If you have ever wondered whether your wood-smoked meat skills could win you a trophy, here is your chance to find out.
The first Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition in the Triangle will happen in Apex next summer - the Peak City Pig Fest. Part barbecue contest, part street festival, the event is the work of the Apex Sunrise Rotary Club.
Organizer Graham Wilson says the 2-year-old club was trying to decide what to do as its annual fundraising event when someone suggested a barbecue contest. Wilson became so intrigued that he immediately purchased the domain name for Peak City Pig Fest and then applied to the KCBS - one of two major competitive barbecue entities in the country. The event will be June 23 in downtown Apex.
Up to 30 teams will compete for $13,000 in prize money. Registration forms will soon be available online.
Now, this isn't your Eastern North Carolina whole hog barbecue tradition, and a propane cooker won't do.
The teams must cook chicken, pork ribs, brisket and pork shoulder over charcoal or wood. To be considered for grand champion and take the $5,000 grand prize, the team must compete in all four categories. Wilson is hoping the event will qualify as a state championship, which gives the winning team the opportunity to compete at the KCBS's championships: the American Royal in Kansas City and the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Memphis, Tenn.
Triangle residents on the competitive barbecue circuit are pleased to have a local event. The closest KCBS event is in Rocky Mount, and the only other event east of Interstate 95 is in Edenton. Most other KCBS contests in the state are in the mountains.
"We do quite a bit of traveling. It's nice to have one here," said Jerry Stephenson, 42, of Clayton, who is part of the Redneck Scientific team. Stephenson's team includes him and his wife and two other married couples. Stephenson likes the KCBS events because they require blind judging, so any team - no matter how new it is to competitive barbecue - has a shot at winning.
This event not only creates an opportunity for competitive cooks but also for those who might like to become certified barbecue judges. The Rotary Club is offering a class Feb. 18 in Apex to train 60 people on how to judge KCBS contests. Seats must be reserved in advance, and Wilson expects them to fill up quickly. The class costs up to $100 per person. For more information, see the Rotary Club's website ( apexsunriserotaryclub.org ).
Wilson notes that a portion of the proceeds from the Peak City Pig Fest will be donated to Western Wake Crisis Ministry, an outreach program run by churches and businesses to help those in need in Apex and Holly Springs .
"We decided we wanted to help a cause in our own backyard," Wilson said.