The Murfreesboro Breakfast Rotary Club sure knows how to throw a party! The 5th year of their annual Dr. George Smith BBQ Brawl, certified by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, was a massive hit in spite of the dark clouds foreshadowing impending thunderstorms.
“We are continuing our tradition of a two-meat competition,” said Brook Christol, a club member and spokesperson for the event, “those being chicken and ribs. But two [changes] to the… competition include a [new] classification and a new contest.”
The competition was previously classified as a Backyard competition. The primary reason they changed was to allow more seasoned competitors who had “aged out” of the backyard series and wanted to keep cooking at their competition to do so.
“Anything Butt” is the new contest. It allows competitors to prepare any food they desire in a free-for-all. Banana Pudding? Fine. Grits? Ok. Cornbread? Sure. Just not a competition meat.
Another new addition is the People’s Choice Award. For the first time, the public got to eat barbecue cooked by the competitors. And the vote of the public determined the winner. Sam’s Club donated the Boston Butts that were provided to each team to season and cook. For $10, public voters received a 2-ounce sampling of pulled pork from an assortment offered by 35 participating teams and a ballot. Some teams paired their offering with complimentary beverages to help the judging along.
“Big B’s BBQ made a mini sandwich out of their offering topped with pimento cheese, and partnered it with a shot of Jack,” noted Rotarian Steve Dix. “Another group had some kind of drink with an umbrella.”
For those who missed the beverage offerings paired with the barbecue, there was the Boro BBQ BeerFest. It was a way for craft beer lovers to imbibe an assortment of unique beers, some brand new to the area.
“This might have been the highlight of the day,” added Christol. “It featured unlimited 4oz pours of craft beer from BountyBev, Nashville’s only 100% American Craft Beer Distributor.”
Boro BBQ BeerFest offerings included: TW Pictures, East Nashville Beer Works, Hutton & Smith, Bell’s, Blake’s, Rhinegeist, Dogfish Head, and Founders.
“That grabs you by the bobo,” said Willie Castelli, after a sip of the new to Middle Tennessee Rhinegeist ‘Little Bubs’ brew.
Other activities included all-day live music co-sponsored by WMOT Roots Radio; the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association annual motorcycle show; a Kids Zone with bouncy castles and the Discovery Center STEAM Bus; and there were rides on an antique fire truck. There were also lots of vendors with food, beverages, crafts, jewelry, and much more.
This was also the third year for the Tennessee Culinary Arts High School Steak Off. Nine teams from Middle Tennessee area high schools prepared steak with appropriate side dishes to win a cash prize for their school.
“These kids can give Nashville’s best a run for their money,” said Christol.
In spite of the occasional dribble from the sky, everyone stayed to listen to Bob Gerard from the Murfreesboro Morning Breakfast Club announce the winners.
“We’re here to give away what you have been working all day and all night for,” said Gerard before handing out the awards.
The winners for the high school competition were: McGavock High School in first place, Blackman High School in second place, and Smyrna High School in third place.
“The people have spoken,” said Gerard, “and voted Sweet Cheeks Pit BBQ the winner of the People’s Choice Award.”
The winner of the chicken category was first time entrant, Doss’ Barbecue and Steak. First place in the ribs category was The Big Orange Smokers. LEE LA Q won first in the Anything Butt division. The Reserve Champion was Big B’s Barbecue, and the Grand Champion was Smokin’ Bandits BBQ.
“We’d like to thank our key sponsors, Sharondale and Fairview Apartments, Bell Jewelers, and Slick Pig BBQ,” said Christol. “All profits go back into the community to support special projects by the Murfreesboro Breakfast Rotary Club.”
“This was the biggest, best year yet,” added Dix. “We had something for everyone.”