.

Ok, now the bad part, well bad for me. We didn’t do so great in the BBQ competition. This was a KCBS event so we competed in all four categories finishing 45 out of 96 teams. Our best finish was our pork that came in 14th. Our worst finish was our chicken coming in 77th. I am not sure what went wrong with it. I did the same recipe that has won us two awards already this year. It’s all about the judges. One week you might have judges that love your product and flavor profile, but the next week, you might have judges that think your food sucks.

Overall this was an excellent contest and I would advise any competitors to go here if you get the chance.

Want to know more about this contest or any others that I have been or am going to? Email me!



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