JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — Sure, smoking ribs in a homemade barbecue pit is a good time, but combine that with good friends and great music, and you’ve got the 16th annual Burnet BBQ Cook-off and Music Festival.
“It’s the fellowship and camaraderie with all the people I meet at the cook-offs,” Matt Cogburn of Burnet said. “I’ve made friends with a lot of good people around Texas that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet.”
Cogburn leads the Lonestar Barbecue Society BBQ standings this year with partner Dean Dukes and Dukes Pepper Co.
“It’s probably gotten to where ribs are my favorite thing to cook,” Cogburn said.
The cook-off, Sept. 27-28 at the Burnet County Fairgrounds, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive, is free to attend. Spectators can taste samples of the competitive categories of brisket, ribs, chicken, beans, wild game, margaritas and dessert.
Promoter Damon Beierle said registration is open until 6 p.m. Sept. 27 for those who want to compete.
“We’re expecting the biggest cook-off yet,” Beierle said.
Last year’s cook-off had 64 teams, and this year Beierle said 80 are expected.
Gates open 7 a.m. Sept. 27 for cook check-in and at 9 a.m. Sept. 28.
Music will be paired with the competition both nights. Friday night features Chris Salinas of San Antonio at the fairgrounds.
After Saturday’s cooking and awards, the big concert gets under way at 6:30 p.m. at the Haley-Nelson Park Amphitheater, located on Garden Trails Drive off Texas 29.
The show begins with the Texaco Country Showdown, a country music talent show where winners advance to the national final in Nashville.
“It’s like the American Idol of country music,” Beierle said. “They’ve already earned the right to be here, and the people from here go to Nashville.”
Stephenville band Six Market Blvd. takes the stage at 8:30 p.m., and Whiskey Myers closes the show when they take the stage at 10:30 p.m.
Go to www.burnetcookoff.com to download entry forms and purchase advance concert tickets.