Sam's cooks up some BBQ competition

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Sam's Club,  the official supplier of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, is sponsoring its first national BBQ tour and is awarding $400,000 in prize money -- a first for competitive barbeque. 

The tour, called the "Inaugural Sam's Club National BBQ Tour," will feature 20 local qualifying events, five regional events and one national championship in the company's hometown of Bentonville, Ark. An unprecedented total of $400,000 will be awarded in 26 barbecue competitions, which will be held in Sam's Club parking lots across the country.

"This partnership with KCBS gives Sam's Club a chance to showcase our high-quality selection of fresh meats," said Bob Fields, senior fresh merchandise director Sam's Club. "It also allows us the opportunity to demonstrate to our members and others how grilling can be an everyday meal solution even if they aren't part of the growing competitive barbecuing scene."

The teams compete at local events for the opportunity to advance to regional competitions. Qualifying teams from the regional events will then move on to the national event, where one lucky team will be crowned grand champion and take home their portion of the $400,000 purse.

KCBS will sanction the events and provide certified barbecue judges for the competitions.

The national tour will kick off in Gilbert, Ariz. on April 8. The events will also feature sampling and public demonstrations, along with exclusive barbecue tips and demonstrations from professional cooks.

"This is a great way for our members to come out and learn how to make competition barbecue in their own backyards," Fields said. "Who better to learn from than the professional cooks and teams who have dedicated their lives to perfecting their craft?"