Cruise rocks with national BBQ contest

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR – There’s a general agreement that Michigan stands among the best in the nation when it comes to the outdoor grilling arts. The organizers of the Michigan Rocks BBQ Nationals competition continue that belief this year by letting the public – with their discerning culinary tastes for all things barbecue – take part in the judging.

“We’re going to do ’People’s Choice,’ where they can come in and taste for themselves,” coordinator Arlie Bragg said. “Let the public decide who has the best ribs or pork in Michigan.”

Michigan Rocks BBQ Nationals, held in conjunction with Saturday’s Telegraph Tomorrow Cruise, is co-sponsored by WOMC-FM 104.3 and Townsquare Live. The party starts at 11 a.m. in Taylor’s Heritage Park, where regional winners in four categories will be eligible for the National Championship in Laughlin, Nevada this October.

Bragg, who has 20 years of barbecue competition experience, said that Michigan Rocks is one of about 400 similar competitions are held in the United States, with more than 4,000 cooking teams in pursuit of national recognition.

With vintage wheels and award-winning eats on hand, organizers said they thought a classic rock soundtrack would be fitting. Entertainment throughout the day will be provided by tribute bands BritBeat (The Beatles), Toys in the Attic (Aerosmith), Led-Hed (Led Zeppelin) and local favorites Fifty Amp Fuse.

Attendees can sample suds at the beer garden, or take the young ones to the Kids Zone for bounce houses, face painting, carnival games and more. Tickets for the BBQ Nationals are $10, and can be purchased at the event or in advance at

Teams wanting to enter the competition may register at

(James Mitchell can be reached at