The History

Thousands of people go hog wild for a taste of authentic barbecue and a chance to see a professional cooking competition up close at Smoke on the Mountain each year in Galax, VA. This competition, held every third weekend in July, is Virginia's official state barbecue championship.

The streets of downtown Galax are packed with people and the air is filled with fragrant clouds of hickory smoke and the tangy bite of vinegar with mustard, mingling with sweetness of tomato and the mouth-watering sizzle of slow cooked pork.

Smoke on the Mountain promises all that, plus live music, crafters, vendors, children's activities and other attractions on several blocks of historic downtown Galax.

This year's 10th Annual Smoke on the Mountain, July 18-19, is sponsored by the Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce and supported by The Galax Smokehouse and the City of Galax and many sponsors.

Galax is known for pleasing the ear as the world's Capitol of Bluegrass and Old-time Music, and its natural beauty is a feast for the eyes. Each summer, the city adds the smells and tastes of barbecue to its symphony for the senses.

Teams from all over the country vie for the championship - and that's more than just bragging rights. There's a total purse of $10,000 this, and winning in Galax earns the champs a spot in the 2014 "The Memphis BBQ Network" World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

The MBN teams compete for the grand champion prize, a coveted hand-made banjo by Galax master instrument maker Tom Barr. Runners-up get fiddle trophies. The instruments reflect that city's long heritage of traditional music.

Many of the top teams on the national barbecue circuit, which you may have seen on The Food Network or The Travel Channel, compete in Galax. Celebrity barbecue cook Myron Mixon is a frequent competitor, for example.

The teams compete in categories like whole hog, pork ribs, pork shoulder, sauce and the "Anything Butt" category for everything from beef to seafood. Local amateur BBQ-ers compete in the "Patio Porkers" division for a chance to enter the big leagues next year as professional teams.

This is a dual contest for Galax, as the event adds a Kansas City BBQ Society competition to its traditional Memphis BBQ Network-affiliated cook-off.

That means more teams, more competition and more smoky sweet goodness for visitors to sample.

Smoke on the Mountain features vendors selling BBQ and lots of other foods, along with a chance to try the competition-quality entries for free! Stick around after the judging ends on Saturday and visit the team booths to get free samples.

So, come to the cool mountains of Virginia this July for a hot time at Smoke on the Mountain, and experience true southern hospitality at its finest.

For additional information, you may contact Ron Passmore at 276-233-0334 or by email at

Barbecue is defined by the Smoke of the Mountain Barbecue Cooking Contest as pork meat (FRESH OR FROZEN AND UNCURED) prepared only on a wood and/or charcoal fire, basted or not, as the cook sees fit, with any consumable substances and sauces the cook believes necessary.


Whole Hog Entry
Defined by the Smoke on the Mountain Barbecue Cooking Contest as an entire hog, whose dressed weight is 85 pounds or more prior to removal of the head, feet and skin, and which must be cooked as one complete unit on one grill surface. No portion or portions of the whole hog may be separated or removed and subsequently returned to the grill, prior to or during the cooking process.

Pork Shoulder Entry
Defined by the Smoke on the Mountain Barbecue Cooking Contest as the portion containing the arm bone, shank bone and a portion of the blade bone. The pork ham, considered a shoulder entry, contains the hind leg bone. Boston butts or picnic shoulder alone are not valid entries.

Pork Rib Entry
Defined by the Smoke on the Mountain Barbecue Cooking Contest as the portion containing the ribs and further classified as a spare rib or loin rib portion. Country style ribs are not a valid entry.

Patio Porkers
This pork division encourages teams to participate without competing with the "Big Pigs." Criteria for this division includes:
• The team or its head cook must not have competed in a The Memphis BBQ Network
Sanctioned Barbecue Contest. This does not include competing previously in a Patio Porker Division.
• Total grill cooking area is no larger than 15 sq ft.

• Teams must cook with charcoal and/or wood only. No gas cooking allowed.
• Spare or loin ribs only. No country style ribs. See "Pork Rib Entry."