We found out that our new hometown of Vista, CA hosts a KCBS sanctioned event. Naturally, we had to check it out. If you are a fan of barbecue, be on the lookout for this competition. It wasn’t advertised very well. In fact, we discovered this event while scrolling through local Groupon deals.
The Vista BBQ Classic, now in its’ 8th Year, attracts teams from across the state to compete in four categories: chicken, pork ribs, pork, and brisket. The competitors set up their stations Friday afternoon for Saturday’s judging event. During this 24 hour period of seasoning, smoking, and grilling, visitors chat with the contestants to learn about their story and technique.
Tom and I strolled around historic downtown Vista on Friday evening and met up with a unique barbecue team. The team of 5 is all KCBS judges and they got together to compete in the Vista BBQ classic. Bob and Casey prepared the chicken. Travis Young handled the pork ribs. Debbie Traver oversaw the pork. And Bob Hall took care of the brisket. All 5 team members are incredibly friendly and warmly welcomed us to their station on Friday evening. Their friendliness and camaraderie speaks to the nature of barbecue competition. Although everyone wants to win the prize money and bragging rights, there is a sense of community amongst the competitors.
On Saturday, the teams turned in the fruits of their labor for judging. In addition to the competition, there are many other entertainment outlets for guests. Visitors can sample barbecue prepared by the teams. However, it should be known that not all teams sell their products and the best samples are for the judges. Also, there are long lines to taste 2oz samples. In between sampling meats, visitors can partake in a karaoke competition, participate in watermelon and pie eating contests, and learn how to line dance. For the kiddos, there is a fun play area with slides and bouncy castles. Whatever the age group, there is something for everybody.
The judges’ results are posted at 5pm on Saturday. Although we don’t know how our new friends rank, we are sure they did well. However, in the end, barbecue isn’t just about the competition. It’s about a community of people who want to prepare their meat in the best possible way and serve the product to diners who appreciate the craft.
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