KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A unique barbecue competition this weekend gives the winning team a shot at serving their food at the new Kansas City International Airport terminal, which opened in February.

When the new facility opened, city aviation leaders expressed a need to concentrate on hosting local vendors, especially with dining options.

At the second annual Made For KC BBQ Competition, a $25,000 check awaits the winning team in addition to license to serve inside the terminal. Forty-five teams have entered this year’s contest, hoping to add their culinary influence on the airport’s 28 food vendors.

But the winners won’t have to quit their current jobs to participate. Experienced food service professionals will work with the winning team to train current airport food service workers to prepare their offerings via a winning recipe.

“I like to say our airport looks like Kansas City, and now, it smells like Kansas City,” said Bre Via, who works with Grain Valley’s Smoke ’n Magic BBQ team.

Via’s team won this contest a year ago. Their marvelous meats have been served at the airport’s four Made For KC locations. 

“It’s such an honor to be involved in not only the new airport and terminal there, but also to be one of the first impressions people have of Kansas City’s barbecue when they come in,” Via added.

Other pitmasters agree this is a delicious opportunity for typical weekenders at BBQ competitions to become business people, making money at their craft. The contest’s winning team will also see their rubs and sauces used at the airport.

“To have the opportunity to be able to cook Kansas City-style BBQ in the new terminal? Words almost can’t describe it. It’s neat. There’s no competition like this anywhere else in the country,” said Zach Daughtry, a Smithville resident who competes with the Breaking Slabs BBQ team.

“People fly to London for tea. We want people to fly to Kansas City to eat,” said Megan Day, whose family-operated Burnt Finger BBQ from Lee’s Summit. “I want people, as a destination, to come and try the food whether it’s us or another team.”

The contest continues Friday evening at Worth Harley-Davidson on N.W. Prairie View Road. The competition should wrap up Saturday around 4 p.m. BBQ meals are available for purchase, but there’s no cost for the public to attend.