Smokin' in the valley

WNC Barbecue Festival comes to Maggie
Jul 24, 2013

If you want to taste some of the tastiest, mouth-watering barbecue and watch bad boys compete at cooking, check out “Smokin’ in the Valley” Western North Carolina BBQ Festival this weekend at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.

Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains where festivities reign supreme, the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce sponsors a hog’s heaven of delight from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 26 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 27. Admission is $5 for Adults; $2 children ages 6 – 12. Admission is free for children under 6.

In 2009, the festival drew 55 professional sauce sorcerers from North Carolina to Alabama who compete for the Grand Champion prize of $2,000, bragging rights, and a trophy. This year a slate of 48 teams will include Myron Mixon’s team Jack’s Old South BBQ. Myron Mixon Smokers will be on display as well.

The 2013 BBQ Festival has added a new competition – A WNC Point Chase Competition. Cookers who compete in all three WNC competitions – Tryon, Maggie Valley and Franklin events, will be automatically entered in this $1,500 “winner-take-all” event.

This event is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society – the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts. The focus for the competition will be cooking abilities for chicken, pork, pork ribs, and beef brisket.

In addition, there is a “Tastin’ Tent” where the public can purchase $10 tickets to taste barbecue samples from the competing teams and vote for their favorite flavor. The winning team will be given a “Maggie’s Best” trophy and prize money. Tickets are limited to 150; two seatings available.

“Barbecue is an art form with traditions handed down from generation to generation,” said Teresa Smith, executive director of the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Teams in the past have cooked on single grills while others have had $50,000 cookers, Smith said. Attendees can walk among and talk with the competition cookers and view their booths.

The festival highlights include live bluegrass, country and folk music; arts and crafts vendors, chainsaw art demonstrations, and a free Kid’s Zone. A special appearance from Bubba Bear from the Cherokee Fun Park from noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Barbecue browsers are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, stroller, and pets (no personal coolers) to this family event, which has an average attendance of 10,000 people.

Also on Friday, the “Anything Butt Dessert” and “Anything Butt Meat” competitions will be judged by local VIP celebrities.

Beer, Wine and Swine, a local restaurant competition, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday with WNC restaurants preparing chopped pork paired with wine and micro brewed beer samples. There is a $10 admission and participants get to sample barbecue with five sauces – tomato, vinegar, mustard, sweet and hot and spicy – and you get to vote for your favorite. The best local restaurant will receive an award and bragging rights.

Awards ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday featuring the winners from the four competition categories and the NC Governor’s Trophy, Maggie’s Best People’s Choice Award, and Anything Dessert and Anything Meat awards.

For more information, call 926-1686 or visit