2013 Sam’s Club BBQ Tour – Knoxville, TN stop

May 30, 2013

Recently the Sam’s Club BBQ Tour rolled into Knoxville, TN and VIP Blogger Chris Grove of NibbleMeThis.com stopped by to provide an insider’s look at the tour and the contest.


Sam's Club National BBQ tour sign

The Event

The Sam’s Club BBQ Tour is tournament style set up of KCBS BBQ competitions across the country and boasting half a million dollars in prize money.  750 BBQ teams compete in regional events, hoping to move on to the regional semi-finals and ultimately, the national championships in Bentonville, AR.

For most BBQ contests, you have to check, double check, and triple check your supplies before going to the tournament site.  If you forget something, you’re out of luck.  This contest was held in the parking lot of a Sam’s Club AND a Walmart – you could walk 100 yards and get anything that you needed or forgot!


The Teams

With the Knoxville area having KCBS BBQ competitions three weeks in a row (Rocky Top last weekend, Sam’s Club this weekend, and Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass – Sevierville next weekend) it was no surprise that there were a lot of familiar faces.

House of Q at Sam's Club BBQ tour

House of Q travels in style, I could get used to this.

Lil red barn BBQ

Love this set up, don’t you?

BBQ superstore at Sam's Club BBQ tour

 Teams actually socialize much more than you’d think.  It’s not all secretive and trash talk like you might see on reality TV.

BBQ brethren sign

Always good to see the Brethren banner flying.  One of the two BBQ forums that I follow.

uncultured wine at Sam's Club BBQ tour

Kelly and the Uncultured Swine team didn’t have their Eggs with them but still did “okay” ;)


The Cookers

A wide variety of cookers invaded the Sam’s Club parking lot, from back yard grills to high dollar rigs with all of the frills.

backyard offset and bullet smoker

A backyard offset and a bullet smoker, I always pull for these teams.

weber smoky mountain and insulated cooker

 Two Weber Smoky Mountains and an insulated cooker.

Rub Me Tender BBQ's custom cooker

Team Rub Me Tender’s custom made rig was pretty sweet.

blue BBQ stumps

A nice pair of Stumps, Larry Doolittle would approve.

Government Pork's pink cooker

Government Pork’s cooker is pink in support of fighting against breast cancer.

Retired and Rubbin' It's pitmaker

The Retired and Rubbin’ It team used a sweet Pitmaker.  George makes nice rigs.

Pappy Q with Jambo cooker

Pappy Q from “Nonesuch, KY” used a stylish Jambo enclosed smoker.

Yoder Smoker in Sam's Club BBQ tour

Troy Black’s Yoder Smoker had just the right color trim for Big Orange Country (aka Knoxville).


The Weather

Different BBQ contest, same song.  Storms decided to show up just in time for turn ins.  Thanks, Mother Nature, NO Q FOR YOU!

rain on window

I sought shelter in my car at one point.  This was 5 minutes before brisket turn in.

Sweet Smoke BBQ with green egg cookers

Sweet Smoke BBQ clears the accumulated water from the canopy.  Know why?

rain on RV tent

Because too much water can cause this….

kids playing in rain puddles

Not everyone hated the rain, these three kids were having fun splashing in puddles.


The Entertainment

Because each of the Sam’s Club BBQ Tour stops are held at a Club, I think these contests get a lot of “walk up” visitors that had no intention of going to a BBQ contest.   The Tour accommodates them with a few interactive events.

The KC Masterpiece Food Truck was there serving up free samples of Chicken Sliders with Spicy Pickles.

KC Masterpiece at Sam's Club BBQ tour

KC Masterpiece Food Truck Jason

Jason from the KC Masterpiece Food Truck discusses grilling with visitors.

people outside KC Masterpiece food truck

Even the bad weather didn’t keep the crowds away.


Author, competitive BBQ champ, and Tour Director, Troy Black was interacting with visitors, signing copies of his new book All Fired Up, and then gave the public a presentation on how they can make great BBQ in their own back yards.

Troy Black St. Louis spare ribs

Troy demonstrating how to do St Louis style spare ribs.



The Competition

With a shot at moving on to the Regional Semi-Final, there seemed to be an extra bit of competitive intensity.  I saw a team take a bold chance and serve sliced breasts from whole smoked birds for their chicken turn in.

This won’t surprise BBQ competitors, but the two teams that scored a perfect 180 in a category last week (one in chicken and one in brisket) last week didn’t even get a top 10 call in those categories this week.  BBQ comp success is a fickle beast.

Droopy Drawers BBQ chicken

Team Droopy Drawers finishing their chicken turn in.

Rocky Top BBQ competition

Rocky Top BBQ

Poppa Rock BBQ chicken

Poppa Rock’s “team” was a one man show but he still got a 9th in chicken. 

Algood BBQ BBQ chicken

Algood BBQ (not a play on words, they are from Algood, TN) and their first place chicken.

Molloy's BBQ with ribs

Molloy’s BBQ agonized over which ribs to turn in.  Turns out they picked right.

BBQ team laughing

You can tell it’s last turn in….everyone is laughing and relaxed.

Sam's Club BBQ tour judge

Judging isn’t just fun and games, it’s a serious duty.


The Results

In every contest someone has to finish DAL (Dead *** Last).   I don’t feel sorry for them, you know why?  Because they STILL outscored all of the people who have thought about entering a BBQ contest but have been too lazy, scared, or just full of hot air to try it.  Congrats to ALL of the teams.  (Official full results)



The Algood Bar-B-Q Pit Crew

JoBeaz Blazin’ Butts and Wings

Pappy Q


1. Molloy’s BBQ

2. Rocky Top Barbecue

3. Moonswiners


1. Government Pork

2. Firehouse Smokers

3. Swiggin’ Pig


1. Uncultured Swine

2. Rooter Tooter BBQ

3. Ash Kickers BBQ


The top 6 teams in the General Classification qualify to move on to the Regional Semi-Final

6.  Warren County Pork Choppers

5.  JoBeaz Blazin’ Butts and Wings

4.  Ash Kickers BBQ

3.  Moonswiners


Reserve Grand Champion – Uncultured Swine

uncultured swine team BBQ competition


Grand Champion – Rocky Top Barbecue

Rocky Top BBQ Grand Champion

If the Sam’s Club BBQ Tour is coming to a stop near you this year, I recommend checking it out.  You can find the full schedule here.


Source: NibbleMeThis.com









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