Montana BBQ Cookoff

Montana BBQ CookoffThe Montana BBQ Cook-Off is held the last Sunday in June each year. We are a Kansas City BBQ sanctioned event. That means if you win at our event it goes towards your points to qualify for the big one in Kansas City. Our event never has, and never will, have an admission cost. The festivities start around noon right in the middle of the street in Absarokee, and last until the food runs out and the bands pack up to go home. There is FREE live music all day on both ends of the street with a major headlining band to close out the event.

The main attraction is the delicious BBQ being served up by 20 or more competitors. After you’ve had a taste of all the contestants have to offer, head over to the voting booth under the tent. For one token you can cast your vote for People’s Choice. Have a friend or relative in the contest? No problem! You can vote as many times as you want. That’s right, this election is for sale and whoever gets the most “campaign contributions” wins!

Of course, after tasting all the amazing BBQ and side dishes, you’ll need something to wet your whistle. Try a stop at one of our microbrew stations and taste what the area breweries have to offer. Don’t forget to purchase one of the collectible, refillable BBQ mugs.

If you’re wondering how it all works, as a competitor you bring about 50 pounds of meat, with a side dish being optional. You collect 1 token per sample you hand out. At the end of the day you turn in the tokens you collected and we give you back a percentage of the cash. Get a business to sponsor you if you can. You may even offer to give the money you make to charity; it could help put you over the top in the People’s Choice category.

What exactly is it that you can win? Well, every year local sponsors donate our cash and prizes, with everything from one of those big checks everyone covets, to Montana Silversmith jewelry and local gift certificates. We always have the biggest payout in the state with well over $8,000 in cash and prizes. If you’d like to get your hands on some it doesn’t matter if you’re a gourmet chef or just a backyard griller, it’s all the same to us. Fill out the entry form on, and you’re in it to win it.

We have certified (CBJ) judging. It’s all pretty simple. You have to turn in a sample at the beginning of the event, usually by 11:30am. Around 4pm, the votes will have all been tallied and our MC will make the announcements on the PA system. All you have to do is walk up and get your check! There are a few regulations, and we also have to cooperate with the local health department to make sure that all of our guests go away happy and healthy. To check out these rules, visit

If you’re not a cook, just come by and have a taste and visit our many vendor booths. Hopefully it’s a bright, sunny Montana summer day. You’ll have no problem finding a piece of shade, either in the front of one of the downtown businesses or under our huge tents, which are complete with tables and chairs. There are plenty of options around for cooling down: water, smoothies, lemonade, microbrews, the dunk tank, and maybe even a squirt gun or two.

There’s always plenty to see and do in the Absarokee Area. Make the BBQ a “can’t miss” event every year.



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