Best Dam BBQ a smoking good time

Boulder city was the place to be for fans of slow smoked meats and family fun as the 12 annual Best Dam BBQ Challenge took over Bicentennial Park on Saturday.

Dozens of barbecue teams from all over the Southwest spent Friday night slow cooking pork, beef and chicken, many for more than twelve hours, in preparation for the weekend’s Kansas City barbecue Society sanctioned state championship competition.

By Saturday afternoon the smell of charred hardwood and perfectly tender meats could be detected all throughout downtown Boulder City.

Barbecue teams like Butts &Racks and Grillbillies competed in as many as four categories, submitting samples of chicken, brisket, pulled pork and ribs for the judges’ consideration.

“We grew up on great barbecue,” said Kansas City native Erik Drake, of Grillbillies, “But it took us moving to the desert to start smoking our own meats and forming a team.”

The big winner of the weekend was the team from Big Poppa Smokers, from Palm Springs, California, who brought home first place trophies for their pulled pork and brisket. They also secured the day’s biggest prize when they were named the Grand Champion after achieving the highest composite score for their four entries, an honor that comes with an automatic entry to the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational, also known as “The Jack.”

The day’s highlights included the police vs. fire department rib-eating contest, with the firefighters winning the day, and the “KidsQue” barbecue competition. Madison Millar took home first place in the 6- to 12-year-old division and Melissa Wrighthouse was named champion in the group of 13- to 18-year-olds.

Attendees rolled in from all over Southern Nevada and the American Southwest to try samples of the best Kansas City style barbecue this side of Missouri.

The festival also included plenty of diversions beyond the meat.

The Best Dam Car Show featured smoking hot rods and antique autos from across the last century. Vendors sold artisan sauces and hand mixed spices and there was a whole section of activities for children.

Contact reporter Hunter Terry at or call 702-586-6711. Follow him on Twitter @HunterBCReview

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