Smoking in the Foothills BBQ Festival and Competition

barbecue competition

BBQ is one seriously delectable pastime from coast to coast in the United States. Over the years the culinary tradition has migrated to places where folks were not reared on the saucy, finger-licking fare.  But for those of us who have roots in the mountain towns of North Carolina, we have adored this savory dish so far back we cannot remember. 

No wonder Steven Raichlen wrote “The Barbecue Bible” ( a best-seller), and gave a lecture at the Library of Congress, “Barbecue:  A History of the World’s Oldest Culinary Art.”  These days folks who live in NC mountain communities don’t just have dog-eared copies of our grandmother’s cherished BBQ sauce, we have recipes that have come from food programs and competitions, like the popular Smoking in the Foothills BBQ Festival & Competition in Lenoir, NC on October 19th and 20th, 2018.

This yearly event “combines the fun of a family-friendly festival with the excitement of a sanctioned barbecue competition!” for those of you who want to turn up the heat.  There’s so much more than sharing amazing and mouth-watering BBQ with your friends, family and neighbors…live music, poker run, corn hole, a wood-crafter’s showcase, kids’ activities, raffles, competitions and more will keep you more than happy during these gorgeous fall days.

The Festival Schedule at a Glance:

Friday, October 19, 2018; 5 pm-10 pm

• Festival opening with Mayor Gibbons; Smokey Barrel Beer & Beverage Garden; Cash Cow 50/50 Raffle; Kids’ Que Competition; Playful Piglet Kids’ Area opening; live music; Cook Team BBQ People’s Choice–Wings

Saturday, October 20, 2018; 10 am-10 pm

  10 am—Poker Run Registration

• 10:30 am—Poker Run

• 11 am—Smokey Barrel Beer & Beverage Garden Opens

• 11:30 am—Cook Team BBQ People’s Choice—Pork!

• 12-1:30 pm—Turn-ins for BBQ Competition

• 3 pm—Registration for Fling the Wing Corn Hole Tournament

• 4 pm—Fling the Wing Corn Hole Tournament

• 5 pm—KCBS Competition Awards Ceremony on the Downtown Stage

• 7 pm—Live Music; FracXured

• 8 pm—Cash Cow Winner Announced

• 10 pm—Festival Closing

Festival Music Line-Up

• Friday, October 19, 5-7 pm; Andrew Massey & the Midnight Americans

• Friday, October 19, 7-10 pm; Jim Quick & Coastline

• Saturday, October 20, 10-11 am; Terry Edwards

• Saturday, October 20, 11 am-1 pm; The Classics

• Saturday, October 20, 1-3 pm; Rooted

• Saturday, October 20, 3-5 pm; Chad Triplett & Two Lane Blacktop

• Saturday, October 20, 7-9 pm; FracXured

Fourth Annual Foothills Corn hole Tournament

• Saturday, October 20, 4 pm at the parking across from 1841 Café; $25 fee per team with cash pay outs.   50% of proceeds benefit local charity, and the remainder goes to first through fourth place winners.

Workshops; learn how to smoke, grill and carve meats like a pro, learn about new technology, or tour local furniture factories—it’s all there for residents and visitors in the mountain towns of North Carolina.

• Friday, October 19

   Where There Is Smoke, There’s Flavor!  A Smoking How-to Workshop

   Slice It Right—The butcher does it better!  A How-to Workshop on carving meats

   Seared and Sizzled—Our Lenoir Fire Fighters share their grilling secrets & fire safety tips

• Saturday, October 20; Workshop on new tech driving the furniture industry

   Furniture Factory Tours and Hayride

And of course it wouldn’t be the tradition festival for the NC mountain communities without the Professional BBQ Competition—a State Championship event sanctioned by Kansas City Barbecue Society.  Four categories include scrumptious—chicken, pork ribs, pork and beef brisket.  Come and win the $15,000 prize and be surrounded by KCBS judges and professional cook teams from across the country.

Professional BBQ Competition Schedule:

Friday, October 19

8 am–Cook Team Check In

10 am-4 pm—Meat Inspection

1 pm—Cook Team Lunch @ the Distillery

4 pm—Cook Team Meeting @ the Distillery

7 pm—Private Cook Team Social @ the Distillery

Saturday, October 20

7:30 am—Private Cook Team Breakfast

12 pm—Turn Ins for BBQ Competition

12:30 pm—Pork Rib Category

1 pm—Pork Category

1:30 pm—Brisket Category

5 pm—Awards Ceremony; Corn hole Winners Announced; 10-First Place Announced; Reserve Grand Champion Announced; Grand Champion Announced.

Contact Information:  Smoking In The Foothills–c/o Mike Kilby, 309 Sheldon Street, Hudson, NC; 28638; 828-310-2953, Festival Contact 828-757-4451, BBQ Competition Contact 828-310-2953

Venders are most welcome; download the application and mail in with fees as well as obtain your required permit.  Cooking spaces, ice and utilities will be provided.

For those of you lucky travelers coming to visit the mountain towns of North Carolina, the Comfort Inn in Lenoir is the host hotel for the festival and will provide you and your friends and family with a “foothills” discount.  Volunteers are also welcome!  The people who come together in the NC mountain communities are who make these festivals and events not only possible but also incredibly special.

Folks who have made The Coves Mountain River Club their home, nestled in the sweet and breath-taking Blue Ridge Mountains, live the idyllic life day after incredible day.  There’s no amount of time that will take away your gratitude when you awaken in your dream house and peer out upon the natural beauty that surrounds you—an inspiring vista no matter where you turn! 

And when the residents at The Coves venture out to the downtown of Lenoir, there’s plenty of community and goings on to fulfill their every desire.  Those who have settled blissfully into their custom home at The Coves get to enjoy the Foothills Barbecue Festival each and every year—a tradition that adds comfort and fun to all.  North Carolina has been a BBQ haven forever, with flavor and savory sauces that melt in your mouth.  Come and visit The Coves this fall, take part in the festival or simply dive into some of the most spectacular BBQ in the country.  You will find in just one tasty weekend why this is the place you should next call home.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

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