Sip & Swine BBQ Festival in 360°, Mar 4-5 2016, Coolray Field, Lawrenceville
Think of the Sip & Swine BBQ Festival like Netflix. Instead of watching an episode a week (like going out to eat BBQ once very week at a different restaurant), you get to binge-watch for a weekend (and stroll from booth to booth sampling BBQ from competition-level teams).
Friday afternoon was a fantastic time for our initial visit because it wasn’t crowded like I expect Saturday to be. It gave us a great opportunity to get started sampling some awesome Q before the long lines get started.
This 360° photo was taken Friday, Mar 4 2016
Sip and Swine BBQ Festival in 360 from Fri Mar 4, 2016 #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Our first stop was at Branch House Tavern. Unlike many of the competition teams, this is also a standalone restaurant in Flowery Branch. The thing that caught my eye was their Brisket Dawg. The staff there eagerly explained that a Brisket Dawg is a hot dog bun, filled with brisket meat, piled high with mac and cheese and then covered with your choice of BBQ sauce (you guys know me, I chose HOT). While it’s a bloody mess to eat, its so daggone good you tend to forget about appearances.
We found a table nearby DW BBQ and Catering. While I was eating, I spotted those words that I love to see – Brunswick Stew. I couldn’t resist. For $5 you get a whole pint, which I shared with Melanie. We’re really, really picky about Brunswick Stew but I have to declare that this was darn near perfect. The consistency, flavor and texture was spot-on and I told that Melanie that, next to hers, it was some of the best I’ve ever had.
We had just finished up the Brunswick Stew and the guys at Black Tie BBQ start taking racks of ribs out of their smoker. I couldn’t resist getting up and getting a photo. I sat back down and the guy brings a 1/4 rack of ribs over for us to try out. OMG, it was a CRIME to put sauce on this! First, yes, of course, the meat fell right off of a clean bone. Holy cow, it tasted like bacon. Awesome work there, guys!
We made our way over to the VIP tent where we were met by Cindy and Jim Lloyd. They were the folks who brought the Sip & Swine BBQ Festival together as a benefit for the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter. Jim was kind enough to introduce to Maureen Kornowa, the Executive Director of the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter.
The Gwinnett Children’s Shelter is a residential care facility that provides both long and short term services to children who have experienced abuse, neglect, violence, abandonment, and are in need of care in a loving and nurturing environment. They provide a valuable service for this community so please click here to donate to the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter.
When we returned on Saturday, we were stunned by how many people had showed up to support the event! Things were in full swing and people, young and old, were dancing and grooving to the music provided by the band, Red Georgia Clay. Voted 2014 Georgia Country Band of the year, they played a great mix of new and old country, classic rock tunes, as well as Southern rocks favorites. As evidence of just how many people came through during the day, a lot of vendor were sold out by the late afternoon. So next year, come early to make sure that you get the widest range of selections to taste from.
This 360° photo was taken Saturday, Mar 5 2016
Sip & Swine #BBQ #festival #Lawrenceville #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Now, with over 90 teams competing and tons of recognitions and prizes to be awarded, the awards ceremony got started at five and lasted almost an hour. In addition to the People’s Choice Awards, the competition judging was conducted by representatives from the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). As KCBS members ourselves, we felt a special kinship to the BBQ families gathered to witness the awards ceremony.
There was such a great vibe going on at the Sip & Swine BBQ Festival. We had a great time and the crowd was awesome. Best of all, they raised a bunch of money to support the kids at the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter. If you didn’t get a chance to make it, you can click here to donate to the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter.
Until next year, guten appetit!