Frisco BBQ Challenge: Promising good eats, fun in the sun |

Frisco BBQ Challenge: Promising good eats, fun in the sun

As the smell of barbecue wafts throughout town, let it be known – Frisco’s 17th annual Colorado BBQ Challenge is back, with ribs, shrimp and everything in between. The annual eat-it-all event will run today through Saturday, with hopes to attract up to 32,000 visitors to Frisco’s Main Street.

And with 68 barbecue teams competing, along with 85 vendors serving everything from funnel cakes and cotton candy to beer and wine, there’s something yummy for every sensibility.

“There will be the kids’ games as always,” said Frisco’s event organizer Suzanne Lifgren. “And there will be a mechanical bull, because everybody needs that. This year there will be four chef demos, seven musical acts and pig races. It even has pig swimming.”

Stranahan’s Whiskey Rub It, Smoke It, Sip It BBQ Tour is also planned for tonight – it will be helmed by Stranahan’s head distiller, and it’s limited to 20 people. Participants must register in advance to hop from grill to grill while sipping Colorado’s fine whiskey.

Doug Long, Team Stranahan’s BBQ chef, said the vendor will also enter into the BBQ Challenge, but “our meat is only going to the judges.”

“It’s our first time out, so we wanted to get one of these under our belts to see how it will go,” Long said.

Lifgren said another highlight at Frisco’s BBQ Challenge is The Big Mike’s No. 1 People’s Choice sauce tent put on by U.S. Foods. The tent honors the memory of Big Mike and his barbecue prowess. He was a longtime Frisco BBQ Challenge winner.

“You can try up to 25 different sauces and vote,” she said. “The winner takes home $500.”

As a Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned event, Frisco’s competition has strict guidelines, and judging will take place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then, the winner will earn entry into what’s considered to be the World Cup of barbecue – The Royal in Kansas City.

According to Golden Toad Competition and Catering founder Todd Jilbert, his booth is returning for its sixth year because of the “fun” event atmosphere.

“We keep on growing and growing, and we have a good time,” he said. “We enjoy the livin’ daylights out of it.”

Jilbert also noted that he’ll compete in all four meat categories this year.

“We started with one grill, just to promote our rubs and sauces,” Jilbert said. “Then we decided to grill up shrimp bombs and they just took off. Now we have six grills behind the booth and a smoker.”

Kansas-based 4 Legs Up BBQ is also returning to Frisco this weekend, as the reining champion.

“We won Frisco’s and Dillon’s challenges in 2009,” said 4 Legs Up BBQ founder Kelly Wertz. “We won overall, and we’re the only team that won both in the same year.”

Wertz said he’ll bring his specialties – both ribs and sausage – and he expects to be out of ribs by tonight.

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