Thursday, March 24, 2016

West Coast BBQ Classic '16 at The Queen Mary

By Dru Chai

I've been following the BBQ competition scene in Southern California for the past 5 years -- judging, cooking, and eating my way to a larger waistline. Based on venue, organization, and quality of BBQ teams, the West Coast BBQ Classic at The Queen Mary in Long Beach has consistently been one of my favorites.

Saturday, May 14th, marks the fifth annual competition and every year just gets bigger and better. The BBQ competition circuit is one of the few "sports" in which amateur and backyard BBQ smokers can go toe-to-toe with experienced, semi-professional teams. The $260 entry fee gets you into the door, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Other costs including equipment setup, meat, and supplies that will push the average cost of entering a BBQ competition in the range of $1,000 or more. For many teams, it's well worth it for the bragging rights -- along with a shot at the $10,500 cash purse.

For those not interested in competing, you can count on eating your way to BBQ bliss. With a scenic backdrop near the historic Queen Mary by the water and near perfect sunny weather, it's a great location to try different samples of BBQ with a fistful of tasting tickets.

PRO TIP: Avoid the lines and go early. Many teams will run out of BBQ later in the afternoon and you'll be stuck eating scraps and leftovers. For more tips, check out my tips to enjoy a BBQ festival.

For more information about the West Coast BBQ Classic at the Queen Mary and to buy tickets, click here.