Smoke on the water

Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer.com/geans@messenger-inquirer.com John Gambill, Jr. looks over a rack of pork ribs that has just come out of a cooker at Diamond Lake Resort while competing in the 11th annual Grillin & Chillin BBQ Cookoff in 2016.

The campgrounds at Diamond Lake Resort in West Louisville are sold out this weekend for the 14th annual Grillin' & Chillin' BBQ Cookoff on Friday, Sept. 20, and Saturday.

"This is a big week for us and for the community," Brian Smith, who owns the resort with his wife, Janice, said this week. "We have people coming from seven states."

Forty teams from as far away as Wisconsin will be competing for more than $10,000 in prize money in the competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society.

"We have the staples, the teams that come back every year," Smith said. "But we always have some new teams."

He said, "We get a lot of local teams and that's always fun."

"We're blessed to have Diamond Lake," Kenny Jackson, contest chairman, said recently.

Several top teams coming, he said -- like the Warren County Pork Choppers and Grey Street, last year's Grillin' & Chillin' champions.

Jackson said four or five of the teams cooking at Diamond Lake this weekend will be competing in the Jack Daniel's 2019 World Championship Invitational Barbecue on Oct. 25-26.

That event will feature 90 international teams and a $10,000 prize for the winning team, according to its website.

Roy Henry, owner of Owensboro-based Henry's Boogalou BBQ Dip, started Grillin' & Chillin' in 2006, hoping to attract top barbecue cooks from around the country to Daviess County.

At the time, the Kansas City Barbeque Society said if 25 teams showed up for a competition, it would be a successful event.

Nearly 50 teams -- 14 from Daviess County -- participated in the first contest.

And more than 3,000 spectators came to watch.

Smith said 11 a.m. Saturday is the perfect time for fans to be at the competition.

"Our People's Choice judging is at 11," he said. "That's when the public gets to judge. Sixteen teams will offer barbecue and for $7 you get to eat it and write down which you like and which you don't. There are prizes for the winners."

Grillin' & Chillin' is part of the Jim Beam Showdown again this year.

That contest in Springfield on Oct. 4-5, features cooks from six other contests across the state.

It has $6,000 in prize money.

Grillin' & Chillin' is also the Kentucky State Championship BBQ Cookoff.

Prize money at Diamond Lake goes to the Top 5 overall teams and the Top 10 in each category.

The cooking teams arrive on Friday, Sept. 20, and cooking begins early on Saturday.

Chicken will be turned into the judges at noon, pork ribs at 12:30 p.m., pork at 1 p.m. and beef brisket at 1:30 p.m.

Awards will be presented at 4 p.m. in Diamond Lake's Good Time Theatre.

Diamond Lake is at 7301 Hobbs Road near West Louisville.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com.

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