There are few things more primal than cooking a big piece of meat over an open flame, so it's only natural that America takes a lot of pride in its regional variations on barbecue. Visions of unlit shacks in Memphis and Kansas City selling charred hunks of beef and pork may fuel your foodie's dreams, but California has good barbecue, too. Santa Maria tri-tip is for more than just people on weekend wine-tasting trips, you know. The third annual West Coast BBQ Classic is here to help shine a light on a nation of sticky-fingered aficionados and to present as many of those mouth-watering styles as possible. More than 60 contestants will compete for cash prizes and the title of BBQ Pitmaster Champion. Bring an appetite, but leave your vegetarian friends at home. Queen Mary Events Park, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach; Sat., May 10, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; adults $10 online/$15 at the door, children $5; BBQ tasting tickets $2. (562) 499-1771, queenmary.com/bbq.
Sat., May 10, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 2014
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