Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. It’s also the unofficial start of barbecue festival season. To prep you and your insatiable love for all things slow-cooked animal, we’ve identified some unpredictable spots to feast, drink and party this summer. Bon appétit!
Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival, June 10-11 in Tryon, NC We all know BBQ and music go well together, and so do the promoters of this fine gathering, who’ve assembled more food vendors than you could possibly visit in good conscience, along with a full complement of folk, rock and bluegrass artists for festival-goers to enjoy mid-pulled pork sandwich.
Big Apple BBQ, June 11-12 in New York City, NY The Big Apple BBQ takes place right in the middle of the city at Madison Square Park. It’s an all-day event featuring pitmasters from all over the country serving up their mouth-watering meat specialties. Add live rock n’ roll and barbecue seminars and you’ve got yourself a well-rounded day of feasting and fun.
BBQ RibFest, June 16-19 in Fort Wayne, IN Get a group of friends together, grab some cold brews and sample from a plethora of rib masters to your stomachs’ content. There’s also a RibFest 5K you could take partake in for a good cause—the speedy recovery of your cardiovascular system.
LA Smoked Meat Festival, June 24-25 in Ville Platte, LAThe Smoked Meat Festival takes classic ’cue beasts like pig, then ups the ante with distinctly South Louisiana fare like rabbit, deer and yep, even frog legs. Don’t miss the beauty pageants and local bands (like the Lost Bayou Ramblers) either.
Rock, Ribs and Ridges Festival, June 25-26 in Augusta, NJ Music legends Jefferson Starship, Kansas and Blues Traveler grace RRR fest this year, accompanying a hearty weekend of BBQ cook-offs and lip-smacking ribs from hotspots like Texas Smoke BBQ.
Waterfront Blues Fest, July 1-4 in Portland, OR This fest brings the party to the beautiful Portland waterfront for an Independence Day weekend full of live blues performances, food, fireworks, blues cruises and a special appearance by Tedeschi Trucks Band. And you can indulge fully knowing that proceeds benefit the Oregon Food Bank’s mission to eliminate hunger.
Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival, August 12-13 in Atlanta, GA This up-and-coming Southern festival serves up Texas, Carolina, Memphis, St. Louis and Kentucky-style barbecue along with live music, cooking demonstrations, a market where you can buy grilling and backyard merchandise and an invite-only car show. Sounds pretty tasty to us.
Hudson Valley Ribfest, August 19-21 in New Paltz, NY Hudson Valley Ribfest features the meaty wares of local barbecue restaurants, live music, barbecue demonstrations, a mechanical bull, a rock wall and a strip of booths with grills, tools and supplies, all for a $7 admission fee. Because who doesn’t want to ride a bull after eating a bunch of cow?
Decatur BBQ Blues & Bluegrass Festival, August 13 in Oakhurst, GA Music- and meat-lovers converge in beautiful Oakhurst, Georgia each summer to consume delicious beer, slow-cooked chopped pork sammies and all the blues and bluegrass music they can safely handle without resolving never to leave the South again.
The Annual Great Southern Tailgate Classic, Dates TBD in Amelia Island, FL Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, this festival features over 50 teams competing at Main Beach on picturesque Amelia Island. Belly on up to the VIP Pig Pub for table and bar seating, cold beer and a killer view of the main stage.
Kentucky State BBQ Festival, September 9-11 in Danville, KY Drink in the magical blue smoke and join accomplished pitmasters as they prep pork shoulder, Texas beef brisket, ribs and more. And if the pro cookbook signings and demonstrations aren’t enough, you can always check out the live music, bean eating and hog calling contests.
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, various dates and locations Beer, Bourbon & BBQ is a no-brainer for a few reasons. One: beer. Two: bourbon. Three: Yeah, you get it. This festival actually tours the nation. It has already rocked a few key spots and will be hitting North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland this summer. They say “Brew It. Taste It. Sip It. Pork It.” Don’t mind if we do…