Montana Pitmaster Classic

Pitmasters prepare their work at the Montana Pitmaster Classic.

BOZEMAN - Drawing in 31 teams from seven different states and Alberta, the international Montana Pitmaster Classic competition expects to see at least 4,000 people come to enjoy the food and friendly competition.

Organizers say they cooked up the idea for the event from a love of barbecuing and wanting to share their smoky creations with the community.

The goal of it all is opening up the world of competition barbecue in Montana.

“We have great beef, we have great food, we have amazing ranches, we don't have great barbecue,” says Bernie DelValle, one of the event’s organizers. “So this is a chance to expose to just amazing food and amazing barbecue and get them passionate about barbecue and food.”

Part of that means giving back to the community that’s been supporting them since the beginning. 30% of the proceeds from the event will go to the Gallatin Valley YMCA.

Only three years into the Pitmaster, and there’s already major recognition in Bozeman for the event.

It’s the only barbecue competition in the city sanctioned by the grill gods themselves: the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Montana Pitmaster Classic winners will be eligible to go to one of the biggest barbecue competitions in the world: the Kansas City Royal.

"Competition barbecue is like NASCAR, you can win a single event, but you have yearly points,” DelValle says. “We have competitive teams that travel the country and all they do is competitive cook."

Anyone can try the food, starting at Friday night’s chef’s choice.

"We've got smoked alligator, we've got pulled pork, we've got mac and cheese, lobster mac and cheese,” DelValle adds. “Their creativity is off the charts."

The event is free and open to the public. Events kick off Friday night at 5 PM at the Kenyon Noble in Bozeman. For more information, click here.

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