Spring has sprung and Osage City is smokin’ – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Spring has sprung and Osage City is smokin’

Spring is here and that means it’s time for Osage City to start the coals for the town’s annual barbecue party. The 21st annual Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship fires up Friday evening at Jones Park with the “Taste of Osage City”, where food lovers can get their fill from menus featuring BBQ favorites or eclectic side dishes.

This year’s “Taste” gets underway at 5 p.m. Friday, and will feature 19 barbecue teams offering their favorite outdoor cooked fare in exchange for BBQ Bucks. BBQ Bucks can be used to purchase food, drinks, and other items at the event. BBQ Bucks will be sold on site, 1-7 p.m. April 5, at the Osage City Community Building concession windows. BBQ Bucks have no expiration date and can be used at future events. Ahead of time, BBQ Bucks can be purchased at Osage City Hall.

While the party focuses on fine smoked meats, cooks serve up a menu not likely offered anywhere else with Jones Park is transformed into a giant outdoor smorgasbord. A map of vendors and their menus is available here.

As the party starts cooking, around 7 p.m., the band Chance Encounter will heat up the amps for an evening of classic and modern rock ‘n’ roll in the OCPR building; the show is open to all ages. The recreation building is also the spot for cooling off your palate with the Ridge Iron Grill, a local bar that is tending a beer garden and offering beverages of all types.

A variety of other local vendors and charities will have booths offering beverages, baked goods, and other items that can be purchased with BBQ Bucks.

For the kids, bounce houses and inflatables will be available 4-8 p.m. Friday near the recreation building, weather permitting.

Really sparking the Friday event will be a fireworks show ignited by local pyrotechnician Scott Farmer, with fireworks provided by Garret Fireworks. The show will begin after dark, and will be fired off from open area south of OCPR building. Spectators will be able to see the show from about anywhere in Jones Park or the surrounding area.

“Bring a friend, have a beverage, eat some BBQ, stay for the music and fireworks,” said Corey Linton, the contest’s organizer for 18 of its 21 years.

Parking is crowded around the park, but Osage County Public Transportation will offer rides from the Osage City school parking lot 4-9:30 p.m. Friday. Freewill donations will be accepted for the shuttle. Parking is also available on the west side of the road west of the football stadium, weather permitting.

While the party simmers, competition chefs will get serious about tending their smokers overnight and in the morning for the annual Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned state championship. More than 100 competitors are signed up to cook the KCBS required categories, chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. Cooks can also compete in the category of turkey as part of the nationwide Turkey Smoke competition sanctioned by the National Turkey Federation. This is the fifth year Smoke in the Spring has hosted a Turkey Smoke.

With this being the 21st year, Linton said the contest has established a standing in the BBQ world as a premiere contest. “Due to the longevity of the event, it’s so well-known that Smoke in the Spring has become a destination contest for teams and judges,” Linton said.

He noted the contest started out small, in a downtown park, but grew over the years to regularly having more than 100 teams competing. This year 102 teams are signed up to try for trophies and accompanying $25,000 in total prize money.

Linton says the reason the contest has become so popular and well-liked is due to the friendliness and hospitality of the people of Osage City.

“We’re still a small-town contest, but how we treat the teams and judges is why they want to return year after year,” Linton said. “New teams come because of word of mouth, but after they get here they want to come back.”

Competitors this year include cooking teams from 12 states and Canada. Linton said the three teams from Canada could provide some tough competition for the U.S. teams, coming to Osage City with the reputation as the best BBQ teams north of the border.

Also adding strong competition to this year’s contest, Janky Leg BBQ is coming back to defend their last year’s Smoke in the Spring Grand Championship, when they also won the ribs championship. Returning Smoke in the Spring reserve champion, Meat Rushmore, is also last year’s Smoke in the Spring turkey champion.

KCBS reps overseeing the contest this year include Dave and Peg Rogers, Forrest Bruce, Larry Hadley, Linda and Larry Voth, and Carolyn Wells.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress