The 2011 $125,000 Las Vegas Barbecue Championship!

The 2011 $125,000 Las Vegas Barbecue Championship!

The 2011 Las Vegas BBQ Championship at the Orleans Casino Resort was a two day event in May and the grand prize pool was worth $125,000! That big jackpot was a fitting reward for creating some mouthwatering championship barbecue and the event was quite a show. Barbecue competitors from around the globe always show in numbers when the prize money is big. The high level of competition guaranteed a no holds barred event that would draw plenty of barbecue fanatic spectators!  

The Las Vegas BBQ Championship was the wildest, craziest barbecue event of them all!  Admission was free and the weather was perfect.  Bright sunny skies and a comfortable 80ºF is ideal BBQ weather!

The Las Vegas BBQ event was held outdoors at the Orleans Casino Arena parking lot.  BBQ is not an indoor event, because of smoke regulations.  Believe me, there was some serious BBQ smoking going on!

Towards the entrance gates, there were many concessions stands and beer tents.  This was going to be a beer and BBQ afternoon like no other. Country music bands performed on stage during the entire event, so it was like a big party. Music, beer and barbecue!  That is a good time no matter how you spell it.  BBQ competitors are notoriously crazy, eccentric and fun.  The crazier the better is the BBQ rule of thumb.  The way that the competitors dressed and the way that they talked was all done with classic BBQ competitor style, which involves plenty of bragging, showing off customized equipment and mentioning secret recipes that captivate listeners.

The 2011 Las Vegas Barbecue Championship was open to professional BBQ competition teams as well as amateur BBQ teams.  Most of the competitors were from west of the Mississippi. Anything and everything that even remotely had to do with barbecue was on display or for sale.  There were several stands selling some interesting BBQ sauce concoctions and custom spice rubs.  Better still, there were free tastings of sauces and BBQ at nearly every purveyor stand too!

There were so many custom stylish BBQ grills on display or for sale, that making up the mind on which one to pick would have been nearly impossible.  Some of the barbecue grills were customized in ways that were hard to believe.  The hot rod flame job grills, speed boat grills and custom BBQ wagons were fascinating to look at.  My two favorites were the chargrill that was customized to look like a big pink pig and one from Texas that looked like a big old western six shooter pistol.  The gun’s cylinder opened up to the char grill inside and the gun barrel served as the smoke stack.  Smoke was literally pouring out of the barrels of the Smokin’ Gun BBQ Grills!  This grill was the coolest BBQ grill idea that I have seen in a long time.

At the 2011 Las Vegas BBQ Championship, the BBQ competition teams that had the wildest craziest themes and logos were at the center of attention. There were plenty of old BBQ traditionalists too and some that even preferred to cook over a home style backyard chargrill.  There was a few miles of BBQ stands and event tents at the Las Vegas BBQ Championship, so there was plenty of walking to be done. All the walking was good for burning a few of the barbecue sample calories off, so room could be made for placing an order at one of the many BBQ serving stands.

Walking from one BBQ team tent to the next, I had plenty of great BBQ conversations.  Looking at all of the crazy BBQ team logos was a study in itself! My favorite BBQ menu by a competitor went to one of the Florida teams.  Some kind of genius used duct tape to cover the old menu changes and new item name or prices were written on the duct tape!  Now that is an authentic backwoods style BBQ menu!

Every kind of BBQ style imaginable was cooked at this competition.  Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Japanese BBQ were popular ethnic styles at the championship, which drew plenty of interest. Overall, Memphis style dry rub BBQ ribs were the king of the event, because this style of barbecue cooking was at a peak of nationwide popularity at that time.

Barbecue championships are well worth attending no matter where the event may take place. When a BBQ championship is held in Las Vegas, the event is guaranteed to be a winner! These events are usually announced well ahead of time, so it pays to take a look at the local newspaper or inquire at the concierge desk. For a true barbecue fanatic, a big BBQ championship like the one in Las Vegas is well worth planning an entire vacation around!


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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