FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Franklin's Battle of the BBQ will feature 30 competition and backyard barbecue teams on Friday Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29, and the public can experience the Memphis BBQ Network-sanctioned event from behind the scenes. Presented by Heineken, the Battle of the BBQ is designed to give barbecue lovers a chance to taste the product, shadow the judges and vote for the People's Choice Awards.
"Last year, we were overwhelmed with people who wanted to taste the barbecue and learn more about how these competitions work, so we've added some opportunities for the public to participate," said Andy Marshall, owner of Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant and president of the Downtown Franklin Association. "From weekend VIP passes to the Friday Night Sauce Fight and Smoked Meat Feast party to Saturday's tasting in the Heineken tent, everyone can be a part of the action."
The weekend kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday night, when tomato, mustard and vinegar-based sauces will be judged by a panel of celebrities - Tennessee Titans Senior Assistant Coach Dave McGinnis is the latest to join the slate of judges. For $50, the public can observe the competition, enjoy free beer from Heineken and live music from the ConSoulers, and indulge in a Smoked Meat Feast from Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant that features barbecued lamb shank, smoked salmon Memphis Style, chicken sausage jambalaya, red beans and rice with smoked sausage, beef brisket chimichangas and more, along with a wonderful selection of side dishes.
A limited number of weekend VIP passes are available for $125, as part of the BBQ Lovers Dream Weekend package. In addition to Friday night's festivities, VIP ticket holders will have an opportunity to spend the day Saturday with the MBN competition judges, observing the process, touring the professional barbecue trailers, and getting a behind-the-scenes look at the scoring process while sampling the product of the nation's best competitive barbecue smokers. Unlimited access to the Heineys and Butts tent on Fourth Avenue South is included.
On Saturday afternoon, the competitors will submit their entries to the MBN judges, with $10,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded to the professional and backyard teams. Pro categories include ribs, pork shoulders and whole hog, and the backyard grill masters will compete in ribs, chicken and beef.
Afterward, as Pumpkinfest winds down, the party will kick off on Main Street, with bands from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s playing on the Five Points Stage until 9 p.m.
The public will have the opportunity to taste five samples of pulled pork for $5, and may purchase competition ribs for $1 per bone, on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in the Heineys and Butts tent on Fourth Avenue South.
Anyone who tastes can cast a vote in the People's Choice Awards. The awards ceremony for all categories will be held at 6 p.m.
To purchase VIP tickets for Friday night or the weekend, visit
Franklin's Battle of the BBQ is produced by the Downtown Franklin Association, a nationally certified Main Street Program of the National
Trust and a division of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. Proceeds from the BBQ competition go to the continued revitalization
and promotion of Historic Downtown Franklin. To learn more, visit