Monday, July 18, 2016

Event Recap: Giant National Capital BBQ Battle 2016

The Giant Barbecue Battle is one of the largest and most unique food and music festivals in the country with BBQ teams cooking off for their share of cash and prizes and the title of National BBQ Champion. Celebrity chefs like Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone from the BBQ Pitmasters TV show will compete smoker to smoker with Grand Champion teams like Historic BBQ from Lebanon Ohio and Pork Barrel BBQ from right here in Alexandria, Virginia. The Giant BBQ Battle features a series of competitions leading up to the main event including The National Pork BBQ Championship, the Australian Lamb Contest, the Perdue Sizzlin’ Chicken Contest, American Beef Cook-Off, Smithfield Rib Championship, and the Grand Daddy of them all, the KCBS Sanctioned Giant National BBQ Championship Contest. In addition, you’ll be the judge as former and current military chefs from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard cook off in a friendly yet highly competitive “People’s Choice” competition to see whose BBQ reigns supreme. (from the Media section of BBQ in DC)

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The festival was pretty standard as far as street fairs go. There were lots of vendors lining the streets, live music at the far end, and lots of booths giving away free stuff. April and I walked from booth to booth collecting everything would could. Most of the free giveaways were snackish type treats, like pretzel packs, cookie or candy things, chips, etc. Further down was hot food giveaways. Obviously this was a marketing deal for Giant to let people know about their wide array of products available at their stores but hey, free is free, and I needed something greasy to deal with the hangover from Friday night anyway, so I hit them all. Their wide array of products also included a wide array of quality. I tried several different kinds of burger, sausages, jerk chickens, and frozen treats all ranging from “amazing” to “what did I just put in my mouth?” The lines for everything were pretty long as well. The better part of our day was spent grabbing a snack so we had something to eat while we waiting in line for the next snack.
Next we stopped by the Barefoot vendor and tried some of their spritzers called Barefoot Refresh. I mentioned this in my last entry, but I am not a big wine drinker. These were hardly what I would call wine though. They had frizz, came in a can, and as the name implies, tasted pretty refreshing. Also the booth was a lot of fun with flower necklaces and real sand on the ground, giving it a goofy little beach vibe. They had a red and white version, both were great but I personally preferred the wine. It was a little lighter and slightly more refreshing on a hot DC Saturday.
After a while I decided that it was time to stop messing around with the small samples and get down to business. Barbecue. The reason I came here in the first place. (Well that, and April told me I was covering this event for the blog so I didn’t really have a choice.) The strangest and most disappointing part about the Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle is that the Barbecue in the Battle wasn’t actually available for purchase or sample. I came to the event later in the day on Saturday so it is possible that the barbecue was open earlier but I found none up for grabs while I was there.

Instead I settled for a barbecue sandwich from one of the many vendors selling food. I got a North Carolina Style sandwich and a Heinken light beer. I would describe the sandwich as overwhelmingly OK. When I ordered they took meat out of a bin, put it in a cup, microwaved it, and then slapped it on a sandwich and poured on the sauce. That method of service was less than satisfactory and probably affected my overall feelings toward the sandwich. The sauce was nothing special, the meat was a little dry, and the bun was your standard white bread bun. All and all, the sandwich nothing to write home (or, uh a blog) about.
In the end I wasn’t too impressed with the barbecue at this event. It was a fun way to burn a Saturday in the District but because I either missed the actual competition or wasn’t allowed to try any of the barbecue from the competition I really didn’t feel like I got what I came for. That being said, trying all the samples (and getting some to take home) was pretty cool and the music and atmosphere made for a good time. This is a great festival to check out if you want to try products from your local grocery store before committing to purchasing them but they need to work on the barbecue aspect of it. Next year
they need to have an option for people to try the competitor’s barbecue. If that happens, I will definitely be back!

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I agree with Brandon's summary of the festival. I was a little more excited about trying all the products that Giant carries then he was but he was spot on about the barbecue. On a side note, my favorite things I tried from the event were the Barefoot White Wine Refresher and the Nature's Promise Lemonade (Giant Brand)


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1 comment:

  1. This sounds like such a fun event to attend! I so wish I could have attended the Capital BBQ Battle! I was really looking forward to it, and was really sad to delay the trip because of some reasons.

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