BBQ Cook-off grows into tradition

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The Christmas on the River BBQ was originally planned as an addition of COTR events and throughout the years it has grown into a profitable competition renowned nation-wide.

Franks said Mem Webb, a COTR committee member, originally approached him about creating a new event for the festival that would generate profit, which could be used to help fund the event each year.

Franks said the first year of the BBQ they had organized the event with an $800 budget from the Chamber and a sponsorship from Miller Beer.

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Franks said the winner of the COTR BBQ was sponsored to compete in the Memphis in May National BBQ Championship each year.

The first winner of the COTR BBQ, Apple City BBQ, a team from Murfeesboro, Ill., won the national title at the contest in Memphis.

Franks said the BBQ has grown in size throughout the years and has changed location to the field near the City Landing, which was named the George Franks Field.

Cook-off 2007

The Cook-off carries a tradition of competition and fun, but this year&8217;s cook-off has added incentive in that it is the final cooking event of 2007 for the Alabama BBQ Association.

Today&8217;s cook-off will be a deciding factor for teams competing in the state contest.

The first place winner of the ABA BBQ competition will win $3,000, second, $2,000 and third, $1,000.

Cooley said team Gigi Piggy of Decatur are currently in the lead and are looking to hold their lead during the COTR competition.

The cook-off has been a sanctioned part of Christmas on the River since 1989.

The cook-off will be held at the George Franks Ball field at the Demopolis City Landing.

There are 48 teams participating in this year&8217;s cook-off, Cooley said.

The teams will include backyard teams that will only cook ribs and professional cooking teams that will cook ribs, brisquit, chicken and pork.

Cooley said the competition draws teams from all over the U.S.

Cooley said registration for the cook-off has been full for over a month.

Cooley said there are multiple categories the professional teams compete in.

An $8,000 grand prize will be given to the winner of the weekend cook-off.&8221;

The cook-off will begin at 4 p.m. Friday and admission is $7.

Cooley said they are hoping for a good turnout to the cook-off.

The $7 admission fee is to view the preparation for competition.

Cooley said there will be a vendor selling food and other drinks outside the competition gates.