The Santa Barbara Independent’s 6th Annual Sizzling Summer BBQ Contest.
Paul Wellman

For the seventh year in a row, The Santa Barbara Independent is hosting our Sizzling Summer BBQ Contest to showcase of Santa Barbara’s top grilling talent.

As usual, the contest is open to both amateurs and professionals. But for the first time ever, there will be private judging rounds that lead up to a public showcase of the winning chefs and dishes at The Brewhouse on June 23, when we will also be releasing our Well Read Ale to kick off Summer Solstice weekend.


Here’s how it works. Please read all of these steps to ensure you are available and willing on the required dates and times.

Step One: Submit a description of your barbecued plate (which can include a main dish and two sides) to Deadline is May 23.

Step Two: If your dish is selected for the finals, you will be required to bring four full plates down to the office of The Independent (122 West Figueroa Street), or The Brewhouse (229 West Montecito Street) between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on either May 31, June 1, 2, or 3. (Specific days, times, and locations will be assigned, and you can request a day or time that works best for you.) You will present your dish to the panel of judges, explaining yourself, your cooking history, and the food. Photographs and possibly video will be taken at these sessions.

Step Three: If you are selected as one of the winners (we expect to award at least three chefs), you must prepare to serve appetizer-sized versions of your dish to about 150 people at The Brewhouse on June 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. You will be able and encouraged to grill on-site in the parking lot that day, so you can serve your food hot. We will present the awards at that event, you will have a chance to speak about your dish once again, and we will have lots of fun.


The judging criteria will be quite broad. The most points will be awarded for taste and presentation, but professionals and amateurs alike will also be judged for their use of traditional techniques and/or creative innovation, so all old and new styles are welcome. The judges will be a mix of Independent staffers, members of The Brewhouse team, and hungry tastemakers from around town.


Aside from the pride of being crowned champion and being able to tell The Brewhouse crowd about your grilling prowess, winners of the Sizzling Summer BBQ Contest will also take home a wide-ranging prize package full of various goodies and gift certificates. Most importantly, the winners will be showcased in our June 30 feature story about the contest, further shining a light on your skills to our 100,000+ weekly readers.


Email with any additional questions.


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