The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 18, 2014

Elkmont Lions Club annual backyard barbecue competition this weekend

— When folks talk about all things Southern, more than likely barbecue is at the top of the list.

Just ask those waiting for the annual Smokin' Railroad Street Barbecue Cook-off set to kick of this Friday in Elkmont.

Yum … barbecue.

Those who don’t know about the annual event, created to help the Elkmont Lions Club fund a number of civics activities, will want to know all about it after the unforgettable smell of some of the area’s finest barbecue permeates the Elkmont air this weekend.

Grills will be smoking as at least 26 competitors work to grill up and dish out their best barbecue. More than half of the competitors are new to the backyard competition and will be cooking up their best batch of barbecue for the first time.

The cook-off festivities kick off at 6 p.m. Friday with live music. Cooking will get underway Saturday morning.

Vendors will be open at 8 a.m. Saturday. An antique tractor show will also take place.

People’s Choice tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. Tickets are $1, with tasting starting at 11 a.m. in the Red Caboose. Winners will be announced at 2:30 p.m., or as soon as possible Saturday. The winner will receive a plaque and $100.

Concessions, including barbecue plates and sandwiches, hamburgers and hotdogs will be available Saturday.

The cook-off is the brainchild of Elkmont resident Larry Pylant. He and wife Susan, who had attended a few cook-offs, thought a backyard cook-off was exactly what Limestone County needed. He brought the idea to the Lions Club, where he is a member, in February 2011. Three months later — despite the April 27 tornadoes — the first Smokin' Railroad Street Barbecue Cook-off was underway.

Susan Pylant said organizers discussed canceling the event due to the devastation caused by the tornadoes but decided it would be a good way for residents to get their minds off the destruction.

Nine backyard cooks took part in the first competition. Now, five years later, that number has nearly tripled. 

The competition is also part of the Alabama Barbecue Trail.

Proceeds from the event help the Lions Club with a number of civic duties, including purchasing eyeglasses and eye exams for students in the Elkmont school district. It also helps provide two $1,500 scholarships to Elkmont seniors and send children to Seale Harris, a camp for children with diabetes.

To find out more, visit

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