Championship BBQ Returns To Downtown Auburn Hills

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

For the eighth year in a row, top pit masters from around the state and Great Lakes region will be coming to Downtown Auburn Hills to compete for the title of BBQ Cook-Off Grand Champion for the State of Michigan.  Yes, that’s right, the City’s BBQ Cook-Off which takes place during the Auburn Hills Summerfest is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) and recognized by the Governor as a State Championship Barbecue Cook-Off.

Auburn Hills BBQ Cook Off Logo Final

Of the thirty-two teams competing in this year’s cook-off, eleven have won a State Grand Championship, one has won a National Championship, and one team is recognized for winning two World Championships.   Teams will have to compete in all four categories; chicken, pork ribs, pork, and beef brisket, and all are aware that the State Grand Championship designation is intended to help participating teams become eligible for national advancement.

teams - updateThe team that wins the Grand Champion title will have the opportunity to be considered for participation in the two largest invitational BBQ contests in the world, the American Royal, in Kansas City, and the Jack Daniel’s World Championship BBQ Invitational, in Lynchburg, Tennessee.


The teams will arrive on Friday, June 24th to set-up and start prepping their food.  Little do people know that these dedicated pit masters will be cooking overnight while keeping a watchful eye on the temperature of their pit/smoker.


The big day is Saturday, June 25th when teams begin turning in their food for judging.  The first category to be turned in is chicken (12:00 pm) followed by pork ribs (12:30 pm), pork (1:00 pm), and beef brisket (1:30 pm).  Thirty-six KCBS certified BBQ judges will be on hand to judges this year’s entries.  The cook-off finishes with the awards presentation that begins at 3:00 pm and the naming of the Grand Champion.

Summerfest logo

Other Summerfest activities include the Ice Cream Social (Friday), the “By the River” Car Show (Saturday), a Color Me Extraordinary 5K (Saturday), an arts and craft show, food, and an assortment of other activities for families to enjoy.

A special thank you goes out to all our Summerfest sponsors.

Summerfest Sponsors