KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Smithfield Foods announced its plans for the 39th American Royal World Series of Barbecue at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, between Sept. 13 and 16.

The company plans to have almost 70 cook teams in the barbecue competition as pitmasters or members of Smithfield’s Committed Cooks program.

The list of pitmasters includes 2017 American Royal Open Grand Champion Blane Hunter, World Champions Sterling Ball, Chris Lilly, Darren Warth, Melissa Cookston and Ernest Servantes. Smithfield pitmaster Tuffy Stone will also be inducted into the 2018 class of the Barbecue Hall of Fame on Sept. 15.

“The American Royal is the largest and one of the most distinguished barbecue competitions in the world, and we’re so happy to be back for another year to share Smithfield’s commitment and passion for competition barbecue with the best of the best in the sport,” said Kelsy Olson, associate brand manager of fresh pork marketing for Smithfield Foods. “We are proud to say that so many of these award-winning pitmasters cook with Smithfield Fresh Pork on the competition circuit.”

On Sept. 15, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., event attendees can visit the Smithfield booth (Space #307) for interactive fresh pork grilling demonstrations hosted by Weber grillmaster Kevin Kolman and Smithfield’s Championship Pitmasters.