High on the hog

The smoke coming from The Shed on June 10 -11 will be from pigs - but not Hogs.

The Fifth Annual Big Barbecue Bash benefitting the Helen Ross McNabb Foundation is an amateur barbecue cook-off and fundraiser. The event features teams that compete for $6,000 in prize money in categories such as pulled pork, chicken and ribs, with a fourth, “bragging rights” category called “Anything But,” which is awarded to the most creative dish coming from the smokers.

Lisa Spegman, special events coordinator for the Blount County Helen Ross McNabb Foundation, says this year there are 20 teams signed up to compete, with room for more to be added this week.

Started as a legacy project for the 2007 class of Leadership Blount, the event was held for three years in the spring event at its original site in Springbrook Corporate Center, just off Associates Boulevard in Alcoa. In 2010, the event was moved to the fall and held at Maple Lane Farm in Greenback in conjunction with the October Maze.

This year the event is once again being held in the spring and is in Maryville at The Shed at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson, 1820 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy.

“That should definitely increase foot traffic. The teams will be in the parking lot, and judges will be behind closed doors,” said Spegman.

Spegman said there will be three local bands providing live entertainment, including Crawford, Dos Borrochos and Fishsticks. There will also be a variety of food vendors selling deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos, funnel cakes, shaved ice, Italian Ice and other vendor-type food. Many of the teams will be selling their barbecue pork, chicken and ribs to the public.

Cherokee Millwright CEO Dave Bennett of Maryville is serving on the planning committee and is also competing. And, in keeping the Bash tradition, the “trash-talking” has already started.

“Cherokee Millwright will be represented in the BBQ Bash,” said Bennett. “People better bring their A-game because the Massey family of companies know how to barbecue.”

Mark “Smitty” Smith of Blount County works at Newell Rubbermaid. Newell has a team, and Smith is a judge -- but there is no reason to call foul.

“The judging is all blind judging,” said Susan Stout, the committee member in charge of securing the judges. “None of the judges have any idea whose food they are tasting or even which categories the team are entered in. Judging is very strict, and the judges are trained.”

Smith said he wanted to be involved as a way to give back to the community and help Helen Ross McNabb.

“You get so wrapped up in your hobbies and work that it is good to just stop and give some time by getting involved in some kind of community charitable organization,” Smith said.

Smith said he has helped with the Big BBQ Bash in the past, and he has been involved with Relay for Life. This year, however, he stepped up his involvement by being a part of the leadership team.

“ I’ve always done something with the Big BBQ Bash and was asked this year if I wanted to be on the committee and help drum up support,” he said. “I was happy to, and it will be a good day of great food and entertainment.”

Admission to the Big BBQ Bash is free to the public. The live music is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The BBQ teams that sell their barbecue set their own prices. There are no sales Friday night, with the open-to-the-public activities beginning on Saturday.

To register an amateur BBQ team or for sponsorship and vendor information, please visit the official event website, www.blountbbqbash.com. For more information, contact Lisa Spegman at 865-329-9120 or lisa.spegman@mcnabb.org.

Since its inception in 2007, the Big BBQ Bash has raised more than $50,000 for charities in Blount County. All proceeds from the 2011 Big BBQ Bash will benefit programs of the Helen Ross McNabb Center and its Blount County initiatives.

The Helen Ross McNabb Center is in its 63rd year of providing quality mental health care services in East Tennessee. The Center currently operates in 17 counties, providing mental health care, addiction/recovery treatment and social services for nearly 10,000 children, adults and families. For more information, visit www.mcnabbcenter.org.

The Fifth Annual Big Barbecue Bash is not for anyone who has ever won a sanctioned event. The fundraiser is sanctioned by “PWLBIBC - People Who Like Barbecue in Blount County,” Spegman said.

Sponsors for the Big Barbecue Bash include Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson, Helen Ross McNabb, Newell Rubbermaid, Standard Aero, Stowers, RPC, Pokey’s Engraving Shop, Denso, Hickory Construction, Inc., Staffing Solutions, McGaha Electric, Dixie Home Crafters, 103.5 WIMZ and Blount Today.

© 2011 blounttoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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