Q in the Lou BBQ Fest St. Louis

A Guide To The Q in the Lou BBQ Festival

Sunday September 1, 2019

By Mark

The mouthwatering aroma of smoked meat and tangy sauce permeates the streets of downtown St. Louis Sept. 27-29 when “Legends of the Pit” from across the country rev up to produce some of the tastiest barbecue anywhere at the Q in the Lou BBQ Festival in St. Louis.

The world champion pit masters and helpers will smoke a staggering 18,000 pounds of meat at Q in the Lou, St. Louis Barbecue Festival, in Kiener Plaza.

“All our pit masters are barbecue grandstandians—most of them many, many times over,” Marc Mendolia, production director for Q in the Lou, said. “These are titans of the barbecue industry that will cook up some of the best barbecue our consumers have ever had.”

The fourth annual festival is a unique chance for visitors to taste award-winning barbecue made by pit masters from around the country unlike at barbecue competitions where “festival food” is the only option for the general public.

It’s also a chance to learn from the champs if you want to try your hand at home.

“A lot of these barbecue pit masters—people know them from television shows and otherwise,” Mendolia said. ‘You can have conversations with these pit masters, and they treat you like their own family. They, more than anybody else, really want you to just have a fantastic time.”

Stars of the pits who will cook and demo:

  • Carey Bringle, Peg Leg Porker, Nashville, TN
  • Mike Johnson and Christina Fitzgerald, Sugarfire Smokehouse, St. Louis
  • Leslie Roark Scott & Craig Verhage, Ubons BBQ, Yazoo City, MS
  • Brad and Brooke Orrison, The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint, Ocean Springs, MS
  • Mike Emerson, Pappy’s Smokehouse, St. Louis, MO
  • Miriam Wilson, The Salt Lick BBQ, Driftwood, TX
  • John David Wheeler, Memphis Barbecue Company, Horn Lake, MS
  • Jason Ganahl, GQue BBQ, Denver, CO
  • Jeff Stehney, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Kansas City, MO

The festival’s tagline is “Bands, BBQ and Beer” because, well, what’s a festival without liquid refreshment and music?

Performing at the event:

  • Friday, September 27
    • 5:00PM - 6:30PM - Alexandra Kay
    • 7:30PM - 9:00PM - Jordan Suter Music
  • Saturday, September 28
    • 11:00AM - 12:00PM - Lefty Daytona
    • 1:00PM - 2:30 PM - Little Dylan
    • 3:30PM - 4:30PM - Boxcar
    • 4:45PM - Prairie Fresh RIB RUMBLE Competition
    • 6:00PM - 7:30PM - Apex Shrine
  • Sunday, September 29
    • 11:00AM - 12:00PM - Heal Center for the Arts “Point of View” Jazz Ensemble
    • 1:30PM - 3:00PM - Brother Francis and the Soultones
    • 3:15PM - Prairie Fresh RIB RUMBLE Competition
    • 4:15PM - 5:30PM - Al Holliday and the All STL Revue

Entrance to Q in the Lou is free. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

“We keep our portion sizes just a little smaller so you don’t have just one sandwich or a half rack of ribs,” Mendolia said. “You have an opportunity to sample brisket from Texas, chicken from Mississippi, ribs from Nashville.”

A VIP Pass, an inclusive package, includes food, complimentary cocktails crafted from recipes the pit masters themselves created and entry into VIP lounges in the heart of the pit.

BBQ School, live demos at past events, proved so popular, this year organizers added a second demo stage where pit masters and St. Louis area food professionals will share their secrets at 18 demos over the three days.

Also new this year: a rib eating contest with Prairie Fresh Pork and the game “Operation” for kids and adults with larger-than-life pigs.  Instead of extracting body parts, players pull out pork chops, ribs, butts and other cuts of meat.

“This is just a fun event,” Mendolia said. “It’s a relaxed event that you can come and take your time at, sit in the grass and have some barbecue with your kids and just really get to know these pit masters.”