Georgia Magazine - August 2017 - 30
RHYTHM & RIBS BBQ FESTIVAL COMMITTEE
RHYTHM & RIBS BBQ
Caleb Kamerer of Sauced Up Smokers in
Vienna prepares pulled pork for the "backyard competition" at Tifton's Rhythm & Ribs
Certified judges with the Georgia Barbecue
Association record their findings in the professional competition at the Rhythm & Ribs
BBQ Festival in Tifton.
we were hooked. I sold my boat and
else, Meadows says. That "something
bought a smoker and trailer.
else" gives each Georgia event a
"It's a family thing. We travel to
cook, to see our friends and make
The Real Squeal BBQ & Music
some money. This isn't the kind of
in Lyons every October is a
Edward Hoard III of New York City digs into
hobby you make a lot of money
event that includes arts
a turkey leg at the Boss Hog Cook-Off in
and quit your job over, but we make Waynesboro.
and crafts, dancing, fireworks, a huge
enough to pay for what we do, and
display of Native American artifacts, a
we have a great time."
car show and $20,000 in total prize money.
Rick Godfrey, chairman of the GBA, is the pitmaster
"Any festival is as good as what you put into it,"
of the Dixie Que team and BirdCat BBQ restaurant in
says Darrien Ramsay, chairman. "We usually draw about
Milledgeville. He's been competing since 2006.
50 professional and 12 to 15 amateur cookers, but by
"You better do this because you love it," he says.
offering more activities, we cast a wider net to attract
"I started with a grill, a tent, a garden hose and some
more attendees. It's a great way to give back to our complastic boxes for tools and ingredients. My wife said she
munity and showcase how nice it is to live in Toombs
liked competing, but she wasn't going to do it this way.
We invested in an enclosed trailer and built-in cabinets
Pigs & Peaches, which dates back to 2001 and has
for a mobile kitchen."
been a KCBS-sanctioned event since 2007, now attracts
Many cookers now have special rigs. The meat and
an estimated 65,000 attendees to Kennesaw each August.
ingredients, travel expenses and entrance fees run them
It's a free, two-day event with music, a Kid Zone with
about $1,000 per competition on average. The prize
inflatables, serious and fun amateur contests and $16,000
money can be worth it. Godfrey won $5,000 for first
offered in prize money.
place for whole hog at Canton's BBQ and Brews Festival
"Pigs & Peaches is really a celebration of Southern
this year. But you don't always win.
hospitality, love for good music and camaraderie with
The cooking is getting better and the competition
tens of thousands of barbecue enthusiasts," says David
harder, Fallin says.
Pies, recreation division manager for the city of Ken"Before, there might be five or six top teams that
nesaw Parks and Recreation.
could win. Now there are 25. In the last two years, GeorIn its fourth year and sanctioned by the Memphis
gia has become one of the most competitive places to
Barbecue Network, the Tifton Rhythm & Ribs BBQ
cook and one of the best circuits," he says.
Festival in March features top bands and more than 100
vendors and brings new customers to local retailers.
"There's entertainment from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The
event attracts tourist dollars [and] is family-friendly and
Barbecue may be the main event, but to be successfun," says Angela Elder, an organizer with the Spearman
ful, a barbecue contest should be paired with something
Agency, an advertising and marketing firm in Tifton that
It's all about the sides
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