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Feast on finger-licking barbecue in Cleveland
Children and adults compete at Hillbilly Hog BBQ Throwdown
Mackenzie McCarty of Warminster, Pa., competed in last year’s Hillbilly Hog BBQ Throwdown in Cleveland. She is seen with her Cabbage Patch Kid, which is wearing a Halloween costume. Along with professional grill masters, children may test their culinary skills in their own contest this Saturday.

Hillbilly Hog BBQ Throwdown and Fall Leaf Festival

When: Oct. 24-25

Where: Babyland General Hospital, 300 N.O.K. Drive, Cleveland

More info:

Eleven-year-old Mackenzie McCarty of Warminster, Pa., returns to BabyLand General Hospital in the North Georgia Mountains to compete in the Kids Q at the Hillbilly Hog BBQ Throwdown and Fall Leaf Festival, a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event.

At age 9, the competitive student and first-time BabyLand visitor wanted to win one of the Kids Q Prizes, a BabyLand Exclusive Cabbage Patch Kid in a chef’s hat and apron. Her dad, Ryan, has been the “guinea pig” for the different barbecue recipes for two years. What started as a “stop” at BabyLand for the McCarty family has turned into an annual four-day trip to Cleveland. This year, mom Brenda signed up to be an arts and crafts vendor.

The young, second-generation Cabbage Patch Kid mom, Mackenzie, already busy with horseback riding, archery and taxidermy, now adds barbecue competitor to her list of acquired skills.

The Kids Q cooking competition is sponsored by BabyLand General Hospital and is part of the annual barbecue throwdown and festival Oct. 24 and 25 in Cleveland. All children competing will be provided with a grill from the Southern BBQ Challenge, prep area and the meat.

This year, the competition will be for the best pork chop. The kids are encouraged to use creativity in their cooking method, seasoning and presentation for judging. All contestants will bring their own cooking utensils, cooking supplies and seasonings.

The two age levels of competition are: the Mini Pit Masters, ages 6-10; and Junior Pit Masters, ages 11-15.

All children are required to have an adult supervise their activities during the contest and may assist with lighting fires, handling knives, etc., but cannot help with the actual food preparation or cooking. Each age level has only 12 spots available.

Top cooks in each category will receive a $50 cash prize and an exclusive Cabbage Patch Kid from BabyLand General® Hospital. Second place will take home a $25 cash prize. All participants will receive a commemorative Hillbilly Hog BBQ Throwdown souvenir.

The competition brings professional, backyard and young people from all across the Southeast to compete in different categories with prizes totaling $11,000. For the Professional and Backyard categories, 65 highly qualified KCBS judges come from many different states, including some from as far away as Indiana and Kentucky. They award points based on appearance, taste and texture.

The Throwdown will feature a professional KCBS competition including several teams featured on popular BBQ shows, such as “King of the Grill.” In addition to the barbecue competition, other events include a People’s Choice Tasting tent, food vendors, rib-eating contest, arts and crafts and corn box.

Parents or kids interested in the Kids Q can get more information at or contacting Heather Sinyard at 706-809-0139 or

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