After two years with minimal outdoor events, we think it’s probably time to get back to it. What better kind of outdoor event is there than a barbecue? Luckily, Canadian’s love barbecue, and we’ve tracked down the best barbecue events across Canada for you to check out. We've also spoke to some of the organizers about what gets them excited about barbecue and about why they decided to host these smokin' events in the first place.
Festi-Grîles de la Côte-Nord (Click Here)
When and Where:
- August 11-13, 2022 at the Innu Cultural Site in Sept-Îles, Quebec
- Amateur barbecue competition featuring the categories of lobster, ribs & chicken
- A selection of microbreweries and distilleries on site, and live music
- Cooking demonstrations with Bob le Chef and BBQ classes with Alex Turcotte
- Cultural and culinary experiences with the Innu First Nations
Hugo Rossignol, organizer of Festi-Grîles de la Côte-Nord remembers being five or six years old and enjoying food from his parents' charcoal grill, "My parents tried to buy a gas barbecue and the children said “we must stick with the charcoal,”" he says.
About ten years ago Rossignol discovered smoking, and a few years later hosted an event in his backyard called Barbecue, Blues and Rum. After his friends asked him when it would be back, his wife helped convince him to start what would become Festi-Grîles. Rossignol says the event continues to grow every year, and that the barbecue community in Quebec continues to grow as well. This year Festi-Grîles will have twenty teams competing! Rossignol says the best part of a barbecue competition is the smell of the food cooking.
We couldn't agree more, Rossignol.
Rhythm ‘n Ribs (Click Here)
When & Where:
- June 24-26, 2022 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
- An amateur barbecue competition, as well as fundraiser to help buy equipment for the Yorkton regional hospital
- 24 hours of live music
- 5 barbecue teams from across Canada
Rhythm ‘n Ribs is organized by the Health Foundation of East Central Saskatchewan. Ross Fisher, executive director of the Health Foundation says that the event ran in 2019 but was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Fisher indicates that the event hasn’t missed a beat though, and he anticipates that attendance at the event will be between 12,000-15,000 individuals (woah).
Fisher says the event is family friendly and that there is something for everyone, "there are different kinds of barbecue," and he adds that it is a "complete event." While there is live music at the event, it is carefully set up so that you can take in whatever part of the event is to your taste. Whether that’s the actual taste of barbecue and relaxing with your friends, or listening to music and taking in the summer heat.
Barn Burner BBQ (Click Here)
Where & When:
- July 17, 2022 in Chilliwack, British Columbia.
- KCBS sanctioned event.
- Beer garden, food trucks, midway activities and live music on-site.
- ‘Black box’ cookoff allows competing teams to use mystery ingredients.
Barn Burner BBQ returns to Chilliwack for the first time since 2019. This KCBS sanctioned event is presented by Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry and features more than just a barbecue competition, with a robust selection of entertainment for the entire family. Teams from across Canada will compete in the categories of brisket, pork, chicken and ribs, as well as the "black box" cookoff. Sounds intense!
Atlantic Canada BBQ Championship (Click Here)
When & Where:
- August 13-14, 2022 in Meteghan River the municipality of Clare, Nova Scotia
- Le Richelieu, 507 Placide Comeau Road , Meteghan River, NS, Canada
- First Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) sanctioned event in Atlantic Canada
- Inaugural Atlantic Canada BBQ Championship (ACBC) competition
- Barbecue cooking classes May 28-29, 2022 hosted by pit master Jim Johnson (registration open as of April 5, 2022)
Philippe Gaudet is the organizer of the ACBC and is ecstatic to host the first KCBS sanctioned event in Atlantic Canada. ACBC hosted a non-sanctioned event last year, after the original event was postponed due to COVID-19 and had excellent turnout. Gaudet says all the attendants "had a ball."
Now ACBC is ready for their next inaugural sanctioned event and grillers across Atlantic Canada better get ready. Gaudet says that the best part of a good barbecue competition is that they are "serious, yet so friendly." "People are willing to help out even if it means hurting themselves," says Gaudet.
Well, Gaudet, when there's a chance to eat skillfully grilled barbecue, we too would risk hurting ourselves for that reward.
