BOZEMAN, Mont. – The annual Montana Pitmaster Classic BBQ Cooking Contest will be held in Kenyon Noble on Friday and Saturday with 38 entrants from across the country.
Professional and amateur competitors come to compete for the Montana State Barbecue Championship in the chicken, ribs, pork and brisket categories. The top scorer in all categories will become the Tournament Grandmaster and State Champion, making them eligible for the Kansas City Royal, one of the biggest barbecue competitions in the world.
Friday, from 5-8 p.m., attendees will cook and sell their food to the public, with a large portion of the proceeds going to Gallatin Valley YMCA.
Kenyon Noble’s assistant manager, Troy Heusel, says they enjoy helping children in the community.
“It just means a lot to us to help kids in the community get what they need,” Heusel said.
Not only will the YMCA receive support, but a new charity reality competition barbecue cooking show called “BBQ Heroes” will film a pilot before the competition. BBQ Heroes will feature two charity contestants in Bozeman and have them cook at the Montana Pitmaster Classic. The winner will receive $5,000 and runner-up will receive $2,500 for their respective charities. They chose Heroes & Horses and Eagle Mount to face each other this year.
The official competition takes place on Saturday where contestants will prepare for hours trying to wow the judges with their meats. There will be winners for each individual meat and an overall winner to be announced at 4:30 p.m. Teams traveled from Arkansas, California, Arizona, Texas and even Canada. Heusel says cooking for competitions is different because with just a small sample you have to pack a lot of flavor. There will be over 40 judges who are all certified by the Kansas City Barbecue Society because it is their sanctioned competition.
Montana does a great job of supporting non-profit organizations and it doesn’t hurt to have a great barbecue while you’re there.
“We love doing this event. It’s for the community and I love it because it involves people in the barbecue,” said Troy Heusel.