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American Royal barbecue winners awarded chance to market product in stores

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Winners at the ongoing American Royal World Series of Barbeque can win more than bragging rights. Makers of various meat-related rubs have a chance to see their condiment recipes marketed in stores.

It's a big opportunity for pitmasters on the rise. The 2014 American Royal has drawn a record 560 competitive cooks to these grounds outside Kemper Arena. Leaders of the competition have a new partnership with a metro spice company that could take winners' rub recipes from the smokers to store shelves.

Standing over a smoker isn't hard work for Scott Henricks. For this Olathe-based pitmaster -- it's a passion.

“This week of barbecue? There's nothing like it,” Henricks said.

Last year, Henricks' team -- known as 'Serious Que' -- finished in the top 50 for pork. That's a point of pride for Henricks, and the meat rub is one of his keys to winning.

“Without it, you're just getting protein and smoke,” he said. “The rub is what brings out that barbecue flavor that everyone thinks about.”

And he's exactly the competitor Overland Park's Old World Spice and Seasonings is searching for. The American Royal has a new partnership from which the best competitors will have a chance to market their meat rubs in stores.

This is the style that we're going to have for the American Royal rubs.

Amy Jungk with Old World Spices says her company will foot the bill for packaging and marketing the winning rubs for a full year. The special bags will feature the American Royal logo -- and tell the tale of the team that created the taste.

“We will select one winner from each category,” Jungk said. It won't necessarily be the top winner. Sometimes, the top winner already has their own product out. We're looking for someone who's anxious to get out there and has a good product.

And if the product sells once it hits stores -- Jungk says the company will keep selling it -- and help the pitmaster get started in business.

Meanwhile, Kim Palmer with the American Royal says the competition will take home a portion of proceeds -- royalties from the use of its logo.

“With so many teams from across the United States, the little guys are here,” Palmer said. “This is a chance for them to get their starts. We're going to be teaming with Old World and hopeful to get the best start.

“To come out here and compete and potentially have your own rub bottled and sold, it's huge,” Henricks said. “Nowhere else will you find an opportunity like this.”