On this episode of “Hot Off The Press,” Chef Pete brings you all the action hot off the grill from Lynchburg, Tennessee, host of the 29th Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue and home to the famous Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Sixty-seven championship teams from the U.S. and 23 international teams from countries including Austria, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland, competed in the invitation-only cook-off for the coveted Grand Champion title.
“The Jack” kicked off Friday evening with a VIP party on “BBQ Hill” featuring live music from Nashville recording country artist and X-Factor Top 8 Finalist, Skyelor Anderson. “Big Jim” Stancil of Bareknuckles BBQ in Oxford, Georgia, served up tacos made with delicious American Wagyu Outside Skirt Steak from Snake River Farms in Idaho, while guests also enjoyed a Southern-style buffet of fried chicken and "fixins" catered by the folks at Jack Daniel’s.
Some of the top pitmasters and personalities in the barbecue circuit, a host of celebrity judges, and Tennessee Whiskey royalty were in attendance, including the legendary Frank Bobo—5th Master Distiller who oversaw the historic rise of the Old No. 7 Brand during the 1970s and most of the 1980s—and current Jack Daniel’s Master Distillers Jeff Arnett and Chris Fletcher. Pete caught up with Stretch Rumaner of “Grinders," three-time barbecue world champion Tuffy Stone, and “The Jack” emcee Chip Chapman.
Saturday festivities began with the longstanding tradition of the apron signing by “The Jack” judges prior to the competition. Each team competed in seven categories – pork ribs, pork shoulder/butts, beef brisket, chicken, dessert, cook’s choice, and Jack Daniel’s sauce.
Rocky Top Barbecue of Jonesborough, Tennessee, claimed the top spot and a $10,000 cash prize. The American Dream BBQ Team from Tecumseh, Oklahoma, was named the Reserve Grand Champion, taking home the second-place cash prize of $2,500. Other teams rounding out the top 10 are:
3. Smokin’ Hoggz BBQ (Abington, MA)
4. Parrothead Smokers (Dakota Dunes, SD)
5. Gettin’ Basted (Springfield, MO)
6. Lucky’s Q (Waverly, IA)
7. R Butts R Smokin (Liberty, MO)
8. Drilling & Grilling BBQ Team (Glenn Rock, PA)
9. Shake ‘N Bake BBQ (New Haven, MO)
10. Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q (Decatur, AL)
“Hot Off The Press” podcast debuted at “The Jack” in 2015 so it’s a favorite of the HotP team. Can’t wait to be back next year!