Smoky Jon’s #1 BBQ, The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint, and Famous Dave’s of America earned top honors in the National Barbecue Association‘s (NBBQA) 2014 Awards of Excellence competition. Held in early March during the NBBQA’s annual conference in San Marcos, Texas, the annual competition recognizes the best barbecue products in a number of industry categories, with winners selected from more than 500 total submissions.
Smoky Jon’s #1 BBQ led the gold medal count with four first place awards, for its Mediterranean Seasoning, Smoky Jon’s Mustard Marinade, and Smoky Jon’s Caribbean Marinade. It also won for best BBQ—Camp Shirt in the Barbecue Apparel category.
Famous Dave’s of America’s Signature Spicy Pickle Spears took home the prize in the Barbecue Condiment or Accompaniment category. The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint’s Hoggin’ It All garnered the top award in the Barbecue Marinade—Oil & Vinegar competition.
Famous Dave's earned the most overall awards, with 12 wins in 10 categories, while Smoky Jon's scored 11 awards in 11 categories.
"BBQ enthusiasts from all over the country come here to measure their products against their peers," says Roy Slicker, association president. "It's a competitive field with top-notch products, and a NBBQA Award of Excellence medal is quickly becoming one of the most coveted awards in the foodservice industry."
Of the three restaurants, Famous Dave's of America is the largest operation, with 54 company locations and 142 additional franchise units in 34 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The company expects to open one company-owned restaurant, as well as six franchise-operated restaurants, in fiscal 2014.
Smoky Jon’s #1 BBQ is an independent and locally-owned business in Madison, Wisconsin, offering guests full service in its log cabin dining room, express takeout service, and four types of BBQ catering.
The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint has two locations in Mississippi—in Ocean Springs and Gulfport. Known for its eclectic décor and rollicking music events, as well as its food, its devoted customers are called “ShedHeds.”
The 2014 NBBQA conference also featured seminars and exhibits of grills, smokers, and barbecue equipment and accessories.
By Joann Whitcher