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Get Smoked July 3-4 at the Hilo Bay BBQ

June 25, 2014, 12:47 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 12:34 PM
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Word of mouth is a powerful, sometimes tasty phenomenon.

While a lone banner bravely flaps in the wind along front street in Downtown Hilo, one can hardly find any info online about Hawaii’s premier bar-b-que event, the Hilo Bay BBQ Cook-Off.

A Facebook page dedicated to the event has 14 “likes” and little content, while the event’s website is near-comical in its dysfunction.

But don’t let the lack of HTML fool you. This BBQ is, as Ron Burgundy would say, “kind of a big deal.”

Sanctioned by the International Bar-B-Que Cookers Association, the Hilo Bay BBQ actually serves as the “Hawaii State BBQ Championship” event, allowing the winner to qualify for a spot in the prestigious “Jack Daniel’s Invitational.”

Dave Yamamoto of Hilo: 2013 reserve champion of the Hilo Bay BBQ. Image courtesy.

Dave Yamamoto of Hilo: 2013 reserve champion of the Hilo Bay BBQ. Courtesy image.

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That fact alone has helped the event, held right smack on Downtown Hilo’s bay front soccer fields, to draw competitors from around the nation, each eager to win a spot at “Jack’s” namesake smoke-out in Tennessee.

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For Big Island Bar-B-Que lovers, this has proven a very good thing. Past champions have included “Slap Yo Daddy” and “2 Broke-Ass Texans,” both nationally-acclaimed pit masters.

This year’s tourney will feature more than a dozen competitors from Hawai`i and the US mainland battling over six different bar-b-que favorites including chili, spare ribs, pork, chicken and the venerable brisket. Poke even has a category all to its own, for the fish lovers among you.

And the cost to the public? You’re free to enter.

This BBQ chicken was a signature dish for past competitors "Slap Yo Daddy Bar B Que". Image courtesy.

This BBQ chicken was a signature dish for past competitor “Slap Yo Daddy Bar B Que.” Courtesy image.

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Select competitors will be selling their wares (read: meat), while a full-time concession booth will offer pulled pork sandwiches, brisket sandwiches, sirloin-tip sandwiches and chili and rice.

Those hoping to enter the competition can still do so, but must act fast. Entry costs $175, and interested parties can contact Hawaiian Arts of Hilo, the hosts of the event, at (808) 935-1860.

Schedule of Events:

July 3

Competition cooking begins at 7:30 a.m. The “People’s Choice Jack-Pot Chili” contest runs from noon till 3 p.m., while the competition chili and competition poke contests get judged at 4 and 5 p.m., respectively.

No shortage of protein: the "Hilo Bay BBQ and Cook Off" will test competitors skills at handling the venerable "brisket", among other favorites.

No shortage of protein: The “Hilo Bay BBQ and Cook Off” will test competitors’ skills at handling the venerable “brisket,” among other favorites.

July 4

Judging for spare ribs, pork and brisket begin at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m., respectively, with competition winners for both days announced in the parking lot at 4:30 p.m.

Prizes include hats, trophies, and monetary awards, with the “Grand Champion” taking home $500, and a mighty fine trophy.

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