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Last weekend, Pork Barrel BBQ’sCompetition BBQ Team headed to Kansas City, Missouri to cook against hundreds of the nations top barbecue pitmasters at the 32nd Annual American Royal Barbecue. Known throughout the world of barbecue as the World Series of Barbecue, the American Royal was first held in 1980 and has grown from humble beginnings into the largest barbecue conteston the planet. There are two contests held during the American Royal. The Invitational, held on Saturday, is an invite only contest made up of teams that have won at least one Grand Championship in the past year. The Open, held on Sunday, is open to anyone wishing to participate and usually attracts upwards of 500 teams.

This marked Pork Barrel BBQ’s second time competing in the American Royal Open and our first time competing in the American Royal Invitational. We earned our invitation to the 32ndannual American Royal Invitational contest by winning the Grand Championship at the 2011 Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle in Washington, DC, the nation’s largest barbecue festival.

In Saturday’s American Royal Invitationalwe were ecstatic to finish 26th out of 142 of the best teams in the world of competition BBQ!

Pork Barrel BBQ Takes 10th Place in Brisket in the 32nd Annual American Royal Barbecue Invitational Contest

Our finishes in each of the categories were:

Chicken – 41st
Ribs– 60th
Pork– 70th
Brisket– 10th

In Sunday’s American Royal Open we continued our strong weekend by finishing 40th out of 483 teams! Finishing in the top 10% of such a large and accomplished number of teams was a thrill for us!

Pork Barrel BBQ Takes Sixth Place in Chicken at the 32nd Annual American Royal Barbecue Open Contest

Our finishes in each of the categories were:

Chicken– 6th
Ribs– 120th
Pork– 128th
Brisket– 159th

On top of this, Pork Barrel BBQ got it’s first perfect 180 score in the Dessert category in the American Royal Open Dessert contest thanks to the amazing mixed berry cheesecake cooked by Heath’s parent’s Rex & Barbara!!!

It was a huge thrill for us to cook in our home state of Missouri and in one of the BBQ hot spots of America! Beyond the success we had on the smoker, it was an amazing chance for us to hang out with some of our BBQ heroes, mentors andfriends as well as catch up with friends and family who live it Missouri (Thanks for all your help Joe andBob!!). It is always special when we get to hang out with great pitmasters and friends like Rod Gray of Pellet Envy, Pat Burke of Tower Rock, Mike Mills of 17th Street Bar & Grill, Dave Raymond (AKA Sweet Baby Ray) BBQ Sauce God and founder of Sweet Baby Ray’s, Neil Strawder of Bigmista’s BBQ, Danielle Dimovski of Diva Q, Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke, Paul Huff of, George Shore of Pitmaker and so many more!!!!

Heath& Brett withBBQ Legends Mike Mills, Dave Raymond (AKA – Sweet Baby Ray) and Pat Burke!


With BBQ Pitmasters Neil Strawder, Mike Mills, Tuffy Stone, Pat Burke and Culinary Students

In addition to the main competitions Heath cooked in the Kansas City Barbecue Society’s Grillmaster’s Series against Danielle Dimovski of Diva Q. The battle between the U.S. and Canada was held on the stage of the KCBS Great American BBQ Tour led by Mike and Chris Peters. Last year Pork Barrel came out on top against one of the legends of BBQ, Johnny Trigg. Heath made it back to back wins at the Royal by gaining the stomach’s of the judges in his Steak Battle against Diva Q!

Heath and Diva Q at the KCBS Grillmaster Steak Cookoff

Check out the Kansas City Star’s coverage of the American Royal and Pork Barrel BBQ!

It’s been a long season the BBQ circuit for Pork Barrel BBQ, but it’s not quite over yet. We’ll be loading up our trailer and heading to Lynchburg, Tennessee in a couple weeks to compete in the most prestigious of all the BBQ contests, The Jack Dainel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue!!!