SMITHFIELD, Va. — This Labor Day Weekend, the world of barbecue is gathering at the Smithfield Classic at Nissan Stadium’s Lot N in Nashville, Tenn. to find out who’s the best of the best in the categories of chicken, pork ribs, pork, and beef brisket and who will take home the $50,000 purse. While no stranger to the world of competitive barbecue, this event marks Smithfield’s first competition in Nashville and, to celebrate, the brand is upping the ante with the high dollar prize, donations to local and national charities, and a special Military Salute to thank service members for their efforts in the community over the past year.
On Saturday, September 4, fifty teams from across the country will be competing against some of the top names in the sport, including Chiles Cridlin, no. 4 BBQ pitmaster in the world and no. 1 in the Mid Atlantic BBQ Association, and Darren Warth, award-winning BBQ pitmaster and owner of Iowa’s Smokey D’s, for a chance to win big. All entrance fees will be donated to two worthy organizations: the Kansas City Barbecue Society Foundation, which provides scholarships to members’ children, and the United Way of Greater Nashville, a major partner in the Nashville COVID-19 response.
Not only will competing teams be working to impress the judges for their chance to win, but competitors can also dazzle members of the local U.S. reserve forces with flavor-packed creations to receive the honor of the Military People’s Choice Award. Smithfield and the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) are thanking local service members with a Military Salute for their dedicated efforts to distribute COVID-19 tests and vaccines in the city of Nashville. On Friday, September 3, Smithfield will host a private event for more than five hundred members of the reserves and their families for a free barbecue dinner and soccer game – Nashville SC vs. New York FC – sponsored by Nissan Stadium. Each military attendee will be provided with a voting chip and the opportunity to visit the participating teams’ cook sites to learn more about the sport and sample from their grills as they take a turn as a judge – something unique to this event and another element to what makes this Smithfield Classic a stand-out barbeque competition.
“We are thrilled to bring the Smithfield Classic to the great city of Nashville. To honor how unique this city is, we wanted all elements of this competition to be just as special and that is especially true for the Military Salute,” says Laura Pall, senior brand manager for Smithfield at Smithfield Foods. “It is our privilege to serve all branches through this portion of the event and be able to thank them for their dedication and service. The sport of barbecue has always had close ties to the military, with many cook team members being veterans themselves. This dinner is an honor our competing teams are proud to participate in as they prepare their award-winning meals. This Military People’s Choice Award is a first for Smithfield, but we hope it will not be the last.”
“The Kansas City Barbeque Society is honored to partner with Smithfield to celebrate all things Barbeque, which is truly “America’s Cuisine,” stated Emily Detwiler, Chief Executive Office of KCBS. “We thank Smithfield for the fantastic donation to the KCBS Foundation, which helps support post-secondary education for our members and their children. Many of these students come from families not only dedicated to barbeque, but to serving their communities through volunteerism and military service. Smithfield’s generous donation will enable us to ease the financial burden for KCBS members’ quest for education! Since we began our KCBS Foundation scholarship program, we have given $151,000 in scholarships to 228 students.”
In addition to the Military Salute, Smithfield will also be hosting a check presentation, gifting two major donations from the earnings generated from teams’ entrance fees. The first donation of $10,000 will be made to United Way of Greater Nashville, who served as manager and grant administrator for COVID-19 assistance through the COVID-19 Response Fund and state and local CARES Act funding. The second donation will be a $2,500 check to the Kansas City Barbeque Society Foundation to help provide scholarships for children of KCBS members.
“We’re so grateful to Smithfield for their generous gift and willingness to support our mission,” said Brian Hassett, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Nashville. “So many of our neighbors are still out of work or are struggling to catch up from being out of work. Just putting food on the table or paying their electric bill can be a real challenge for too many right now. When companies like Smithfield step up and offer their support—that can make all the difference to families who need us.”
For more information, visit SmokinWithSmithfield.com/bbq-fest-nashville-2021 and for grilling tips and recipe inspiration, visit Smithfield.com.
About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 63,000 team members are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” and have made us one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including our industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30 percent across our entire U.S. value chain by 2030. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our communities. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich® and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
About The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS)
The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, celebrating, promoting and educating the public about barbeque as a distinctively American cuisine. KCBS is the world’s largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts, with approximately 20,000 members in the U.S. and over 36 countries. KCBS sanctions nearly 500 barbeque contests worldwide each year; including destination contests such as the American Royal World Series of Barbecue the Jack Daniel’s Invitational and the KCBS World Invitational, presented by Smithfield. For more information, visit us online at www.KCBS.us, on Facebook at @KansasCityBarbequeSociety, on Instagram as @kcbbqsociety and on Twitter @KCBBQSociety.
About United Way of Greater Nashville
At United Way, we unite the community and mobilize resources so that every child, individual and family thrives. Together, we are working to create a community where every child receives a quality education, no one lives in poverty or poor health, and the most basic needs of our families are met. We are uniquely positioned to the lead this fight by bringing individuals, businesses, nonprofits and government to the table to have the tough conversations, mobilize the resources and make the smart investments that will create lasting solutions for our region’s most pressing issues. For more information, visit unitedwaynashville.org and follow us on social media @UWNashville.