It’s that time of year when I start thinking about whether I’ll get lucky, once again, and find an invitation in my mail informing me of my selection to be one of only 80 or so Certified BBQ Judges from the U.S. and around the world to head down to Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 and the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Championship. The Jack, as it is called, is one of the big three BBQ competitions in the world, the other two being the American Royal in Kansas City and Memphis in May, and it’s, in my mind at least, the most highly regarded competition of the three due to the fact that all of the competitors had to have won a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) official state championship contest, or a national contest in the case of the international teams.
So, what you have, therefore, is a competition where you have nothing but the best in the game, the best of the best, competing not only for the $10,000 prize money, but more importantly, for the bragging rights that go along with being crowned “ Grand Champion of The Jack”. It’s a contest that is always packed with avid barbecue fans and personalities from all over and the people at Jack Daniel’s really know how to throw a party in “The Hollow”, I can assure you! So, you can imagine my excitement and glee when I opened an E-mail from the judges’ selection committee informing that I had once again been invited to head on down and judge this year’s 26th Championship!
It’s kinda hard to describe, but I can say it gives you a tingly feeling knowing that you’re going to be around a great bunch of BBQ fanatics and also getting to eat, and judge, some of the finest barbecue a person can put in his or her mouth; I mean to tell ya, it’s amazing! So I hope y’all get lucky at some point and get the chance to judge The Jack, or, the Royal and MIM, for that matter; until you do, you’ll just have to let me describe the experience for you, which I’ll always be tickled to do for y’all. I’ll be taking a bunch of pictures this year and will keep you posted in future chats; ‘til then, remember to keep it low and slow!
Yours in smoke,