National Barbecue Battle Turns 20
The Safeway National Barbecue Battle is celebrating its 20th year this weekend. In the advent of the annual contest, The Post featured what prompted the founders to create this event:
America had elected Bill Clinton president the year before the first Battle. He brought his Falstaffian appetite for all things Southern to Washington. His vice president, Al Gore, a former senator from Tennessee, loved that state’s fabled barbecue and had attended the granddaddy of barbecue competitions, the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.
Co-founder Allen Tubis remembers that barbecue was in the air.
“A lot of people from Tennessee were coming in [to Washington],” Tubis told me in a recent interview. “We noticed that everybody was talking about barbecue. People were saying they can’t find good barbecue or, ‘There’s this place. . . .’
“Barbecue was threaded into their lives,” Tubis said. “They were so passionate about it. I had never seen anything like that before.”
The story also covered how this D.C. food fest evolved over the years. Some of the changes mentioned were the rise of barbecue competitions all over the country, helping attract legions of meat fans to this event, as well as several sponsorships. Safeway has been the primary sponsor of this feeding frenzy since 1994. Saveur Magazine has also given the competition its stamp of approval when the foodie publication listed it as one of the best barbecue duals in the country.
So barbecue, bbq, bar-be-cue or bar-b-que. Who cares, right? They are all the same as long as the meat lovers get to enjoy this summer indulgence.
Safeway National Barbecue Battle
Pennsylvania Avenue (between 9th and 14th Streets NW)
Metro: Metro Center, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter
By Kat Lucero in Food on June 23, 2012 11:30 AM