Kansas City Barbecue Events
American Royal World Series of Barbecue
With over forty years and counting, it is probably accurate to say this is the biggest barbecue competition in the world. Drawing over 500 teams, including some from around the globe, this is an event to be reckoned with. Over 50,000 people come out to the Kansas Speedway. Locals call it Kansas City’s biggest party; anther claim that is hard to argues.
This is world class barbecue and so much more. There’s room in the scope of this event for rodeo, cattle judging and auctions, multiple equine events and an extensive music lineup. The dates for 2022 are September 28th - October 2nd. With tens of thousands of dollars as prize money and bragging rights second to none, this is going to be a penultimate barbecue event.
Smoke on the Plains Derby BBQ & Music Fest
A couple hours southwest of KC is a modest barbecue competition and festival in the town of Derby, KS. High Park in Derby is a great location for this kind of event with a lake running along one side and plenty of space. The event is a KCBS competition with competitors earning points (in addition to cash) toward the team of the year awards.
Scheduled in mid –June (6-9-2023) this event still keeps a hometown feel to it with carnival rides for the kids and the ‘Toss Like a Boss’ Corn-hole competition. And of course food for all in many forms at the town of Derby’s largest gathering. It is bigger than local though, drawing in over 30 professional teams and nearly twenty Backyard team barbecue competitors.
Smoke on the Plains is not the biggest, and not the oldest, but it is certainly a classic event. It keeps a wonderful hometown feel as it unrolls over two days in June in Deby, Kansas. Don’t misunderstand, this is still a KCBS certified competition in both the Master’s and Backyard formats. With the Toss like a Boss cornhole competition day one, to the wrap up concert the next evening,
Great Lenexa BBQ Battle
For almost forty years on the fourth Saturday (and Friday) in June, barbecue teams have set up booths around Rose’s Pond in the Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park in Lenexa, KS. Nearly two hundred teams compete in this official Kansas State Championship as declared by the governor in 1984. Friday starts on more of a party note with music and activities throughout the park. Apparently having local knowledge is a great way to get into some of the many private parties, and good eats, that are happening amongst the competitors.
Saturday is down to business with the judging and free barbecue sampling to attendees. Of course there is commercial barbecue available throughout the event along with the usual festival fare. Longevity and legacy is a fun part of this event with teams that have been competing for literally decades, some over thirty years.
What more can you ask for when it comes to fine BBQ festivals in Kansas than one of the State’s lesser-known BBQ competitions. You may not have heard of the Great Lenexa BBA Battle before, however, there is no reason to not attend this year’s proud return to the Sunflower State once again. Here’s everything you need to know about this great cookoff and the results for 2023. This event