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Pikes Peak Bar-B-Q Festival 

It's not exactly "Memphis in May," an enormous barbecue cook-off held annually on the banks of the Mississippi River, but the Pikes Peak Bar-B-Q Festival, to be held this weekend on the Rustic Hills Shopping Center parking lot, promises some serious cooking and some serious eating.

This fund-raiser for Christmas Unlimited's Operation Back-to-School, a charity that helps purchase school supplies for kids in families that can't afford them, is a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned event. That means that entries will be judged by representatives from KC and that only serious contenders need apply.

Teams will converge on Friday night from points far -- Houston, Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma -- and near. Colorado participants include the Tasty Treats team from Pueblo, Lucky's Bar-B-Q Will Travel from Lamar, Choo-Choo Charlie's of Colorado Springs, and Team Danny from Arvada.

In Kansas City, the definition of barbecue is meat cooked slowly over low heat with flavored smoke from hardwoods like apple, pecan, hickory and oak. And while different regions of the country differ on what constitutes sauce, KC sauce is generally tomato-based and thick, applied during the last minutes of cooking.

Grills and smokers will barbecue beef brisket, chicken, pork ribs and pork shoulder with a special Chef's Choice category. The winner could walk away with $5,000 in prize money since this is the third leg of a Colorado Triple Crown competition.

Admission is free and tasting tickets are available for $1. Samples are priced by participants and could be as little as one or as many as five tickets, depending on the item and quantity. There'll be music, and partying inside Cowboys at the end of the day, and it's all for a good cause -- not to mention good smoked flavor.

-- Kathryn Eastburn

capsule

Pikes Peak Bar-B-Q Festival

Rustic Hills center parking lot in front of cowboys, 3910 Palmer Park Blvd.

Friday (cooking) and Saturday (judging and tasting), Aug. 6-7

Call 597-1821 or e-mail info@christmasunlimited.org for more

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