LENEXA, Kan. — The 38th annual Great Lenexa BBQ Battle is now underway.
Although storms have threatened to wash out the fun, competitors actually call the wet weather a treat.
“We just love to cook. We love to be around the fire. We love the smell of the smoke. We love the meat. And you know, we’re pretty good at it,” said Raul Morffi, with KC Meat Sweats.
Since 1982, the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle has welcomed everything from pro teams to backyard grill masters, to go head-to-head on the best brisket, pork, ribs, chicken and more.
“You do it because you love it. I don’t come out here to win. I come out here to have fun and spend time with the family,” said Rick Stofer with Smokin’ Budha with the Fat Daddies.
On Friday afternoon, teams were focused on prepping their meats with special touches like marinades, dry rubs, injections and sauces.
“They make a little bit of difference, but I think the most important thing is how you execute that cook and get it just the right tenderness,” Morffi said.
Morffi said while many teams will smoke meat all night, his group’s prize-winning ribs go on hat and fast in vertical smokers.
“It’s a clean bite,” he said.
This year, barbecue teams face an added challenge beyond the perfect meats. Rain has left behind a muddy mess at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park where the BBQ Battle is held.
But competitors don’t seem to mind. Around hot grills and smokers, they prefer cool rain over 100 degrees with humidity any day.
“Well you know we’ve got a nice tent and canopy here. We’ve been through some rain and wind before, and we handle it alright,” Morffi said.
It’s the atmosphere of this contest that keeps families and teams coming back year after year.
“It’s a lot of fun. Our family and our friends come out and everybody loves coming to eat the barbecue,” Morffi said.
If you would like to attend, admission Friday night is just $5. Kids under 12 are free. The event is free for everyone Saturday, and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You just might want to bring an umbrella or poncho — and definitely wear good shoes to walk through some mud.