‘Smoke Under the Oaks’ will bring professional BBQ contest here

Published 7:31 am Friday, June 28, 2013

Residents near the Bainbridge County Club might just find their mouths watering a bit, in early August.

That’s because the country club will be hosting its first “Smoke Under the Oaks” barbecue festival, which will bring together some of the best barbecue cooks from around the South. The festival is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 9, and Saturday, Aug. 10, and it is designed to help raise funds for the Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society.

Rob McRae, one of the event’s organizers, said that the event has already drawn the support of the Florida BBQ Association and several professional barbecue teams have already said they will participate.

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“The word is definitely spreading and the excitement is building,” he said. “I think that the country club will be a great venue for an event like this, and we’re hoping to see anywhere between 30 and 50 teams.”

The Saturday, Aug. 10, barbecue cooking contest will be split into two different divisions — the professional division and the “Backyard” division. The Backyard division is open to any non-professional cook, and McRae said organizers are hoping that lots of locals participate.

The winner of the Backyard division will get a $100 gift card from Jones Meats and a “Big Green Egg” grill from Stone’s Home Centers. The first-place winners in each Backyard division category will win a $200 Jones Meats gift card and the second-place winners in each category will win a $100 Jones Meats gift card.

The professional teams will compete for up to $10,000 in cash prizes. The winner will also be entered into a drawing to compete in the 2013 Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, Tenn.

Applications and rules are available at the festival’s website, at www.smokeundertheoaks.com. Those who have additional questions can also contact McRae at (706) 306-2595 or portcityBBQ@gmail.com.

The Saturday, Aug. 10, festivities will kick off with a fun run and 5K race at 8 a.m., followed by the start of live entertainment at 10 a.m. The pool and country club ballroom will be open throughout the day, McRae said. The festival’s awards will be handed out at 5 p.m.

The competition is open to the public, with a $5 parking fee per person over the age of 12. Kids 12 or younger will get in free, and all proceeds from parking will directly benefit the Humane Society.

McRae said it is likely that some professional cooks will be selling samples of their meat to the public, but even just coming out and enjoying the sights and smells is worth the time.

“We think this is a great event to benefit the community, and also bring people out to see the beautiful Bainbridge Country Club,” he said.

On Friday, Aug. 9, there will be a low-country boil for sponsors and cook teams, but a limited number of tickets may be made available for the public as well.

For additional information about the Smoke Under The Oaks, visit online at www.smokeundertheoaks.com or visit the festival’s Facebook page.