Manitoba Backyard BBQ Team of the Year 2022 (Click Here)
Where & When:
- 3-event series hosted by the Red River BBQ & Grill Society:
- Bigg Smoak Throwdown, May 7, 2022 in Steinbach, Niverville
- Smokemaster BBQ, July 23, 202 in Niverville
- Luxe BBQ Co. Weekend Warrior Showdown, September 17, 2022 in Winnipeg
- Kids Q Burger competitions will be held before each event
- Team cooking classes will be held prior to every event
- KCBS judging class July 22, 2022 in Niverville facilitated by Jim Johnson
Brad Biehn, one of the founding members of the Red River BBQ & Grill Society (a not-for-profit formed to promote barbecue in Manitoba) says that, "Barbecue is an event and an experience," and that it’s about more than just the food being cooked but spending a "day outside with your best friends, spouse or family."
Barbecue is just getting started in Manitoba. The Red River BBQ & Grill Society hosted a 25-team event last year to test the waters; Biehn says it was planned in four weeks and went off without a hitch. Red River BBQ & Grill Society is dedicated not only to bringing competition barbecue to Manitoba, but also to building a community of barbecue enthusiasts in the province. Biehn says that it is "all about exposure" and hopes that by hosting a series of events, more people will become aware of the presence of barbecue in Manitoba. Teams can enter one or all three competitions, but must enter at least two to be able to be crowned Manitoba’s backyard barbecue team of the year.
BBQ on the Bow - BBQ Competition and Festival (Click Here)
Where & When:
- Labour Day long weekend, dates to-be-announced, hosted at Shouldice Park in Calgary, Alberta
- Small Town Smoke Down in Bassano, Alberta on June 3-5, 2022 hosted by BBQ on the Bow
- Canada’s oldest sanctioned barbecue event
- KCBS judging class on April 24, 2022 to qualify individuals to become certified barbecue judges
- Alliance with not-for-profit organizations, businesses, and community groups, and local food, arts groups, professional musicians, youth performers, restaurants, and fresh product farmers
BBQ on the Bow has been running in Calgary since 1993 with the goal of spreading their passion for southern style barbecue to Canada. For the last 29 years, it’s been a successful operation to say the least. The competition grows every year and now features over 35 teams!
In addition to BBQ on the Bow itself, the organization hosts a number of other events in Alberta including Small Town Smoke Down in Bassano, and coordinates the Alberta Cup with Porkapalooza in Edmonton and the Battle River BBQ Showdown in Camrose. As the event is KCBS sanctioned, the winning teams will be awarded points to qualify for other prestigious KCBS events. BBQ on the Bow is a free family-focused festival that’s a perfect way to spend Labour Day weekend.
We've attended BBQ on the Bow a few times as a company and it's always been a great time!
Porkapalooza (Click Here)
When & Where:
- May 28-29, 2022 in Sherwood Park, Alberta at Half Moon Lake Resort
- Eighth annual KCBS sanctioned event
- Kids Cook Que contest on the 28th
- Not open to the public, but campsites at Half Moon Lake Resort are available
Porkapalooza is Edmonton’s premier barbecue event, hosted by Alberta Pork it welcomes teams from all over Canada every year.
Brewery and the Beast (Click Here)
When & Where:
- August 7, 2022 at Concord Pacific Place - 811 Carrall Street in Vancouver, BC
- August 21, 2022, location TBD in Calgary, AB
- September 25, 2022 at Starlight Stadium Langford - 1089 Lanford Parkway on Vancouver Island
- Annual event uniting consumers, chefs, farmers, and local businesses to create a playful and education environment for festival-goers to learn about local foods, enjoy local foods and drinks, and more
- Open to the public with purchase of ticket, no minors allowed (tickets available here)
Brewery and the Beast is an outdoor event delivering a feast (and we mean a FEAST) of ethically-sourced meats, craft beverages, and live entertainment. The event started in 2012 and has since grown to include three cities in western Canada.
We included it in our list because it includes many local or nearby barbecue competitors participating in the cooks of many of the vendors. What we love most about this event is that your ticket is inclusive of all food and beverages at the event, so bring your appetite!
If you know of any other barbecue events happening anywhere in Canada, please let us know. We'd love to spread the word and keep the barbecue community growing.