KANSAS CITY, MO. – After COVID-19 forced event organizers to cancel the world’s largest barbecue competition in 2020, American Royal officials announced on April 29 that the World Series of Barbecue will be held in 2021, at the Kansas Speedway from Sept. 16 to Sept. 19. Hundreds of competitive teams from around the world are expected to participate in the event. Details such as public attendance levels and programs involving the public have not yet been determined, pending public health officials’ recommendations. However, officials said competing teams would be allowed to host private parties in their team’s designated cook sites, as has been the tradition in year’s past.

“The World Series of Barbecue is often referred to as the ‘family reunion’ of competitive barbecue,” said Glen Alan Phillips, president and chief executive officer of the American Royal. “It’s the one time during the year where all of the competitors, from the elites to the amateurs, get together in one space to fire up hundreds of smokers – and have a great time in the process.”

In its 41st year, the weekend-long event allows pitmasters of all skill levels and backgrounds to compete in the “open” contest category while qualifying teams are able to participate in the “invitational.” Invitational teams can compete in any or all four of the meat categories (pork shoulder, chicken, pork ribs and beef brisket), but to be eligible for the Grand Championship, they must submit all four. Contests are also held for Sausage, side dishes, desserts and a kid’s category. Details on the competition and registration information are available on the American Royal website.  

“As a non-profit focused on agriculture education and advocacy, this is our highest-profile event and biggest fundraiser,” Phillips said. “We can’t wait to fill the Kansas Speedway with an international community of barbecue enthusiasts.”