Smokin' Showdown Pits BBQ Hot Shots Against Each Other at Hotel Congress

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Brisket or bust, BBQers. - HEATHER HOCH
  • Heather Hoch
  • Brisket or bust, BBQers.

How do you like your barbecue—dry rubbed and smoked or slathered in sweet and tangy sauce? Well, regardless of your 'cuin' preference, you're going to want to head to the inaugural Smokin' Showdown cookoff event. For the first time ever, Hotel Congress will be putting local barbecuers in head-to-head competition to try to determine who Tucson's top pitmaster is.

This year, Chillin n' Grillin BBQ, Edge Catering, Gary Ray’s Smokehouse, The Cup Cafe, Acacia and Brushfire BBQ will compete alongside the brand new Rusty Truck BBQ. Rusty Truck will be making its Tucson premier the night of the Smokin' Showdown, showcasing what we can expect from the mobile BBQ unit in the future. Although the truck has roots in Kansas, the caterer and food cart looks to bring some of that flavor right here in town by serving up smoking meats from a converted six-foot old, rusty water tank, grilled brownies and other BBQ faves like mac and cheese.  

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Inside Tucson Business contributor and On the Menu Live host Matt Russell will be judging the BBQ throwdown, alongside executive chef Daniel Perez of the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and CJ Hamm of Tucson Foodie. The team that is judged to have the best brisket in Tucson based on appearance, taste and tenderness will get bragging rights, the title of Old Pueblo's Pitmaster and a commemorative trophy belt.

The neighboring Pueblo Vida Brewing Co. will be on site to serve up pints to thirsty guests, and local band Greyhound Soul will perform. Best of all, proceeds from the event go to benefit Steele Children’s Research Center. 

The first Smokin' Showdown barbecue cookoff kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 27 and runs until 9 p.m. Tickets are available for $30 in advance or $35 the day of the event (if it doesn't sell out), which includes two ounces of barbecue from all seven vendors, two sides, one draft pint and a vote for People’s Choice. You can snatch your spot at the Smokin' Showdown and find more information on the event by visiting the Hotel Congress website

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