There’s still time to register for 7th annual RiverFest cook-off

Published 12:40 am Thursday, April 20, 2023

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Barbecue aficionados still have time to register for Smoke on the Water, the 7th annual Port Neches RiverFest BBQ Cook-off. And this year, there will be a category for children to participate.

“We’ll provide almost everything they need,” Joe Rooney said regarding the kids category. “They get a pork chop, a grill from Ole Smokey and charcoal. All they’ll need to bring any tools and seasonings they want.”

TexJoy is providing some seasonings, and any child who would like to bring their own grill is welcome.

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The new category is for those ages 5-16, and the entry fee is $30.

Applications for the main event, which takes place at Port Neches Riverfront Park, will be accepted until April 28, when teams can begin setting up. There will be a meeting at 6 p.m. The cook-off will begin Saturday morning. Turn-in time depends on the item: kids at 11 a.m., chicken at noon, pork at 1:30 p.m. and brisket at 4 p.m. An awards ceremony will follow at 5 p.m.

There is also a bean category, which can be entered by any team regardless of whether or not they participate in the barbecue portion.

Rooney said they generally have 20-plus teams from all across the state.

“A lot of the teams are affiliated with the International Barbecue Cookers Association, so some of these teams earn points throughout the year and can win an overall championship,” he said.

All contestants will be eligible to win this smoker. (Courtesy photo)

The IBCA is divided into five regions, with Jefferson County in Region Two.

The organization has Smoke on the Water listed as an option for members.

Cook of the Year awards are given annually to someone in each region in the categories of overall, brisket, chicken and pork spare ribs.

Locally, there will be first, second and third place winners in the kids, chicken, pork, brisket and beans categories.

Some will receive cash payouts, and one team will earn Fan Favorite.

And all contestants will be eligible to win a smoker.

Registered team members can consume alcohol within their designated area, per permission through city council. However, it cannot be sold or given to the general public.

“That’s the same day the farmer’s market will be going on, so there will be a lot of stuff,” Rooney said. “It’s a fun-filled day in the park. There will be a lot of fun stuff and new stuff going on. It’s a good way to come hang out and get ready for RiverFest.”