Item added Item updated Item removed No more products on stock You entered wrong value.

No products in the cart.

The World's First Online Tell-All Competition BBQ Cooking School

Sara Hansen

Top BBQ Festivals & Pitmaster Competitions in 2024

In the sizzling world of culinary delights, BBQ festivals and pitmaster competitions stand out as fiery celebrations of flavor and skill. We’ve still got quite a bit of 2024 left and the anticipation continues to build for the upcoming BBQ extravaganzas.

As barbecue enthusiasts, we all know that there's nothing quite like the sizzling allure of a perfectly cooked piece of meat. And what better way to celebrate this culinary passion than by attending a large BBQ festival or witnessing the top names in competition barbecue battle it out for ultimate bragging rights?

In this article, we’ve put together a list of some of the hottest BBQ festivals and pitmaster competitions in 2024. From legendary events steeped in tradition to up-and-coming competitions shaking up the scene, we've got something for everyone! Fire up your taste buds and get ready for a year of smokin' good times!

(*Please note: If you’re interested in entering as a competitor, the website for the specific competition you are interested in is the best place to get detailed info on how to enter. That’s where you'll usually find entry requirements, rules/guidelines, timelines, etc.)


Legendary BBQ Fests / Competitions:

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest at Memphis in May (Memphis, TN)

May 15th - 18th

Immerse yourself in barbecue royalty at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (WCBCC) – the undisputed granddaddy of them all. Held each May in Memphis, Tennessee, this legendary event unfolds over four days on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.

The aroma of slow-cooked perfection hangs heavy in the air, while live music and the cheers from the crowd create an unforgettable atmosphere. Witness over 250 teams from across the nation vying for the coveted Grand Champion title. The competition is fierce, with categories like ribs and pork shoulder judged according to Memphis in May's strict guidelines.

But Memphis in May isn't just about crowning champions; it's a full-fledged barbecue paradise for attendees. Vendors galore offer a mind-boggling variety of smoked meats, from melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork to glistening racks of ribs. Don't forget the classic sides – baked beans, creamy coleslaw, and sweet potato fries are just a taste of the deliciousness waiting to be devoured.  Whether you're a seasoned barbecue judge or a curious newcomer, the WCBCC is an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting more.


The Giant® National Capital Barbecue Battle (Washington, DC)

June 22nd & 23rd


Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle | BBQ festivals 2024 | BBQ competitions 2024
Source: The Giant® National Capital Barbecue Battle


Craving some award-winning barbecue and a taste of summer? Head to the East Coast this June for the 32nd Annual Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. This two-day extravaganza features over 100 vendors dishing out free samples of their barbecue masterpieces, all vying for your taste buds' approval. 

But the real heat is on at the center stage where the nation's top World Champion Pitmasters go head-to-head in a sizzling battle for Grand Champion glory. Witness the grilling experts showcase their award-winning techniques, from perfectly smoked briskets to fall-off-the-bone ribs.

Beyond the competition, live music on multiple stages and thrilling BMX and skateboarding demonstrations keep the energy high. It's the perfect opportunity to fuel your barbecue fandom, indulge in free samples, and celebrate the smoky art of barbecue with fellow enthusiasts.


Windy City Smokeout (Chicago, IL)

July 11th - 14th

Celebrating its 14th year, the Windy City Smokeout is a Chicago institution for barbecue lovers. Held in July at the United Center parking lot, this four-day extravaganza features a sizzling BBQ competition and some of the top names in country music keeping things rocking. Witness several dozen of the world's top pitmasters go head-to-head for barbecue supremacy. 

The competition is fierce, but the Windy City Smokeout offers more than just bragging rights. Attendees can wander through a paradise of smoked meats, with vendors showcasing a wide array of regional styles and unique dishes. Live music sets the mood, with performances from big names like Thomas Rhett, Parker McCollum, Cody Johnson, and Carrie Underwood, while refreshing craft beers and delicious sides complete the picture. Prepare for a smoky good time at this legendary Chicago barbecue festival.


Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue (Lynchburg, TN)

October 11th & 12th

Don't forget to mark your calendars for the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, Tennessee this October! This invitation-only event, often referred to as "The Jack," is widely considered one of the most prestigious competitions on the barbecue circuit.

Only champions from state and major competitions qualify to compete, making it a true battle of the best. Witness these pitmaster titans showcase their grilling and smoking mastery across eight categories, all vying for the coveted Grand Champion title and a chance to etch their name in barbecue history.

But "The Jack" is more than just competition; it's a full-fledged barbecue lover's paradise. The aroma of slow-cooked meats mingles with live music, creating a festive atmosphere. Attendees can wander through the pits, chat with the pitmasters, and learn barbecue secrets from the best. Beyond the smoky magic, there's a dedicated space for fun family activities, clogging demonstrations to showcase a bit of Southern culture, and even a hilarious country dog costume contest. Don't miss your chance to be part of this legendary event and celebrate the art of barbecue in style!


Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational | BBQ festivals 2024 | BBQ competitions 2024
Source: Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue 


The American Royal (Kansas City, MO)

October 30th - November 3rd

Kansas City bleeds barbecue, and The American Royal is the undisputed crown jewel. Sanctioned by the legendary Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), this event is a pilgrimage for serious BBQ enthusiasts.

Nicknamed "The Big One," over 600 teams battle for the coveted American Royal Invitational title, a monumental feat considered one of the toughest BBQ championships to win. Here, tradition reigns supreme. Judges hold competitors to KCBS's strict guidelines, with perfectly smoked brisket, mouth-wateringly tender ribs, and competition-worthy chicken taking center stage. Witnessing pitmaster titans showcase their time-tested skills and secret rubs is a masterclass in barbecue mastery.

But The American Royal isn't just about competition. The aroma of slow-cooked perfection mingles with live music, while vendors offer a delectable journey through American barbecue styles. Whether you are a seasoned connoisseur or a curious newcomer, The American Royal is an unforgettable immersion into the world of barbecue.


Up-and-Coming Contenders for Great BBQ Events:

Brew N Que Festival (Norco, CA)

June 1st

Norco, California heats up with smoky flavors and refreshing brews at the Brew N Que Festival this June. This rising star on the West Coast barbecue scene features a competition sanctioned by the KCBS. Watch pitmaster gladiators battle for smoked supremacy in categories like brisket and ribs.

The barbecue competition is just the beginning of the event’s attraction – live music keeps the energy high, while food demonstrations and a "Kids Corner" offer something for everyone. Don't miss this opportunity to indulge in California sunshine, award-winning barbecue, and a refreshing selection of craft beers that pair perfectly with mouth-watering BBQ at the Brew N Que Festival.


The Best in the West Rib Cook-Off (Sparks, NV)

August 28th - September 2nd


Best in the West Rib Cook Off | BBQ festivals 2024 | BBQ competitions 2024
Source: The Best in The West Rib Cook-Off


Craving legendary ribs? Head to Sparks, Nevada this August for the Best in the West Rib Cook-Off. Often referred to as the "Super Bowl" of rib competitions, this event has quickly gained a reputation as a must-do for serious rib enthusiasts. Spanning over six city blocks, two dozen of the country's top rib-slinging teams gather to battle it out for the coveted "Best in the West" title and a hefty cash prize. Witness these pitmaster titans showcase their unique rubs and slow-cooking techniques, all vying to create the most fall-off-the-bone, flavor-packed ribs imaginable.

But this Rib Cook-Off isn't just about competition. It's a full-fledged barbecue paradise for attendees. Over 350,000 barbecue lovers descend upon Sparks each year to savor these award-winning ribs alongside a variety of other smoked meats and delicious sides. Live music keeps the energy high, making this a true celebration of barbecue culture in the heart of the Wild West.


Plenty of Great BBQ Festivals & BBQ Pitmaster Competitions to Choose From in 2024!

As things really get rolling with BBQ festivals and pitmaster competitions in 2024, the stage is set for an unforgettable year filled with culinary delights, fierce competition, and camaraderie. These events showcase the pinnacle of culinary excellence and embody the true community spirit that unites BBQ enthusiasts from all walks of life.

Whether you're a die-hard BBQ aficionado or simply looking to soak in the vibrant atmosphere, there's something for everyone to enjoy at these great events. Get ready to embark on a flavorful journey that celebrates the rich tradition of BBQ and the artistry of pitmasters from around the world.

Have you experienced the delicious buzz of a BBQ competition or festival? Plan on going to one of the above events this year? Leave a comment below, we'd love to hear about it!

Looking to elevate your backyard grilling before hitting the BBQ circuit in 2024? Up your game with our Championship Backyard BBQ Classes! Taught by pro pitmasters and grillmasters, these online courses equip you with step-by-step instructions for 20 mouthwatering smoked and grilled recipes.

Want to dominate the grill and be competition-ready next year? Dive into the BBQ Champs Academy All-Access Pass!  This unique program features online BBQ classes led by champion pitmasters and grillmasters. They'll reveal the secrets to mastering different cuts of meat on your smoker or grill, sharing insider tips and techniques honed over years of experience.

And for the latest news and competition BBQ knowledge, subscribe to the BBQ Champs Academy YouTube channel today!

Sara Hansen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for a great place to buy rubs, sauces, charcoal, accessories, & more with fast shipping? Click the logos below!

Top usertagbubblecrosschevron-down