Two BBQ Contests at Knott's Soak City Dec. 31 and Jan. 1
Competition-grade spare ribs from Tropical Heat BBQ Team
Would you guess that Orange County hosts more sanctioned barbecue contests than L.A. County? It's true. We're not talking about unsanctioned "rib burns," either, but legitimate contests with certified judges like you'd find in Kansas City.
To conclude the contest season, the world of competition barbecue dukes it out for a $15,000 purse on December 31 and January 1 at Knott's Soak City in Buena Park.
Why two contests? The first of two marks the final Kansas City Barbecue Society contest of the year in the country, which can matter to nationally-ranked teams that want to bump up their placings for the year. The team that wins on January 1 earns them the bragging rights for the #1 KCBS team in the country, at least for a brief while.
On both days, the public will have a chance to taste the competitors' food. The first 500 in the gate can vote for their favorite team in the People's Choice compeition. The contest opens to the public 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. There's a $5 entry fee, and kids under 5 are free. Your ticket to the BBQ contest will be redeemable for $5 credit for Knotts' amusement parks.
BBQ sample tickets cost $10 for 3, or $20 for 8, and each BBQ sample portion weighs 2 ounces or more. A beer and wine garden will serve adult beverages, food vendors will be on hand to serve other meals, and live bands will perform, although a list of bands wasn't available at the time we went to print.
Regular readers will know I usually cook at these local contests, but for this one, I will be in the judges' tent among other KCBS-certified judges. What goes on inside the judges' tent? In the next episode, we'll see a video of barbecue judges at work!
Knott's Soak City Parking Lot
8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.