Some places take barbecue seriously. The American Royal World Series of Barbecue is the granddaddy of them all. Tens of thousands of fans gather within the walls of the Kansas Speedway to watch more than 500 of the most passionate pit masters in the world compete. What’s at stake at the world’s largest display of masterful barbecue are the titles of American Grand Champion in four categories: beef brisket, pork ribs, chicken, and pork cuts (shoulder or Boston Butt).
You’ll see meat-smokers give the BBQ competition their all for two days of grueling prep and searing execution. Barbecuers smoke all your favorite cuts to off-the-bone perfection, turn out prize-worthy sides and sausages, and pour ladles of tangy sauces and homemade spice rubs all for the judges to consider. It is not known who will be competing in 2023 at the time of this writing, but there is an invitational contest on Saturday, September 30 and the open competition on Sunday, October 1.
Also during the weekend, seven 2023 Barbecue Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized, including Flora Payne, who inherited her husband’s family BBQ joint 30 years ago and, with the help of their children, has carried it into national renown.
Whether you hit the BBQ demonstrations to learn something, admire the adorable Kids Que, or, most importantly, load up your own plate at the BBQ Marketplace, this festival gets you up close and personal with the pits and their masters. There’s more: you can let out your meat sweats at American Royal’s Battle of the Bands on October 1 (performers are also yet to be announced) and/or party on Pit Road at the Kansas Speedway down at American Royal’s Pit Party on September 30.
- 55,000 people attended the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in 2022.
- 2023 tickets haven’t been released yet, but if past ticket prices are any indication, you can expect to pay around $15 for each day. Two-day tickets are cheaper. VIP tickets which include food and drink were around $75. And you can buy a weekend wristband which gets you into all the events. Or you can purchase one-night tickets. There are also VIP tickets options. Be sure to check the website closer to the event for more details.
- If you want to make the most of your time in Kansas City, Fifty Grande’s got you covered with our “Best Things to Do in Kansas City.”
What’s the nearest airport?
Kansas City International Airport.
How far is Kansas City from Memphis, Tennessee?
How far is Kansas City from Austin, Texas?
What and when are the competitions?
The Invitational Competition, Open Sides Competition, and Kids Que are on September 30 and the Open Meats Competition is on October 1.
Is this literally the world’s largest barbecue competition?
This barbecue contest claims to be not only the largest barbecue competition in America, but the world’s largest barbecue competition. It is expected that 500 teams will compete and it will attract 70,000 spectators.
What’s the lineup for Battle of the Bands?
The bands have yet to be chosen and they’re accepting applications until September 15.
What’s the American Royal’s Pit Party?
It’s a huge event on the Infield of the Kansas Speedway on Friday Night. It has live music, games, food and drink with vendors coming out at 3 pm and music starting at 5 pm.
Who produces the American Royal World Series of Barbecue?
American Royal Association throws this barbecue party of the year. It is a nonprofit organization that supports “youth and education in agriculture” The “World Series of BBQ” is their largest fundraising event of the year, but they produces many other barbecue, rodeo, equine and competitive events — a sauce contest, a rub contest, a horse show, a livestock show, a grilling and steak cook-off, other BBQ contests, and more — throughout the year.