Houston’s Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world’s largest and their BBQ Cook-Off is also huge.
Every year in February, the Rodeo’s BBQ Cook-Off occurs.
A great number of teams, companies, families and friends have a tent and cook up some of the best BBQ you’ll ever taste.
More than 250 teams led by barbecue aficionados compete in a traditional Texas cook-off.
While most team tents are invitation-only, visitors can enjoy the public venues including the Miller Lite Garden, Rockin’ Bar-B-Que Saloon and the Chuck Wagon, where you receive a complimentary chopped beef sandwich plate.
Here’s a board showing all of the tents with their numbers on them. You have to know your tent number first, then you can find out where it’s located by looking at this layout.
On this board, you see the names of the cooking teams and their tent numbers, so this helps you out if you forgot your tent number where you are a guest.
I love the view with the football stadium in the background.
You can get your boots shined at the Cook-Off.
This guy had a nice pari of boots.
Early in the day, there’s not many people around when I show up.
The BBQ Cook-Off teams will decorate their tent areas with all sorts of Western items. This booth used saddles and it looked cool.
Jack Daniel’s has a nice tent set up with a cool front area.
You’ll see the beer guys making deliveries to the tents.
I’m a guest of this tent, Maverick Kookers. I always come and take photos for them and shoot a video for them of their guests having a good time and all of the ‘goings on’ at their tent. They love it.
If you don’t have a pass to get into a tent for free food and drinks, you can always come to the general public tent called The Chuck Wagon and get your free chopped beef sandwich.
Seating can sometimes be a bit cramped.
Here’s the meal you get. Nothing special, but it’s free so you can’t complain, right?
Here’s another great shot I think.
There’s always a stage set up at the Cook-Off for a concert.
Since it may still be cold at the BBQ Cook-Off, you’ll see people sporting their Dusters.
This booth had a front facade on it that looks like the Alamo.
These old saddles were neat looking.
This guy had made them into seats. Remember these ‘Saddle Seats’. I’ll talk about them a few more times.
You’ll see people playing different types of ‘tossing’ games.
You use these two pieces below and you separate them by about 5 – 7 yards or more. Then you try to toss the bean bag into the hole from each side.
I thought this bull head with the horns was a perfect decoration for the Cook-Off.
You’ll see just a bunch of Good Ole Boys at the BBQ Cook-Off.
And some laid back ladies.
The Mountain Men had a large set up for their guests.
Jagermeister had a big tent.
These guys were passing the time by playing dominoes.
You’ll see guys sitting outside of their tents just ‘People Watching’. Mostly ‘Girl Watching’, lol.
I went back to Maverick Kookers and they had the food put out.
It’s always a better experience at the Cook-Off if you’re an invited guest and have a tent that you can go into for food, beers, mixed drinks and a porta-potty for restroom breaks.
Maverick Kookers food is really good.
You can’t have BBQ without beans.
And especially potato salad.
This meal is a lot better than the one you get for free when you don’t have a tent to get into.
Here’s the sign out in front of Maverick Kookers telling people they need a badge to enter their tent. Sometimes you’ll see people trying to sneak into tents to eat and drink for free.
In the back area of the Maverick Kookers tent was a bar set up to serve mixed drinks to the VIP Guests.
Here’s the Maverick Kookers cooking team.
They can cook some really good food.
I wish you could smell what this smelled like as it was cooking… heavenly.
I got a photo in another tent with the guests and cookers.
They guy with the ‘Saddle Seats’ is making out pretty good.
Here’s some people playing one of the ‘tossing’ games. Sometimes they use washers to toss and that game is called ‘Washers’.
I never get tired of looking at pictures like the one below. Having the football stadium in the background makes the photos look neat, I think.
I ran into a guy with a funny hat. I wanted to get a photo of him, but he made me put on his funny hat instead. It’s a duck that’s on the top of it with its’ wings spread out. How funny, lol.
I don’t know what organization these guys are with, but they had some cool outfits on. I like their boots and hats.
Relaxing out in front of the tents is a full time job, lol.
You can tell these guys came to party.
Since the BBQ Cook-Off is around the time of Mardi Gras, you’ll see people wearing Mardi Gras Beads.
Here’s some more dudes with beads on.
A lot of booths at the Cook-Off will have a stage set up inside of them for Live Music from bands for their invited VIP Guests.
I took a photo at another tent of the guests serving themselves some good food.
Here’s their meat smoking. Man, it smelled so good.
I bet the cooking teams spend a lot of money on meat to feed all of their guests.
Here’s a HUGE BBQ Pit. Look at how much wood they have for it.
This guy was cooking a lot of Turkey Legs.
I’ve had these once or twice. I don’t think I’ll ever eat another one. They’re okay, but I guess they’re just not for me.
This guy was busy cooking away.
I think this food looks good. Some people wouldn’t, but I do.
In the next few photos, I’ll show you all of the different food stands.
I really like Funnel Cakes.
I love how colorful the front of all of the food stands are. It gives the carnival a very festive look and feel.
