Mountain High BBQ Festival & Car Show Franklin, NC
By Stephanie West, MABA Vice-President and “The Neck” Pitmaster for Team 270 Smokers
Thirty-four pro and 12 backyard teams vied for ~$12K in cash at the 9th annual Mountain High BBQ Festival and Car Show in Franklin, NC. The competition was held at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center, with 46 teams nestled on the grass between the livestock arenas. (Likely rather unsettling for the cows who were snuggled in their pens just 25 yards or so from the smokers! Rest assured, they were all safe and accounted as we departed on Sunday morning!)
This was one of the stronger showings for a dual pro/backyard event in the MABA region, and it was heartening to see the enthusiasm and talent of these backyard teams – many of whom also participated in the 3 ancillary events! The Franklin Chamber of Commerce aptly rewarded with huge trophies for the Backyard competitors, along with ample cash. For those who heard their name called, they are now certainly hooked on our sport of competitive BBQ! Grand Champion of the Backyard contest was Sunnyside Smoke, a protégé of Two Old Men & A Grill. RGC was The Smokin Hot Reps, in their very first contest as cooks rather than as KCBS Reps! Julie & Rusty Cook, Doug Reid, Tom & Angela Morris, and Wayne & Rachel Harper have a new appreciation of the work involved “on the other side of the table”!
Franklin’s reputation along with the promise of cooler mountain air lured teams from near and far, including the host and two of the featured teams from the latest BBQ TV series “Smoked”. In parallel, the Chamber hosted a competitive Car Show and a fundraiser – teams provided pulled pork for the Tasting Tent that raised $1,000. The hospitality was excellent, electric and water lines were plentiful, indoor bathrooms & a shower were provided, and rarely did more than 10 minutes pass without a volunteer asking if we needed anything. Garbage bags barely had a chance to touch the grass before a volunteer was there to pick them up. Overall, we’d definitely recommend Franklin on your “to do” list.
First place winners:
Chicken –Hickory Prime
Ribs –Rocky Top Barbecue
Pork –Midnight Burn
Brisket –270 Smokers
Grand Champion –Hickory Prime
Reserve Grand Champion –Midnight Burn