BBQ Battle: Two-and-a-Half Tons of Meat? One Really Good Cookout

Combine two-and-a-half tons of meat with one ton of charcoal and you’ve got one very big cookout.

Five city blocks in Northwest Washington today were shut down and the barbeque pit masters were moved in, for the 20th annual Safeway Barbeque Battle.

Local area restaurants like “Old Glory” and “Hill Country,” and barbeque chefs from across the country today competed for the title of the very best barbeque worth over $40,000 in prizes.

“You want the judge to bite into this and go, 'wow,'” says Michael Skahill of the DC Fire Department, who entered his barbeque into the competition this year.

“There’s no such thing as bad barbeque,” contest coordinator Doug Halo said today, "It’s only good barbeque and better barbeque. And what you get here is the best barbeque.”

The judging will take place Saturday evening as well as Sunday in numerous categories awarding prizes for the standout chef in each meat category.

“We know summers here when we’re on Pennsylvania Avenue in DC and the weather seems to turn up the heat for us this weekend each year,” Jon Carothers of “Famous Daves,” said.

But beyond the competition this cookout was really all about eating the food – and lots of it. The event is expected to draw tens of thousands over the weekend.

Sue Parks attended today’s barbeque and loaded up her plate with lamb, hot dogs, sweet potatoes fries, ice tea and lemonade.

“You name it, I got it” she said, “It’s great!”

The event welcomes summer in, taking place annually on the first weekend of summer and is expected to raise over $100,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. Over the last twenty years the event has raised over $1.2 million.

“It’s a very good event because benefits kids of DC and the weather has always been great,” attendee Chuck Baker said today, “I had some pork and I had some chicken and beef and it’s been great. They’re cooking everything very well.”

“It’s a nice summer day in DC, I love being able to watch the Capitol while having a beer and eating BBQ on Pennsylvania Avenue,” Arlington resident Cordell Green said today, “We started here with the tender rib from Suitland, Maryland and we’re probably going to walk up and down the strip and grab tastes of whatever else people have offer, be in chicken, brisket or ribs.”

The event runs through Sunday and takes place between 9th and 14th street on Pennsylvania Avenue.