OAKLAND, Calif., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- If Americans had a national food, it would be slow-smoked barbecue. In fact, with more barbecue competitions cropping up across the country each year, where pitmasters gather to compete for a little bit of money and bragging rights, it's becoming a sport. But most pitmasters would agree that there is no overall season-ending champion. To settle the score, America's favorite charcoal brand will host the first annual Kingsford® Invitational. This invitation-only event will be held at a Kingsford® manufacturing plant Veterans Day Weekend to once and for all declare the best of the best on the barbecue competition circuit.
"There are so many world class barbecue competitions throughout the year that you end up having several pitmasters claiming to be the best," said Chris Lilly, who was crowned Memphis in May Barbecue Cooking Contest World Champion for the third time in 2011. "The Kingsford Invitational will bring all the grand champion teams together to finally crown one as the best of the best for the year – I just hope my Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q team can qualify for the competition!"
To end the debate over who's the best on the competition barbecue circuit, the Kingsford® Invitational will invite eight top-tier teams from the 2012 barbecue competition season to compete, including winners of the:
- Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest; Houston (Feb. 23-25)
- Motley Que Crew, the 2012 Grand Champions, have accepted the invitation to compete in the Kingsford Invitational
- Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest; Memphis (May 17-19)
- Great Lenexa BBQ Battle; Lenexa, Kan. (June 22 - 23)
- The Kingsford BBQ Pitmasters Grand Champion, revealed on-air on Destination America (July 11)
- American Royal World Series of Barbecue Open Contest; Kansas City, Mo. (Oct. 4-7)
- Sam's Club National BBQ Championship; Bentonville, Ark. (Oct. 13)
- Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue; Lynchburg, Tenn. (Oct. 27 -28)
- Kingsford 40k Challenge (competition team that earns the highest score at one of the 15 sanctioned events)
Not only will the winning team of the Kingsford® Invitational receive bragging rights as the best competition team in 2012, they also will be awarded a winner-take-all grand prize of $50,000. To earn the grand champion title and big check, invitees will need to turn in expertly barbecued meat in four traditional competition categories: ribs, chicken, brisket and either pork shoulder or whole hog. Teams will have the opportunity to submit a fifth category – the "best bite" – using the food of their choice to demonstrate their fire-fueled cooking chops and represent their home region. This could include anything from more traditional items, such as regional sausage or smoked turkey legs to non-traditional fire-kissed foods, such as wild game from the team's last hunting trip, an inspired backyard burger or even dessert.
All categories were carefully selected to keep the playing field as fair as possible. For example, pitmasters from Texas typically compete in brisket but not necessarily in pork unless it's whole hog, so they have the option to try their hand at whole hog or shoulder. Judges will be selected from across the country to carefully choose the best-cooked barbecue. Judging will be blind, meaning judges will not know which pitmaster turned in what food until after their selections have been made. Official rules for the invitational will be created from insights provided by several barbecue associations, including the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), and barbecue luminaries, and posted to www.Grilling.com this summer.
Kingsford® charcoal has played an influential role in fanning the flames of competition barbecue. In addition to the Kingsford Invitational, America's number one charcoal manufacturer is partnering with the KCBS for the third consecutive year to reward competitors who cook with Kingsford at 16 of the top barbecue competitions in the country. Prizes include $1,000 for grand champions, $500 for reserve grand champions and $300 for individual category winners who receive highest points for pork shoulder, ribs, chicken and brisket.
"As the fuel of choice for many champion pitmasters and the top-selling charcoal in the country, Kingsford charcoal is committed to the growth of the sport of barbecue," said Kingsford® brand manager, Nick Meyer. "Competition cook-offs not only celebrate the all-American cuisine of slow-smoked barbecue, it's a sport in which any weekend warrior in every region of the country can compete. Slow-smoked barbecue is truly the American pastime."
For more information on the Kingsford® Invitational, visit www.Grilling.com, where updates, including selected teams, official rules and judges' backgrounds will be posted as the barbecue season unfolds.
The Clorox Company is a leading manufacturer and marketer of consumer products with 8,100 employees and fiscal year 2011 revenues of $5.2 billion. Clorox markets some of consumers' most trusted and recognized brand names, including its namesake bleach and cleaning products, Green Works® naturally derived home care products, Pine-Sol® cleaners, Poett® home care products, Fresh Step® cat litter, Kingsford® charcoal, Hidden Valley® and K C Masterpiece® dressings and sauces, Brita® water-filtration products, Glad® bags, wraps and containers, and Burt's Bees® natural personal care products. Nearly 90 percent of Clorox Company brands hold the No. 1 or No. 2 market share positions in their categories. The company's products are manufactured in more than two dozen countries and sold in more than 100 countries. Clorox is committed to making a positive difference in the communities where its employees work and live. Founded in 1980, The Clorox Company Foundation has awarded cash grants totaling more than $84 million to nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges. In fiscal year 2011 alone, the foundation awarded $4 million in cash grants, and Clorox made product donations valued at $13 million. For more information about Clorox, visit www.TheCloroxCompany.com.
 Categories subject to change pending additional feedback from barbecue associations
SOURCE The Clorox Company