BBQ fans should head to Sonoma County in two weeks for the Wine Country Big Q on Saturday July 12. Come savor outstanding ribs, tri-tip, chicken wings and more chased down with premium wine or beer. Big Q, Sonoma County’s premiere BBQ fest, is a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) nationally sanctioned competition with over 50 of the best Pit Masters and other food purveyors happily offering up samples.
There’s a Public Tasting between 1:00 and 5:00 pm that day at Sonoma Mountain Village (1300 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park) where you can enjoy samples and then cast your votes to help determine the People’s Choice Awards. Bring your friends and family to sample authentic barbecued meats, bean-based side dishes, desserts made with bacon, world class wines, thirst-quenching ciders, and award-winning brews. Whether your personal tastes run towards sweet, savory, or spicy BBQ, you’re sure to find your style here.
Entertainment at the 2014 Wine Country Big Q will be provided by Aquanett (a 1980’s Hair Metal Band) and Purple Haze (a Tribute to Jimi Hendrix). The temperature should be in the low 80s so even the weather is encouraging you to go and if you have kids, bring ‘em along. Youth tickets (ages 12 and under) are also available at reduced prices.
Admission to the Wine Country Big Q Public Tasting is $45 for adults and $20 for youths. Adult tickets provide samplings of over a pound of mouthwatering BBQ plus beans, bacon desserts, wine, beer, cider and more. Youth tickets offer a smaller sampling of the food and non-alcoholic beverages. Tickets can be purchased in advance by going here, up until noon on July 12. Additional tasting tickets will also be sold at the event for $2 each if you’re still hungry (or thirsty).
Wine Country Big Q – The “Wine Country” Hook
Here’s the Wine Country twist to a typical KCBS competition – the Big Q will have a “Winery Big Beef Challenge” where winery and vineyard chefs go fork to fork competing for a coveted People’s Choice award for the best tri-tip, paired with wines made from grapes they farm or own. Defending Champion Vino Farms is returning this year, and some of the wineries battling it out with them will be Brutocao Cellars, Flora Springs, Hook & Ladder Winery, Manzanita Creek Winery, Mazzocco Winery, Michel-Schlumberger, Pasos Vineyards, Robert Young Estate Winery and Seghesio Family Vineyards.
Wine Country Big Q – The 2014 Competitions
There will be plenty of battles at the Wine Country Big Q on July 12. The major KCBS Barbecue Meat Challenges will judge entries in the Chicken, Pork, Pork Ribs, Beef Brisket and “Mystery Meat” categories. Other competitions going on that day which you can help select the winners for are:
- Bold Bean Challenge (Perfect side dish to accompany great barbecue, where the beans may or may not be prepared on the grill themselves)
- Bakin’ for Bacon Dessert Challenge (Dessert competition where bacon must be used in the recipe)
- Tailgater Team Challenge (The ultimate Chicken Wing competition)
- Get Sauced Challenge (Winners will be named in three categories: Tomato-Based, Lagunitas Beer-based, and “Other” such as mustard, vinegar, etc.)
If that’s not enough variety for you, there will also be a special category this year – a Boneless Leg of Lamb competition sponsored by the American Lamb Board.
Cash prizes and awards will be given out in multiple categories at the Wine Country Big Q, including the ultimate selections of an Overall Grand Champion and a Reserve Grand Champion based on the KCBS Challenges results. Of course, good old fashioned bragging rights are at stake as well.
Wine Country Big Q – The 2013 Winners
Here are some of the major winners from the 2013 Wine Country Big Q; hopefully some of them will make a return trip for 2014:
- Overall Grand Champion – The Pit Crew BBQ (Anaheim Hills, CA)
- Reserve Grand Champion – I.A.B 30 (Gilbert, AZ)
- Chicken – My Smokin’ Grillfriend (Bakersfield, CA)
- Pork – The Pit Crew BBQ (Anaheim Hills, CA)
- Pork Ribs – Knock UR Sox Off BBQ (Fontana, CA)
- Beef Brisket – ZZYZX BBQ (Claremont, CA)
Last year’s special category competition of Top Sirloin was won by Smokey Luv BBQ (from Novato, CA) and People’s Choice Winners included Frozen Art Gourmet Ice Cream from Santa Rosa, CA, for their Maple Bacon Ice Cream. Sonoma County is a mecca of great food and world-class wine, and next Saturday you can help increase its visibility and influence as a destination for great barbecue. Once again, you can find additional details on the event and make ticket purchases for the Wine Country Big Q by going here.
THE KANSAS CITY BARBEQUE SOCIETY (KCBS), a nonprofit organization, is the world’s largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts with over 15,000 members worldwide. KCBS sanctions over 400 barbeque contests coast-to-coast throughout America and offers educational programs, consultation services, and civic organization presentations to help promote barbeque as America’s Favorite Cuisine. For more information about the Society, membership benefits, and/or future BBQ competitions, please go here.