Bigmista's Competing at Innaugural West Coast BBQ Classic, May 12 at The Queen Mary

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West Coast BBQ Classic Photo: WCBC

On Saturday, May 12, a serious smoke-out is planned at The Queen Mary's adjacent park in Long Beach. The very first West Coast BBQ Classic will bring together over 32 barbecue specialists to compete through a wide variety of approaches, including true barbecue, grilling, and sauce-styles representing Texas, Memphis, North Carolina, Kansas City, and Memphis, all to be judged using the rules set and sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

Participating teams include creatively named partnerships like Dead Pig Walking, The Rib Doctor, Pig Pusher, Burnin' and Lootin', and even one called "Smoke It...It's Legal." At least one familiar name will hold it down for L.A., as Bigmista's BBQ owner and repeat 'cue competition winner, Neil Strawder, is confirmed as one of the many 'cue combatants cooking for $9,000 in prizes, to be awarded by a yet-to-be-disclosed panel of judges and in a "people's choice award" decided by the attending public.

In addition to the all-day barbecue cook-off, organizers are providing a boozy Jack Daniels Lounge, as well as its toddler counterpart, a separate activity area for kids while their parents get sauced. Live bands will also play throughout the day, with Shoemaker Brothers, Flutterbies, and Mercury 5 so far committed.

The general public is invited to join this carnivorous frenzy, which stretches from 11:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. that Saturday. General admission is priced at ten dollars, which includes a ticket for one sample (set at an average 2 oz. portion size) from any of the meat masters, with additional sample tickets available for an extra $2.00. $20 buys entry with thirteen sample tickets, while kids under twelve get in free and other packages are available when buying tickets.

As May is synonymous with the dawning of summer barbecue season, it should be an ideal time spent sampling an endless spread of meat, whether you cheer on L.A. favorite Bigmista's or lesser known locals like Left Coast Cue. See additional details on the event's website.

West Coast BBQ Classic, May 12, 11:00 A.M.-8:00 P.M. at 1126 Queens Highway Long Beach.