Grill masters and weekend bar-b-quers have only a couple of days left to review recipes, buy premium cuts of meat and start the marinating process for this weekend's 4th Annual Middletown State BBQ Cook-Off.
The event, regularly held the third weekend in May and sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, serves as the Delaware State BBQ Championship competition, qualifying the winner to compete in the Jack Daniels World Tournament in Lynchburg, Tenn.
Last year, more than 10,000 meat-lovers attended the three-day event, sampling every kind of meat imaginable, perusing craft vendors and the car show, enjoying carnival rides and games, tasting and testing choices in the wine and beer garden and listening to live music.
Here's what to know before you go:
1. It's a meat lover's paradise
Sixty professional teams from all over the country have signed up to participate in this year's competition. And, there's a lot on the line for the career griller. Since this event is sanctioned by the KCBS and serves as the state championship, the winner will find himself (or herself-grilling is no longer just a male activity) representing the First State at the Jack Daniels Tournament in Lynchburg, Tenn.
Back yard grillers have something to aim for, too, though. The winner of the amateur category will play with the big boys at the big grills next year in the professional side of the competition, putting one novice one step closer to state domination.
2 Sounds compete with the smells
Food may be the focus but the weekend is also jam packed with lots of local and regional music. Friday night, the event opens with the aptly-named Texas Heat. Then, Saturday, participants and attendees will be treated to a day-long soundtrack that includes Three Day Weekend, Stones Throw, No Stringz Attached and Club Phred. Finally, Sunday afternoon will feature yet-to-be named local bands.
3 How much can you eat?
Is your stomach as big as your eyes? Last year, Gary King was crowned as the wing-eating champ and this year, the three-day event will once again host two major eating competitions: hot dogs and chicken wings. Both contests will be held Sunday afternoon from 1 to 2 p.m. and people are encouraged to register on-site for both.
4 Fun for the whole family
The event caters itself to dads with a penchant for cooking outdoors but it's actually fun for the whole family. Carnival rides will be set up for young thrill-seekers and shoppers will be able to clean out their wallets with more than 40 craft vendors. Car enthusiasts can get their fill with the antique cars or hot rod show. There's also more food available for palates looking for something beyond chicken and brisket.