Fifty of Colorado’s best barbecue artists are preparing to fire up their grills in downtown Parker.
The smell of freshly cooked meat will hover over the fifth annual Smokin’ Brew BBQ in the Parker Station parking lot Aug. 30-Sept. 1. The Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event could bring more than 20,000 people to the area for a taste of summer, and the master grillers are ready for the hungry crowds.
Competitors are judged in different categories and awarded for best sauces, seasonings and meats. They’re contending for $8,500 in prize money, trophies and titles. But it’s truly the patrons who win during the Smokin’ Brew, which was founded by the Cherry Creek Valley Rotary Club of Parker.
John Diak, a member of the club and a Parker town councilman, says the family-oriented event has something for everyone. Aside from the delicious barbecue and wide assortment of side dishes, there is a lineup of live music culminating with headlining band the Groove Hawgs.
Cow Pie Bingo, a fundraiser that was introduced last year, will be back by popular demand. A 50-foot-by-40-foot grid is painted on the ground and surrounded by a fence. A cow is led onto the grid to do its “business” and the owner of the square with the majority of the cow pie will win half the amount raised in sold tickets, up to $10,000.
The main attraction, however, lies in the finely honed techniques and secret recipes concocted by the grill masters. From brisket and ribs to chicken and pulled pork, the succulent meats ensure that no one leaves with an appetite. The exhibition helps local companies, like Littleton-based Golden Toad Inc., make a name for themselves.
Golden Toad, created by entrepreneur Todd Jilbert, is participating in the Smokin’ Brew BBQ for the fourth time. It has earned the top prize in the sauce category, along with other notable top-10 finishes. Jilbert has been unable to travel the barbecue competition circuit in recent years because of the success of his seasonings and sauces, four of which are selling well at Kroger and Whole Foods in the Rocky Mountain region.
Gaining notoriety among the die-hard barbecuers is something of an accomplishment. Last year, Golden Toad’s ribs had the best showings. This year, the brisket has been placing better. The distinctions and publicity have been a catalyst for revenue, but Jilbert breaks down one of his main goals with a simple statement.
“It’s all about bragging rights,” he says. “It’s competitive.”
Hours for the event are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 30, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 31 and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 1. The event is free, but tickets must be purchased for food and drink. For more information, call 303-304-8085 or visit www.smokinbrewbbq.com.
Live music performers/times
Thomas Harvey Moore III, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday
Groove 22 Band, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday
The Tripping Griswolds, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
The Indulgers, 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday
Lewis and Floorwax-Groove Hawgs, 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday
Black Jack Canyon Band, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday
Catfish Kray Blues Band, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday