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“Taste of Country” National BBQ Championship Heads to Saratoga Gaming and Raceway

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“Taste of Country” National BBQ Championship at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway

Taste of Country BBQ, Saratoga Gaming & RacewayA new kind of competition is coming to Saratoga and it’s sure to be spicy. The “Taste of Country” National BBQ Championship is coming to New York for the first time, holding a regional competition at the Saratoga Gaming and Raceway on Saturday, July 30.

Over twenty pitmasters, boasting names such as All Fired Up and Kicking Ash and Yabba Dabba Que!, will showcase their best barbecue, competing for $5,000 in cash and other prizes. The prize categories include best ribs, best pork, best baked beans and best set up. Grand prize winners will go on to a national competition.

The contests are being organized by Arlie Bragg, an award-winning chef from Nashville and owner of Arlieque Catering and Event management. Bragg has organized more cook-offs than anyone in the United States, including the United States BBQ Championship as featured on “Food T.V.” His client list includes The Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Brooks and Dunn and Tim McGraw. Among his numerous honors as a competition cook are the third Best in the World in Chicken at the 2002 World Championship in Imperial Beach, California, the 2001 Tennessee State Pork BBQ Champion and the Reserve Championship at the Amazin’ Blazin’ BBQ Contest in Lebanon, Tennessee, and first in Ribs and Pork at the Alabama State Championship in Decatur, AL. He also was the 2004 Tennessee State BBQ Champion, as well as the 2005 California BBQ Champion.

arlie braggBragg explained his passion for barbecue, saying, “Barbecue is not the same as grilling; most people ask you if you want to come over and barbeque. You get there and they are doing burgers and dog, maybe chicken on the grill. That isn’t barbecue. Barbecue is cooked over charcoal and wood for long periods of time. That is why we call it low and slow. Real barbecue takes time, and some of us cook a Boston Butt for twelve hours.” (Boston butt, fyi, is a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg and may contain the blade bone.)

Bragg explained that beginning at 12:30pm, attendees will be able to talk to the pitmasters, sample the competition and cast their vote for their favorites. Barbecue and other food vendors, a beer garden, and a Kids Zone will also be on hand. The event takes place on the polo field near the main entrance.

Country musician Phil Vassar, who has had nineteen singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs list, including “Just Another Day in Paradise,” and James Wesley will perform, along with other local acts.

The event runs from 11am to 10pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Show your ticket stub at the Player’s Extra Club within the casino to receive $20 in free slot play.

–Stacey Stump is an Assistant Editor for The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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