The Ultimate Guide to Experiencing the Annual BBQ Cook-Off in Austin, AR

Austin, Arkansas is a small town located in Lonoke County, just 30 minutes northeast of Little Rock. Despite its size, this charming community is known for its lively events and festivals that attract visitors from all over the state. One of the most highly anticipated events in Austin is the annual BBQ Cook-Off, a mouth-watering celebration of all things barbecue.

The History of the Austin, AR BBQ Cook-Off

The Austin, AR BBQ Cook-Off has been a beloved tradition in the community for over 20 years. It all started in 1998 when a group of local barbecue enthusiasts decided to host a friendly competition to see who could make the best ribs.

The event was such a success that it became an annual event, growing in popularity and size each year. Today, the Austin, AR BBQ Cook-Off is not only a fun-filled day for families and friends, but also a major fundraiser for the town. All proceeds from the event go towards supporting local schools, parks, and community projects.

What to Expect at the BBQ Cook-Off

The Austin, AR BBQ Cook-Off takes place every year on the first Saturday in October at the Austin City Park. The park is transformed into a bustling hub of activity with tents and booths set up by local businesses and organizations. The main attraction, of course, is the barbecue competition. Teams from all over Arkansas come to showcase their skills and compete for the title of "Best BBQ in Austin." The competition is fierce and the judges have a tough job ahead of them as they sample each team's ribs, pulled pork, and brisket. But it's not just about the barbecue.

The event also features live music, games, and activities for all ages. Kids can enjoy bounce houses, face painting, and a petting zoo, while adults can browse through the various vendor booths selling everything from handmade crafts to delicious desserts. And let's not forget about the food. In addition to the competition barbecue, there are also plenty of food trucks and vendors offering a variety of tasty treats. From classic BBQ favorites like smoked sausage and corn on the cob to unique dishes like BBQ nachos and pulled pork tacos, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

How to Participate in the BBQ Cook-Off

If you're interested in competing in the Austin, AR BBQ Cook-Off, there are a few things you need to know.

First, teams must register in advance and pay a small entry fee. Each team is responsible for bringing their own equipment and ingredients, but the event organizers provide the meat for the competition. For those who just want to attend and enjoy the festivities, admission to the BBQ Cook-Off is free. However, be sure to bring some cash as most vendors only accept cash payments.

Other Events in Austin, AR

While the BBQ Cook-Off is definitely the highlight of the year in Austin, there are plenty of other events and festivals that take place throughout the year. In the spring, the town hosts a Spring Fling festival with live music, food trucks, and a car show.

And during the holiday season, there's a Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony that brings the community together. In addition to these annual events, there are also smaller events that take place throughout the year such as farmers markets, movie nights in the park, and community yard sales.

Plan Your Visit to Austin, AR

If you're planning a trip to Austin, AR, be sure to check the town's event calendar to see what's happening during your visit. Whether you're a barbecue lover or just looking for a fun day out with the family, the annual BBQ Cook-Off is an event you won't want to miss. And while you're in town, be sure to explore all that Austin has to offer. From charming local shops and restaurants to beautiful parks and outdoor spaces, this small town has a lot to offer visitors.


The annual BBQ Cook-Off in Austin, AR is more than just a food festival. It's a celebration of community, tradition, and of course, delicious barbecue.

So mark your calendars for the first Saturday in October and come experience the best of what this charming town has to offer.

Tristan Oligee
Tristan Oligee

Evil travel lover. Proud pizza expert. Hipster-friendly coffee trailblazer. Web aficionado. Hipster-friendly food fanatic.

Leave a Comment

Required fields are marked *