The Georgia Barbecue Association will kick off its competition year with the Hambone Jam, to be held Friday and Saturday in Fort Valley.
The event will be divided into two parts, the cooking part and the festival, said Carla Gowen, administrative assistant for Fort Valley Main Street, an organization that helps promote downtown Fort Valley.
The cooking part will include the barbecue competition, along with vendors selling everything from hot dogs to fried squash. The teams will be there all night, and the vendors will open around 9 a.m. Saturday.
The festival will include plenty of music. Uncle Earl and Friends will be playing 8-11 p.m. Friday, and the music will start back up Saturday about 11:30 a.m.
Also Saturday, Norfolk Southerns new exhibition car will have interactive exhibits such as plotting train routes and driving a train. The Central Georgia Model Railroad Club will have an exhibit, and the Peach County Historical Society will be having a silent auction. In the morning there will be a display of old cars.
It is a chance to bring people out to see our little town, said Gowen. It is an opportunity to showcase Fort Valley in a positive way.
The Hambone Jam will be held at the newly named Fort Valley Festival Park located at 200 Preston Street near the railroad tracks downtown.
The event is a qualifier for the World Food championships, which will be held in November in Las Vegas.
Barbecue champions from around the world compete in the World Food championships.
Chris Burch, a central office technician for ComSouth, partners with Greg Gordon on the ComSouth Barbecue Cook Team. The team competes in all three categories: pork loin, butts and ribs.
They use locally made DW cookers, which, according to Burch, are popular on the barbecue competition circuit and are basically large convection ovens.
We can cook for 24 hours and not use a whole bag of charcoal, said Burch. Thats how well insulated they are.
It takes a lot of time and meat to compete in a barbecue competition; Burch said for one box of ribs they will usually cook about eight slabs. But leftovers are not a problem.
Burch said the secret to winning barbecue competitions is not doing the same old, same old everyone else is doing.
Everybody is cooking with the same quality meat and about the same temperature. It is your flavor profile that sets you apart, he said. You cant experiment when you get there. You have to be experimenting every weekend. But you want to use something different that when your plate gets set on the judging table, it stands out.
Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.