Organizers of this year’s event are very excited
about all that will be going on starting of Friday and running
through Saturday night.
Among the original members of the Kansas City Barbecue Society
(KCBS) Up in Smoke Barbecue Committee is Chris Graue. Known locally
as a great grill cook, a member of the Bow Tie BBQ Team, Graue began
competing in local BBQ competitions several years ago, and saw it as
an event that could be brought to Lincoln with potential for growth
limited only by the size of the downtown square.
Over the last few years, the KCBS committee has fine-tuned that
portion of the weekend, trying things that would bring local folks
into the competitions and also attract top notch competitors who
regularly participated in Kansas City BBQ sanctioned events. The
blend of professional and amateur competitions has gone well, and
each year, the event has seen an outstanding turnout.
Graue notes that it takes a great deal of work and dedication by the
12-plus members of the committee, and a mix of others including the
local community, members of the former Young Professionals Network,
and many others.
For those of us living in the community, look for the excitement to
begin on Thursday evening. Downtown streets will be blocked off
around the Logan County Courthouse Square starting at 4 p.m. that
evening. The BBQ teams will begin arriving and setting up their
camps that evening in preparation for starting their cooking and
smoking early, as in the wee hours of the morning on Friday.
Cook-off competitions will begin Friday morning at 8 a.m. and
conclude at 4:45 p.m.
Grills and smokers will be fired up for the KCBS competitions -
Backyard BBQ, and the Steak Cook-off. Work at the various competitor
sites will be open to the public, so festival goers can begin making
the rounds early observing the cooking and visiting with the
At 4:30 on Friday evening there will be a ribbon cut to kick-off the
festival followed by a Cooks Dinner at the BBQ event tent on
Kickapoo Street. The cooks dinner is not open to the public, but is
rather an opportunity for all the competitors to enjoy a meal
catered by Guzzardos’ and just relax among friends before the heavy
duty competitions begin.
The Steak Cook-off will then take place beginning with the
participant's meeting at 5:45 p.m. Competitors will then head off to
their grills to prepare their steaks. Turn in time for the steak
cook-off will be a 15 minute span between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
The cooked steaks will be submitted to judges set up inside the Life
Pointe Church at the corner of Pekin and McLean Streets. Like all
the other judging events, this will be a blind judging with each
steak receiving an entry number and a container. Steaks will be
delivered to a check-in point outside the building and the container
will then be taken in and set before the judges.
This competition is open to everyone, so as Graue said, if everyone
tells you make a pretty good steak, now is your chance to put it up
against your friends and neighbors and see what the experts think.
Winners of the steak cook-off will be announced on Saturday evening
along with all the other awards.
The steak cook-off is sponsored by the Lincoln McDonalds Millan/Petro
At 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, there will be a cooks meeting at Life
Pointe Church, then at 9:22 a.m. there will be a Blessing of the
Teams event at the event tent on Kickapoo Street.
Once again this year there will be a backyard BBQ competition. As in
the past, this is a competition for those who are not yet ready to
compete against the big boys. It also offers those who dream of
being a KCBS competitor a chance to get a feel for what that
competition is like. The Backyard BBQ is governed by the very same
rules as the KCBS, and again the judging will be blind, with winners
announced on Saturday evening.
Graue said he likes this competition because it encourages local
participation. Anyone can enter, so for all those great grillers out
there, load up your grill and come on downtown and join in the fun.
Competitor check in for the Backyard competition is Friday night
between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the 200 block of South Kickapoo Street,
where the competition will take place on Saturday. There will be a
second check in on Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m.
The Backyard competition will include chicken and ribs with turn in
times starting at 2 p.m. for chicken and 2:30 p.m. for ribs.
There will also be a People’s Choice Rib only competition at the
Backyard event. Those attending, may visit each of the competitor’s
and get a tasting sample of their product. After tasting the various
ribs, the public can then vote on their favorite. This event will be
one hour only, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Backyard competition is sponsored by Royal Oak Charcoal and Life
The Kids “Q” will take place on Saturday starting with a noon check
in at the BBQ event tent on Kickapoo Street, followed by a cook’s
meeting at 12:45 p.m. and cooking to begin at 1:45 p.m.
