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International BBQ Teams Are Headed to Orlando March 2nd and 3rd for Sonny's Smokin Showdown

287 S Tampa Ave.
Orlando, FL 32805
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The annual Barbecue Invitational and Music Festival is set to host 10,000+ locals, while more than 50 pit-masters from Australia, Canada and Beyond compete for $68,000.

This year’s Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown is promising high barbecue competition paired with heightened senses for the expected 10,000 guests to celebrate the culture of barbecue on March 2nd to the 3rd, 2018.

Sonny’s BBQ announced in November 2017 that it was set to move its annual event from Sanford to downtown Orlando at Tinker and McCracken Fields, part of Camping World Stadium located at 1 Citrus Bowl Place, Orlando, FL to accommodate the attendance demand and the increased number of barbecue teams traveling to Orlando to compete.

“We’re thrilled to put on this invitation-only competition that brings together the world’s top pitmasters, including Country Boys BBQ from Australia and Team Eatapedia from Canada, in one arena for an epic barbecue battle, said Bryan Mroczka, Head Pitmaster of Sonny’s BBQ.

The two-day celebration will include the following:

Friday, March 2nd: Barbecue Invitational, Sanctioned by Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS)
-More than 50 professional pitmaster teams from around the world (Australia, Canada and beyond) will be onsite to compete in five categories for a total purse of $68,000
-This event is not open to the public, but media are allowed for interviews.

Saturday, March 3rd: All-day event for families and children of all ages 
-Live music with top country artists Rodney Atkins and High Valley
-Multiple food vendors including Firehouse BBQ, Donut Love, and Lickity Split
-A kid’s zone area with fun and games
-Donut and rib-eating contests
-Special cooking demonstrations from The Polite Pig’s Chef Jeff Adema, Sonny’s BBQ Head Pitmaster Bryan Mroczka and more.

Teams are judged on five different meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and a mystery meat, which will be announced at the event. The grand champion team will receive $20,000. The total prize pool totals $68,000.

"We're looking forward to hosting 'Sonny's Smokin’ Barbecue' in Orlando for the first time and welcoming some of the best pitmasters from around the world to share their tips and techniques," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "Barbecue is a big deal in the South so the competition should be fierce and fun."

Tickets are available HERE for $15 up to March 2, 2018. Kids 12 and under are free. VIP tickets can also be purchased for $40.

For more information about Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown, please visit For more information about Sonny’s BBQ, visit

Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown Invitational is a national barbecue competition hosted by Sonny’s BBQ and sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS). The competition and large-scale festival is designed to bring barbecue enthusiasts from all over the country to the heart of Florida for a full day of live music, family fun and good food.

A first of its kind in the area, Sonny’s BBQ created the Smokin’ Showdown to share its passion and expertise with the barbecue community, as well as provide a platform for pitmasters to showcase their talents alongside some of the best in the business. Last year, Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown hosted approximately 10,000 attendees and more than 50 competing teams.

With 112 locations spanning the Southeast, Sonny’s BBQ is one of the largest barbecue restaurant companies in the country. Its signature pulled pork, sweet tea, and unique appetizers like the Redneck Egg Rolls have afforded the restaurant the title of “Best Barbecue Chain in America” by The Daily Meal for three consecutive years, and counting. Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille founded Sonny’s BBQ in 1968 in Gainesville, Fla. in hopes of creating a local barbecue joint for their community to enjoy.