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Brenau readies for barbecue competition
The Bubba Grills team flips its whole hog during the 2012 Brenau Barbecue Championship. Bubba Grills took fourth runner-up in the whole hog category.

The fifth annual Brenau Barbecue Championship — the university’s annual fundraising event for scholarships — will kick off Memorial Day weekend on the college campus.

Winners of the annual barbecue championship will receive automatic bids to compete in the World Barbeque Championship finals Oct. 31 through Nov. 4 in Las Vegas. Starting as a Memphis Barbecue Network competition, the 2013 Brenau event will be open for competitors in the Georgia Barbecue Association.

The MBN competition grew out of the famous Memphis in May event — the Super Bowl of barbecue. Professional cook teams from the Southeast converge on the Brenau University Gainesville campus to compete in three different divisions: whole hog, shoulder shank and ribs.

Local “Backyard Braggarts” also get in the spirit by competing in ribs and Boston butt with the same folks who judge the pros. Gainesville competitors: Almighty Smoke Masters, Blaker’s BBQ, Hemhocks, J.Reid’s BBQ & Stew, Legally Smokin Docs, Natural Born Smokers, Rick’s Smokin’ Pig BBQ, Skyline Contracting, Smokin’ Butts BBQ, Sweet Butts BBQ, Team Recess and Yellowfin, Tuff Dawg Grillers and Two Little Piggs of Gainesville. Other Georgia competitors include: AnarQue of Bolingbroke, Beauford’s Smokehouse of Kennesaw, Big Daddy’s Bar-B-Que of Marietta, Biteback BBQ of McDonough, Butts & Brews of Athens, Dixie Que of Macon, Nada Chance BBQ of Dacula, Grillin’ Magic BBQ Team of Decatur, John Jarrard’s Rhythm & Drool BBQ of Oakwood, Jurassic Pork of Norcross, Lazy Bear Barbeque of Oakwood, Low Country Longshots of Vienna, Ninja Pig BBQ of Oakwood, Properly Smoked of Chamblee, Sauced Hogs Smoke Shack of Jackson, Smoked Hawg Walking of Smyra, Smokey Butts of Meansville, Smokin’ 42 BBQ of Tifton, Smokin’ AJ’s BBQ of Warner Robins and Swamp Cat BBQ of Suwanee.

Competitors from out of state are: Diamond D Cooking Team of Newton, Miss.; Forrest’s Fine Foods of Cottondale, Fla.; Ranucci’s Big Butt BBQ of Belmont, N.C.; and Smoke Shack BBQ of North Augusta, S.C.

On Saturday, locals will invade the campus for an all-day festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. when prizes are awarded. Christina White, dean of admissions for the Sidney O. Smith Jr. Graduate School and organizer of the children’s activities, said the festival will include a staffed play area for smaller children — a “Kid’s Corner” including an inflatable obstacle courses, balls, hula-hoops and a little water fun.

Gainesville’s Old Friends Car Club will sponsor a classic car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

All proceeds benefit scholarships to Brenau University for students in the Gainesville-Hall County area. Last year’s competition netted more than $80,000.

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