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Sponsored by Woods & Bates,
Royal Oak Charcoal, and the Lincoln D.A.R.E., Kid's Q is open to all
kids between the ages of seven and 15. There will be two classes
based on age with 7 to 11-year-olds making up one class and 12 to
15-year-olds competing in the second class.
Kids who participate will receive one
pound of hamburger to prepare as they see fit. They will have one
hour to make their dish and turn it into the judges.
This is a great and fun event that gives a lot to the kids. Each
participant will be assigned a grill that they may keep after the
event. Charcoal will be provided by Royal Oak Charcoal. Kids are to
bring seasonings, condiments, and garnishes with them. Parents are
encouraged to consult with their kids before hand, and help them
decide on what they will make from their hamburger and how they will
present. However, once the cooking begins – it is hands off mom and
dad! Let the kids do their thing in their own special way.
Turn in time for the prepared hamburger will be at 2:45 p.m. at the
Life Pointe Church. Winners will be announced at the 5 p.m. awards
ceremony. First place winners in each age group will receive a $100
cash prize and a trophy. (And don’t forget, kids get to keep the
grill they use).
Graue said there is still room for competitors in this event. The
competition is limited to 10 teams in each age group. Kids can sign
up as a single competitor or as a team of two.
Anyone who has questions about the competition can email Verdeen
Ingram at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To review the rules of the competition –
To enter online –
The KCBS competition will begin early on Saturday morning.
After the Cooks Blessing on Saturday morning, the KCBS judges will
begin arriving at 9:45 a.m. Judges will check in and register at
Life Pointe Church, then will attend a judges meeting at 10:30 a.m.
Cooking will have already begun, and turn in times for the KCBS
competitors will begin at noon with the KCBS chicken. Ribs will be
turned in at 12:30 p.m. followed by pork at 1 p.m. and brisket at
The hours before turn in time will be a great opportunity for the
visitors to walk about and view the process. Some of the competitors
may have time to say hello then, but some may be very busy getting
their dishes ready to present to the judges.
After the turn in times have passed, competitors will be able to
relax and will have more time to visit with those who stop by their
tents or camp sites.
Bring your lawn chairs and choose a good spot on the Logan County
Courthouse lawn for the presentation of awards that will take place
starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday evening.
The ceremony will be hosted by Jack Graue and Cameron Kurtz. Awards
will be given out for first, second and third place finishers in all
the competitions with opportunities for photos to be taken. Other
awards will also be given out at a little faster pace. Graue said
that the committee has fine-tuned the awards ceremony so that it
will last around 30 minutes, then visitors and competitors can move
on to some of the other great attractions that are included in the
Saturday night line-up.
Graue said that putting on this festival each year is a huge
undertaking that involves a lot of people. He noted that there are
12 to 15 members on the Pigs Committee, plus there are those who are
involved in planning the “Swigs” side of the event. He noted that
this year the Oasis is coming back to Scully Park with a one day
Flea Market on Saturday. The Humane Society of Logan County is
involved this year helping to organize and oversee the new Dock Dogs
event, there are food vendors, live entertainment, shopping
opportunities, and much more.
All in all, while the “Pigs” may have started this festival, and for
some are the stars of the show, there are many components that will
be attractive to the public and will draw in crowds from out of
There will also be some fun and surprising additions to the weekend,
including ‘pop-up entertainment’ sponsored by Joan Graue. Be sure to
read more about that in the story about live entertainment offerings
throughout the two-day event.
In addition, there are some sidebar activities going on Saturday. Be
sure to read the stories about these great offerings. While these
are things that are not officially part of the Pigs & Swigs
Festival, Graue said it was great to see the community taking
advantage of a big weekend in Lincoln to offer additional
Read about all of these components and more in additional articles
published by Lincoln Daily News.