Everyone knows that New Orleans is the center stage for Mardi Gras, and rightfully so! But we also know that Louisiana is also very big on BBQ events. If you thought that folks down south were big on boil events, then barbecue is essentially the bible before you decide to baptize anything in that Cajun hot tub. In the BBQ circuit, Louisiana and New Orleans don’t get listed among top cities for BBQ, mostly due to the fact that the major BBQ cookoff events don’t take place in New Orleans – but that doesn’t mean Louisiana doesn’t have deep history and passion for their unique style of bbq. With their own spicy style of BBQ sauces, like the Bayou Bite, and cocoon de lait (whole pig roasts) they have their own identity unique to their region. And don’t get me started on their eateries.
Here is more info on finding out which events near NOLA will be a must for 2022!
Which season is best for BBQ?
If you’ve been to a BBQ event before in Louisiana, you know that the weather can be unpredictable. Most BBQ events in Louisiana will also mention that the event goes on rain or shine, which can be quite normal. According to a 10-year study, there has been a total of 63 inches of rain within 7 months out of the year in New Orleans -alone! It’s one of the few southern states that get an average rainfall monthly of 10-15 inches or more each month.
But that doesn’t stop the number of BBQ festivals and events from happening. Heck, it was a first that the COVID-19 pandemic canceled some festivals in 2020, but happened to be right back in the saddle by 2021. It seems that no set season keeps folks from getting out and enjoying the good weather when they have the chance. It does seem apparent that the best festivals are typically in the spring and fall since summers can be so brutally hot.
It’s worth mentioning that the big festivals including Hogs for the Cause and Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival happen in April and October. These are the two months where rain is the lowest during the year but is still pretty common when infrequent showers tend to happen. Good thing that most of these venues have tents set up to keep the sun off their backs and the rain from dousing their smoking grill.
If it’s during any other month, keep in mind that anything in between is going to be rainier and perhaps a bit muddier. So as always, dress for the weather, and expect a break on the days that you’re out and about.
Lesser-known BBQ events (that you’ve never heard of)
Well, not exactly when it comes to BBQ events that have peppered their way through Louisiana. If you’re already in the know’ and happen to be a pitmaster, you likely know about the Barbecue Competitors’ Alliance. Every state has its own organization that is running the festival circuit and this one is the golden ticket for locating BBQ events that happen all year round in Louisiana.
There are a total of 11 of these BBQ cook-off competitions that are SCA sanctioned events throughout Louisiana. This means you have to be a member to cook in these BBQ cook-offs. Most of them, in fact, every one of them will have advertising for the public to attend. Many of these pitmasters end up being qualified to enter bigger BBQ competitions such as ‘The Jack’ or the American Royal World Series of BBQ.
If you look at where these competitions are being held, and are close to these cities near to New Orleans, you might be in luck to attend. Of course, Louisiana isn’t such a big State and only takes less than 5 hours to drive from New Orleans to Shreveport. So if something is going on outside of NOLA, it’s not too difficult to get to a BBQ event that’s only a couple hours away.
New Orleans is always popular with festivals and isn’t dedicated to BBQ events so often. That doesn’t exclude food events that most certainly include BBQ foods. But for the complete package of BBQ competitions and cook-offs, you need to keep a keen eye on what is coming up in the future. Obviously, the next big events in NOLA include the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival.
This event is coming up in October from the 14th through the 16th and will be part of NOLA’s Jazz Fest. Obviously, you should like both of these elements to attend. And just like everything that New Orleans is proud to include, be sure to bring your umbrella hat and mud boots just in case.