Kicking off summer with ‘slow and low’ BBQ
"It’s a change in name and a change in concept. We’re just getting back to feeding the public and being more of a family, community event."
According to Coalville Mayor Trever Johnson, a change is just what the Coalville City Barbecue Festival needed. Saturday, June 14 marks the seventh anniversary of the festival and the first time in two years that the event will not be a cooking competition.
Now, with expanded barbecue styles, a slew of entertainment and expanded advertising, the festival aims to draw crowds from across the state.
"We have heavily marketed outside of Summit County and we anticipate a really good turnout," Johnson said. "There’s not really an event, activity or festival in Utah that highlights the slow-smoked barbecue style (we do here)."
Smoked barbecue is just the beginning. Five cooks — including Johnson, who is on the pro barbecue circuit — will craft mouth-watering masterpieces including rotisserie pork, cooked over coals on a spit, smoked pulled pork, beef brisket and chicken. Another local restaurant owner will also prepare a traditional Mexican pork.
This isn’t a fast food approach, either. Johnson and his fellow cooks will begin roasting and smoking Friday night and won’t stop until it’s time for dinner to be served on Saturday evening.
"Anytime you can turn the temperature down and cook slow, it takes longer but you retain the moisture and create tenderness," Johnson said. "Rotisserie is direct heat, like roasting a marshmallow. I do a traditional, slow and low, barbecue style in a smoker. We’ll have a variety of meats to choose from."
In addition to a great meal, visitors can enjoy a range of entertainment for all ages. Inflatable slides, a dunk tank, games and face painting will be available for children, free of charge. Adults can enjoy music from several local groups and the Chance Anderson Band, the festival’s headlining act, also free.
"We were thrilled that the Chance Anderson Band was excited to come back," Johnson said. "They did a really good job last year — there was great feedback from the crowd and community. We’ve seen that excitement continue since announcing they were coming back."
Gourmet barbecue and quality entertainment are all part of the city’s efforts to restore the festival to its roots. In recent years, instead of a community gathering, the pig roast was styled as a contest. Last year, the event was moved from the second week of June to September, where Johnson said they competed for attendance with high school sports and the BYU – University of Utah football game.
This year, returning to its June date, Johnson believes the festival will be bigger and better than ever.
"I think we needed to get away from the contest format and be more of an inclusive event," Johnson said. "We’re going back to the traditional way that it was done. We’ve made some changes and we’ve tweaked some things. It’s only going to grow from here."
The Coalville City Barbecue Festival will be held Saturday, June 14 at the Summit County Fairgrounds. Gates open at 6 p.m. Early admission is $6/person online or $8/person at the gate. For more information or to purchase presale tickets, visit http://www.coalvillecity.org.
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