I haven’t had Cotton Candy in years. I do love Candied Apples. More so, Caramel Apples.
I wonder what it’s like to work in one of these food stands that travels all over to different events all of the time.
I bet you see all kinds of people and see all kinds of things.
I should get a job as a Carney, then write a book about it.
I’m sure I’d have some very funny stories in my book about Carney’s and Life on the Road.
You can get souvenirs of the event also.
There’s always games to play for prizes.
As a kid, I was never really interested in the games.
I was more focused on riding the rides for the thrills.
I think all of these Basketball games are rigged. I bet the hoop is smaller than it should be.
Walking the Midway is a great way to spend some time while at the BBQ Cook-Off.
I would never want to win something as big as this Scooby Doo and have to carry it around the rest of the time.
I’ve tried the Pool Challenge before. Sometimes I won, but mostly I lost. It’s a really hard game to run all of the balls off of the table to win.
I like how colorful everything is at the carnival.
There were several ‘Wacky Shacks’. That’s probably not what they call them, but it’s a maze inside that has challenges to get through it.
They must be popular with the kids because I saw more at this carnival than I ever had before.
And here’s the third ‘Wacky Shack’ that I saw.
I’ve never ridden the Ferris Wheel, but I plan to one year and get some great photos and video from up there.
I rode this ride as a kid, but it had a different name back then.
Every kid loves the Bumper Cars.
I think these little lemonade stands are neat. Notice the Astrodome behind it.
You can try your luck at riding the Mechanical Bull. I’ve never done this and I never really wanted to either.
Back at the Cook-Off, the pigs are roasting.
I loved this booth’s cow out front.
The same booth with the cow above had some great retro pictures up so I snapped some photos to share with you.
I think these are really cool looking.
They remind me of the old Pin Up Models.
Cowboys don’t play regular Jenga. They use blocks of 2 x 4 wood and have a real man’s stack to deal with.
You can tell these ladies came to party.
The Maverick Kookers tent started to get crowded as the day wore on.
Here are some good looking Marines.
The guy with the ‘Saddle Seats’ is still doing quite well for himself.
Here’s a lady getting her red boots shined up for the occasion.
Everybody loves Rodeo Clowns. They save the lives of the riders in the rodeo.
This is some BBQ sauce that is used to put on the meat as it’s cooking to add flavor. Many BBQ Cooks make their own and won’t tell you what’s in it.
These guys are cutting up meat to be served to the guests.
And these guys are preparing meat to be cooked.
I’ll say it again… I wish you could smell this meat cooking.
Later in the day, the beer guys make more deliveries of even more beer to the tents to stock them up for a full night of partying.
Some dudes have ‘Girl Watching’ down to a science.
As it gets closer to dark, the crowds will start to grow.
The next three photos are of the Miller Lite Girls.
Everybody likes good looking ladies.
And especially when they’re wearing cowboy hats.
People will go into their tent and grab a beer or drink then come outside to mingle and talk.
Here is the Maverick Kookers cooking team, out from the back to check out the scenery. And by scenery, I mean the ladies, lol.
These guys were cooking a lot of chicken. Check out their Cluckin’ hats, lol.
Everywhere I went I saw great food being cooked.
Here we see some very laid back dudes.
This team was getting a picture of themselves, so I jumped in and snapped one to show you.
This does it! If I ever have a tent at the BBQ Cook-Off, I’m definitely getting ‘Saddle Seats’, lol.
The crowd began to grow for the concert later on.
These girls were cute.
Ice is very important at the BBQ Cook-Off. Ya gotta keep the beer cold.
At Maverick Kookers, they were serving dinner to their guests.
Maverick Kookers is one of the only ones to have a neon sign up. It looks cool at night and it makes it easy to find their tent.
Here’s some guests at the Maverick Kookers tent enjoying their dinners.
The Maverick Kookers tent has live music like a lot of tents do.
One of the cooks wanted to show me what he was cooking. It looked great.
As you can see, it’s getting more crowded as the day went along.
In 2015, the total attendance for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and the BBQ Cook-Off was over 2.4 million people.
In 2015, both Ariana Grande and Pitbull both drew over 75,000 people to their concerts at the Rodeo.
The most popular holidays for barbecuing are, in order, July 4th (71 percent), Memorial Day (57 percent), and Labor Day (55 percent)..
The most popular flavors of barbecue sauce are hickory, followed by mesquite, honey, and then spicy-hot.
I’d like to thank Maverick Kookers for having me as a guest. I always thoroughly enjoy myself.
I had to get a selfie in front of their tent, lol.
A few of the best things about the Cook-Off are meeting up with old friends…
Getting to meet and have a photo with proud men who serve our great land…
And especially getting to meet attractive ladies at the Cook-Off.
I had a great time creating this story for you to see what goes on at the biggest pre-party to the world’s largest livestock show and rodeo.
If you ever get the chance to attend, I suggest you do so. You’ll have a great time.
I have more than 25,000 travel photos on my website, as well as my videos, for your viewing pleasure.
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