A New Way to Celebrate Pork Is Ready to Hit the Grill

An association’s new partnership sparks creativity and inclusiveness among its members, giving them more inspiring—and delicious—ways to showcase their skills.

After a year in seclusion, firing up the barbecue never sounded so good. The Kansas City Barbecue Society is upping the ante this season, in partnership with the National Pork Board, by launching the inaugural “Celebrate Real Pork” series, which will add a new component to KCBS-sanctioned barbecue competitions across the country.

“We are delighted to encourage pitmasters of all experience levels to showcase their skill with one of America’s favorite backyard grilling proteins—the pork chop!” said KCBS CEO Emily Detwiler in a press release.

KCBS’s typical competitions have four required meats, and two are pork-based—pork ribs and pork shoulder. When thinking about new ways to add fun and creative programs to competitions, “it seemed like a natural fit to include more pork,” Detwiler said. So, she reached out to the National Pork Board to talk about partnership opportunities.

As she does in all her partnership discussions, Detwiler focused on trying to understand how KCBS could help fulfill NPB’s goals, she said. The National Pork Board wanted to reach both professional pitmasters and backyard grillers to showcase the versatility and flavor of pork on the grill or smoker.

As the groups continued to brainstorm, they realized that adding a new cut to the mix—pork chops—would open more opportunities for competitors to showcase their skills and creativity.

The new series will be integrated into 14 KCBS-sanctioned barbecue competitions across the country, kicking off in Liberty, Indiana, on Sunday, May 2. The series will also draw in a new generation of young pitmasters with adult-supervised Kid’s Cue contests featuring ground pork for kids 10 and under and boneless pork chops for kids 11 to 15.

A previous Kids Cue winner. (Courtesy Kansas City Barbecue Society)

KCSB has 20,000 members across the U.S. and in 42 countries. Members are pitmasters, certified barbecue judges, contest representatives, and contest organizers. The Celebrate Real Pork series benefits KCBS members by giving them more chances to participate and compete. The series adds thousands of dollars in prize money and will showcase winning pitmasters’ recipes across KCSB and National Pork Board digital platforms.

“We really thrive because of our members and our volunteers,” Detwiler said. “Continuously trying to find ways to recognize your members and your volunteers at different levels is so important.”

(bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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