World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest
1 Reliant Park
Houston, TX 77054
(832) 667-1000
Price: $10 Adults 13 & Over, $5 children Ages 2 to 12 years

Contest Hours: Thurs: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Fri: 12 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Sat: 9 a.m.-11 p.m.

Barbecue enthusiasts around Texas are gearing up for the 2012 World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest being held February 23 to 25, 2012. This highly anticipated contest is a great warm-up party before the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Every year BBQ lovers and foodies alike flock to Houston for the festivities.

Admission costs allow BBQ goers to enjoy a chopped beef sandwich plate served in the public tent, The Chuck Wagon. The ticket also includes admission to the KILT carnival at Reliant Park, a great place to bring the kiddos. Don’t fill yourself up in the Chuck Wagon because there are lots of great vendors who are eager to share their BBQ with you.

Judging for the BBQ contest will begin on Thursday, February 23, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and resume the following day from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. The final day of judging will be Saturday, February 25, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Winners will be announced during the 2012 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Contest goers must have an invitation to visit most of the competition cooking booths, however, food vendors are set up all over the grounds waiting to stuff BBQ lovers with great food.

During the contest, visitors can take a break from eating and enjoy live music performances at the Rockin’ BBQ Saloon. Live performances from The Black Matches, Max Stalling, Kimberly Kelly and many more will get the crowd rockin’ all day and into the night. The tent will be located at the intersection of Chuck Wagon Way and Astrodome Way and will boast dancing and DJ music as well as adult beverages on the patio in the Champion Wine Garden located adjacent to the saloon. The Rockin’ BBQ Saloon is free to the public during the competition. Artists such as Josh Abbot, Shiny Toy Guns and Charlie Robinson will be showcased along with others at the Miller Stage at the Garden. Just as there will be no shortage of beef brisket, there will be no shortage of good live music during the BBQ contest.

For those who like to plan ahead, the 2012 team map is now available, so BBQ lovers can jump online to find their favorite competitors from years past.

The 2011 winner, Craig Sharry with Texas Pepper Jelly, won excellent brisket and overall champion BBQ. The contest drew over 200,000 eaters and 400 BBQ competitors.

In addition to the actual competition there will be an array of food venders throughout Reliant Park. They too, will be competing for a prize: The Gold Buckle Foodie Award. Visitors should feel free to stop and purchase food from top competitors and winners alike. While you walk around and stuff yourself with the world’s best BBQ, don’t forget to leave room for some of the vendors who won the 2011 Gold Buckle Foodie Award:

potatoribs 2012 World Championship Bar B Que Contest Preview

(credit: Thinkstock)

Best Seafood

1st: Berryhill Baja Grill’s crispy shrimp taco
2nd: Sudie’s Catfish House’s duo of fried shrimp and oysters

Best Burger

1st: Holmes Smokehouse’s angus, bacon, cheese mushroom burger
2nd: Paradise Burger’s ½ lb bacon cheeseburger
3rd: Texas Sized Pizza by the Slice’s cheesy burger bites

Best BBQ

1st: Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ’s pork spare ribs (RCS Carnival Midway)
2nd: Ranch House Pork Barn’s pulled pork bbq sandwich
3rd: Ranch House Burger Barn’s bar-b-que pork ribs

Best Fried Food

1st: Sweet Cheeks’ deep fried moon pie (RCS Carnival Midway)
2nd: Bear Mountain Bison’s Buffalo chips with The Works
3rd: Texas Sized Pizza by the Slice’s Tornado Potato Fries smothered and covered

Favorite Food

1st: Granny’s Cheesecake & More’s chocolate dipped cheesecake
2nd: Sill’s Funnel Cake Hause’s funnel cake
3rd: Saltgrass Steakhouse’s ribs and chicken platter

Best Dessert

1st: Sills Funnel Cake House’s banana split funnel cake
2nd: Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls’ cinnamon roll with “The Works”
3rd: Cobbler Café’s pecan cobbler with soft serve vanilla ice cream

Best Gourmet

1st: DGZ Chocolates & Fudge’s Toffarazzi (toffee)
2nd: The Caramel Candy Co.’s pecan caramel
3rd: Kettle Korn of Texas’s ribeye sandwich

There is no shortage of things to enjoy while attending the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. Guests may appreciate the food, wine and fun available at every corner of the festivities. Feel free to visit the HLSR website to stay up to date on scheduling and competitor details.

Stefanie is a freelance writer living in Houston and has studied Culinary Arts for over 8 years. She is currently an active membership contributor for the Indie Food Network. She specializes in affordable recipes and cooking. Her work can be found at

Comments (3)
  1. Lance says:

    Like great BBQ? Learn how the pros do it for FREE. Tons of pictures and step by step lessons.

  2. Oyster card monthly says:

    When their creative juices aren’t currently streaming than make them choosing these. Suggest ideas, draw these road directions, give them a good Oyster card plus a time-scehdule to suit …oyster cover

  3. Vnrao says:

    Ooh, reading this post is ikmang my tummy grumble!And I just ate!Anyway, onto my favorite food…Mac and (n’?) cheese. Yum.My mom makes the best cheesy dish, too. I don’t know exactly what she puts in it, but she layers.It’s basically traditional mac and cheese from a box only it’s layered with four different types of cheese. We shred cheese over the whole dish once more, slide it in the over, and BAM. Creamy, cheesy, salty, slightly spicy (a little Tabasco sauce to give it a spicy kick!)… Oh gosh, a bite of that is a bite from heaven. Oh, and we use seashell pasta which somehow makes it taste even better! My favorite restaurant is actually a Korean restaurant. I’m mostly Korean, (also a fourth, well, white?) so we visit lots of Asian places. It’s called Seu Hyung (my English translation) and it has the BEST sweet ribs. Ever.Also the desert is fabulous. You could order the traditional sundae, but I typically ask for the mochi ice-cream. It’s mochi with a chocolate ice-cream filling, and powdered sugar on top. (in case you aren’t familiar, mochi is sticky, sweet rice cake. Sounds gross, but it really isn’t) What’s yours?Love, Hannah

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