An Insiders Guide to the JD BBQ: 9 Things to Know Before Heading to The Jack on Saturday

The stage is set here in Lynchburg for the 33rd annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. (Photo Provided)

The air smells like sour mash and wood smoke again here in Lynchburg. It’s here. It’s finally here. The 2022 Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue kicks off on Saturday in Lynchburg. All of us want you to have an amazing time, and that includes giving you all the information you need to have a fun, safe experience in Lynchburg. Here are a couple things to keep in mind as you head to the Holler:

1 | The weather should be fantastic. Any longtime Jack Daniel’s Barbecue fan knows that the weather can sometimes not cooperate. Several years ago, teams hovered inside the Judge’s Tent prior to the award’s ceremony during a monsoon. Seriously, we thought we were going to need a canoe to get home. But this Saturday should start at 53 degree and climb all the way to 80 with nothing but blue skies.

2 | The event is free. Thanks to “Our Benevolent Sponsor” the annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue is free but local teachers and students will be posted at the entry gate to Wiseman Park and will except a voluntary donation. All the money raised that day goes directly to the Moore County School System.

3 | Don’t park in people’s yard or on the shoulder of the road. The folks here in Lynchburg are known worldwide for their hospitality but neither locals nor law enforcement really have any sense of humor about those attempting to eek by with a dangerous free spot. Good news though, parking with shuttle service will be available at Moore County High School for just $10. Shuttle buses will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You’ll also spot various non-profits offering parking for a fee around town.

4 | Yes, there is an open container law in Lynchburg. Yes, it’s one big barbecue party but there are rules. The folks at the distillery recently went before the Metro Council and purchased a festival permit that allows them to serve their Country Cocktails at the Jack Daniel’s Event Center located on the Lynchburg Square between the Moon Pie Store and The Dry County Still. This means that those of legal drinking age can purchase Country Cocktails at the festival and drink it inside the event center footprint but walking and drinking from an open container beyond that is a no no. Metro Moore County does have an Open Container Law and it will be enforced this weekend, according to Metro Sheriff Tyler Hatfield. Break it and you might go home with an over $200 fine.

5 | You can do some good while in Lynchburg. In addition to voluntary donations to the Moore County School System at the gates, many of the vendors set up on the Lynchburg Square will be non-profits, community groups, and local student sports teams. Jack Daniel’s will also have booths set up to take donations for Operation Ride Home, a program designed to assist junior-enlisted service members and those with families travel from their military bases to homes around the country.

6 | Teams aren’t very chatty during the competition. A KCBS sanctioned event is serious business and many consider The Jack to be the Super Bowl of competitive barbecue. Teams manage an exhaustive check list and need to stick to a strict schedule. They aren’t very chatty until the last turn in time around 2:15 p.m.

7 | Turn in times are serious. Beginning a little before noon on Saturday and extending until the final turn in around 2:15 p.m., you’ll notice the energy in Lynchburg take a tense turn. “On your left” … “coming through” … if you hear these words being shouted from behind you on Saturday, don’t be alarmed but it’s best to just stand still and yield to the likely trio of barbecue team members coming in hot.

The Jack is a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned event and considered by many to be the world’s most prestigious barbecue competition. The competition is stiff and rules unbending. Teams compete in seven categories – Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder/Butts, Beef Brisket, Chicken, Dessert, Cook’s Choice, and Jack Daniel’s Sauce. Boxes must be turned in pristine shape and they must be turned in on time. Each table includes six certified judges and once the table captain opens the box, it gets passed around the table for blind judging. And trust us, you do not want them to see a messy box with jumbled meat everywhere. That’s why it’s so important to give teams a wide berth at turn in times. Judging begins at 11:30 a.m. with the sauce category and concludes at 2:30 p.m. with desserts.

Don’t worry … things get real loose after judging finishes around 3 p.m.

8 | Teams can’t really serve the public barbecue. There will be plenty of food vendors and food trucks on site on Saturday but most teams are set up with kitchens that can serve the public. During the event, they are preoccupied with cooking and after the final turn in, many are packing up prior to the final award’s ceremony for the long ride home. You might get lucky and a team might offer a nibble but it’s rare.

9 | You can watch the Awards Ceremony. The Jack’s Award’s Ceremony kicks off at 5 p.m. at the Judge’s Tent and there will be bleachers set up for the general public. Come on down and watch. If you can’t make the final ceremony, keep an eye on The Lynchburg Times website and Facebook page. We pride ourselves on being the first to announce the winners. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently-owned, community newspaper located in Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of The Jack Daniel Distillery. We focus on public service, non-partisan, rural journalism. We cover the Metro Moore County government, local tourism, Moore County schools, high school sports, Motlow State Community College, as well as whiskey industry news and regional and state stories that affect our readers.}