The Marion Kiwanis BBQ Rendezvous started back in 2011. I started attending in 2012. Then a year or so later my pit master friend Bubba Knapp (owner of Bubba-Q's restaurant in Ottumwa, IA) drove his BBQ rig up to vend this event for about a five year stretch. I helped cook and we always had a blast with Bubba and his entire family. This is back when the BBQ Rendezvous was held at the town square downtown in Marion.
Many of my other BBQ friends from the KCBS pro competition circuit vended here such as BAMBQ, SMOKIN' BONES BBQ, DOWN HOME COOKIN & BBQ CO, SMOKEHOUSE 72 and others.
By the way, check out our review of SMOKEHOUSE 72's "Sweet & Savory" rub which you can purchase locally at The Grill Works in Marion. This rub is BBQ CRITIC APPROVED and is fantastic for all your cooking needs.
Here are a few of my personal photos from those early years at the BBQ Rendezvous. I have so many great memories of this BBQ event.
MARION METRO KIWANIS WEBSITE
Though I do miss the downtown location, Lowe Park does provide a more spacious area. Attendees can watch bands, participate in kids activities (like face painting, balloon animals , side walk chalking and bean bag tosses) and, of course, eating some tasty BBQ. Admission is FREE.
We really wanted to try all vendors, but it was not possible. There were no inexpensive samplers that would allow us to try all the pork, brisket and ribs. Since we did not get to try some of the food from other vendors, we could not make it a full blown contest. Our wallets were tapped, and our bellies full.
Maybe next year I could bring a team of BBQ CRITIC JUDGES and have a private contest. Each vendor could provide a meat sample to each judge and make it a blind turn in so we do not know whose food we are tasting. This would be fun to judge, and fair to all. I will give this some thought.
BOTTOM LINE: We both had good (and not so good) BBQ experiences here today. That said, we did eat a lot of food and spent lots of money. But hey! It's BBQ, right? We really want to show appreciation to those who pleased our palates, so here are the winners of this year's impromptu BBQ CRITIC APPROVED Vendor Awards at the 2023 Marion Kiwanis BBQ Rendezvous.
Hope everyone had a great time. Until next year!
- BBQ CRITIC