If you love BBQ you should plan on heading to Sonoma County in two weeks for the Wine Country Big Q on Saturday, July 11. Come savor outstanding pork ribs, beef brisket, chicken wings, bean-based side dishes and more paired with premium wine, beer or cider. Then, you can wrap that all up with bacon-enhanced desserts at Big Q, 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. Use your ballots to vote for your favorite KCBS barbecue meat, Winery Challenge tri tip, Bold Bean dish, Bakin’ for Bacon dessert, BBQ sauce, and Tailgaters’ chicken wing/drumette of the afternoon. Whether your personal tastes run towards sweet, savory, or spicy BBQ, you’re sure to find your style here.
Entertainment at the 2015 Wine Country Big Q will be provided by Soul to Soul, a tribute band honoring one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of blues, Stevie Ray Vaughn (and Double Trouble). So come enjoy summer and outdoor BBQ 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, $35 for designated drivers and $20 for youths. Adult tickets provide samplings of over a pound of mouthwatering BBQ plus beans, bacon desserts, wine, beer, cider and more. Designated driver tickets include over a pound of BBQ samples and non-alcoholic beverages. 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 11. Additional tasting tickets will also be sold at the event 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 Wine Country 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 teams battling it out with them will be
- Baird’s BBQ and Kokomo Winery
- BBQ Bob & the Smokin’ Banditos and VJB Vineyards & Cellars
- Half Fast Smokin’ and Back Road Vines
- Iron Bull BBQ and Flora Springs
- Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates
- Lord of the Ribs and Comstock Wines
In addition to the above, you’ll be able to choose wines for the afternoon from Korbel Champagne Cellars, Owl Ridge Wines, Shone Farm Winery, Stryker Sonoma, Toad Hollow Vineyards and Truett Hurst Winery. Cider fans can select between Ace Cider, Crispin Cider, FoxCraft Hard Cider, Schilling Cider or Sonoma Cider. Of, if you’re just looking for some great beer to go with your BBQ, you’ll be happy to hear Lagunitas Brewing Company will be pouring at the Wine Country Big Q as well.
Wine Country Big Q – The 2015 Competitions
There will be plenty of battles at the Wine Country Big Q on July 11 and KCBS will also offer a separate ROCKY® The Free Range Chicken Cup Competition for those using ROCKY as their competition barbecue meat. Other contests going on that day which you can help select the winners for are:
- KCBS Barbecue Meat Challenge (Chicken, Pork, Pork Ribs, Beef Brisket and “Mystery Meat”)
- Bold Bean Challenge (Perfect side dish to accompany great barbecue)
- Bakin’ for Bacon Dessert Challenge (Dessert competition where bacon must be used in the recipe)
- Tailgater Team Challenge (The ultimate Chicken Wing and Drumette competition)
- Get Sauced Challenge (Winners will be named in four categories: Tomato-Based, Lagunitas Beer-based, Best with Rocky® and Other-based such as mustard, vinegar, fruit, etc.)
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 2014 Winners
- Cecil’s Smok’n BBQ (San Jose, CA) – KCBS Overall Grand Champion
- BIG B’s Down N Dirty BBQ (Pacifica, CA) – KCBS Reserve Grand Champion
- Juicy O’s (Santa Rosa, CA) – People’s Choice BBQ Team
- Vino Farms (Lodi, CA) – Winery Big Beef Challenge and Bold Bean Challenge
- KTRY The Bull 106.3 (Santa Rosa, CA) – Tailgater Challenge
- Woodhouse Barbecue (St. Helena, CA) – BBQ Sauce
Last year’s special category competition of Boneless Leg of Lamb was won by Smokey Luv BBQ (from Novato, CA) and the People’s Choice Winners also included Pinup Girl Pastries and Coffee Co. (Santa Rosa, CA) for their “Bacon Betty Cupcake.” Sonoma County is a mecca for great food and world-class wine and on July 11 you can rediscover that for yourself. Once again, you can find additional details on the event and make ticket purchases for the Wine Country Big Q by going here.
Wine Country Big Q – 2015 Charitable Efforts
The Wine Country Big Q organizers have a couple of things going on at this year’s event to benefit the local community. One beneficiary of this year’s event is Sonoma County Vet Connect, a Veterans Group based in Santa Rosa which assists fellow Veterans (and their families) in locating and accessing services they have earned during their military tenure.
In addition, KCBS is coordinating a national effort to cook and distribute more than 250,000 meals throughout America over the next year, so when you attend Wine Country Big Q you are invited to bring non-perishable food items to donate to their 250KCBS Meals Mission. The teams involved in the competition on July 11 will be donating at least 40 fully cooked pork butts (and canned foods) in support of the effort, and the Big Q organizers will work with Sonoma County Vet Connect and Redwood Gospel Mission to distribute the food to those in need.
THE KANSAS CITY BARBEQUE SOCIETY (KCBS), a nonprofit organization, is the world’s largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts with over 20,000 members worldwide. KCBS sanctions over 475 barbeque contests coast-to-coast 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.