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Granite Shoals hosts the inaugural Battle of the Badges Barbecue Cook-off on June 22 at Quarry Park, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. First responders from across the Highland Lakes will fire up their pits to see who’s best, but everyone is welcome to compete.

This is a “good, old hometown cook-off,” according to Granite Shoals Police Chief John Ortis and Fire Chief Tim Campbell, the event’s organizers. It is unsanctioned and open to anyone who wants to cook or judge. 

Register as a cook by 7:30 p.m. June 21, and be ready to turn in your first dish by noon June 22. It costs $10 to register in the cook’s choice event on the night of June 21 and the beans category at noon on June 22. 

Registration is $150 on June 22 for chicken, pulled pork, ribs, and brisket. The top three overall winners will receive trophies, bragging rights, and a refund of their entry fees.

Battle of the Badges needs 20-25 judges for each category. To be a judge, just show up at the event with your tastebuds.

A food truck will be selling barbecue at the event. Judges are the only ones who will get to take samples from the smokers.

Musician Billy Scott will perform from 2-6 p.m. June 22 as well as emcee the event.

“If you’ve watched “Pitmasters” on TV and always thought it’d be fun to come get in a cook-off, well, this is your chance,” said Chief Campbell alongside Chief Ortis in an interview with KBEY 103.9 FM host Mac McClennahan.

Campbell and Ortis are both prolific pitmasters who often prepare briskets for fundraisers in Granite Shoals. Battle of the Badges aims to bring the community together in a friendly competition, they said.

“If anybody knows anything about Granite Shoals, they know we’re going to do some cooking,” Ortis told McClennahan. “We’re just trying to bring barbecue back.”

The event is sponsored by the Granite Shoals police and fire auxiliaries, but its proceeds will go toward organizing future cook-offs.

According to Campbell, cook-off teams are coming from first responder departments all over the Highland Lakes, including Marble Falls, Burnet, and Horseshoe Bay, and possibly as far as Dripping Springs and San Antonio.

“Fire departments have it,” said Campbell when McClennahan asked who was going to win the day between firefighters and police officers.

“It’s because they sit around and cook all day,” Ortis bounced back. “We’ll argue 10 different ways about how to wrap a brisket or a rack of ribs, but it’s all in good fun.”