High School BBQ Inc.'s  (HSBBQ) regional competitions are heating up. The Burnet, Texas-based, nonprofit organization, created five years ago, has grown from a handful of students to more than 115 high school teams competing from across the state for the HSBBQ State of Texas Championship title, HSBBQ scholarships and a prize package including a total of $25,000 in institutional scholarships from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.

"We started as a different kind of extracurricular option for high school students interested in BBQ education and team competitions focusing on problem-solving, time management and leadership skills," said Marcus McMellon, president of Escoffier's Austin campus and board member of High School BBQ Inc. "Our competitions apply acquired knowledge and a passion for BBQ. These teams start competing before dawn to select their cuts of meat, manage their fires and follow specific rules to present their dishes within very tight deadlines. They know their BBQ and come prepared with a well-thought-out game plan designed to smoke out their competition," added McMellon.

High School BBQ Inc. has already conducted eight of the 11 regional BBQ competitions taking place from September to April, leading up to the State Championship Competition on May 5th and 6th at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas. The top qualifiers to date received a total of $260,000 in institutional scholarships from partner and sponsor Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. They include:

O'Donnell High School Competition (Sept. 23–24)

  • Grand Champion - Screamin' Eagles - O'Donnell High School
  • Reserve Champion - Grillin' Eagles - O'Donnell High School
  • 3rd Place - Canyon Smoke Show - Black Canyon High School

Canyon High School (Oct. 21–22)

  • Grand Champion - Blazin' Eagles - O'Donnell High School
  • Reserve Champion - Canyon Smoke Show - Black Canyon High School
  • 3rd Place - Smokin Rangers - Greenwood High School

Graham High School (Nov. 1819)

  • Grand Champion - 205 Pitmasters - Team Smoke - Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy
  • Reserve Champion - Eagle Smoke - Goldthwaite High School
  • 3rd Place - Smokin Steers - Graham High School

Carroll High School (Dec. 2–3)

  • Grand Champion - Smokin' Steers - Graham High School
  • Reserve Champion - Smoke & Company - Carroll High School
  • 3rd Place - Prosper Pitmasters - Prosper High School

Uvalde High School (Dec. 9–10)

  • Grand Champion - Coyote Grillers - Uvalde High School
  • Reserve Champion - Arrowhead BBQ Red - Jourdanton High School
  • 3rd Place - South Texas Smokers - Cotulla High School

McMullen High School (Jan. 6–7)

  • Grand Champion - Poteet Sizzling Strawberries - Poteet High School
  • Reserve Champion -  South Texas Smokers - Cotulla High School
  • 3rd Place -  Arrowhead - Team Red

Van Vleck High School (Jan. 27–28)

  • Grand Champion - Burnt Offerings - Van Vleck High School
  • Reserve Champion - Top Dogs - Sweeny High School
  • 3rd Place - Bussin BBQ - Sweeny High School

Hudson High School (Feb. 3–4)

  • Grand Champion - Hudson Smokies - Hudson High School
  • Reserve Champion - Smoke Signals - Lipan High School
  • 3rd Place - You Can't Make Me Say It - Reagan County High School

The full list of the High School BBQ Inc. 77 state qualifying teams to date can be found on the organization's website.

The regional competitions require student-led teams to prepare dishes in five categories: dessert, beans, chicken, ribs and brisket. Teams of up to five start at 5:00 a.m. and work with wood-burning pits, many of which they built themselves. Adult team mentors are allowed to offer advice but cannot enter the 20 x 20-foot roped-off areas where the teams prepare their food. Students manage their time to effectively plan and execute the many steps between setup and turn-in deadlines. Judges assign points for each of the five categories to determine overall Grand Champions, Reserve Champions and third-place winners. 

"Regardless of whether these young people pursue a career in culinary arts or related fields in agriculture or the food service industry, based on what we have seen, they are more than prepared for the challenges of professional life," said McMellon. "High School [BBQ] Inc. was the first BBQ competition founded in Texas with the mission to engage high school students and enhance leadership skills, work ethics, and values. It continues to grow in popularity with high schools and in the community. Escoffier is honored to partner with them and watch these rising culinary stars shine," added McMellon.

For additional information on the five remaining regional competitions leading up to the May 5th and 6th 2023 HSBBQ State Championship Competition taking place in Round Rock, Texas, visit, High School BBQ Inc.

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is the largest accredited provider of online and campus-based culinary training and education in the U.S. (based on comparable student data reported in IPEDS). With ground campuses in Boulder, Colorado, and Austin, Texas, it is the only U.S.-accredited institution, available through its Boulder, Colorado, campus, to offer 100% online culinary degrees, which include culinary classes and hands-on industry externships. Ranked in the top 10 culinary schools in the United States by USA Today and number one in the world by Chef's Pencil, the school's professional programs offer the proven combination of a classic and contemporary approach to modern industry skills training, as well as sustainability-centered and business-focused curriculum. Escoffier offers professional programs in culinary arts, pastry arts, plant-based culinary arts, holistic nutrition and wellness, food entrepreneurship and hospitality and restaurant operations management. For details on programs offered online and on-campus, visit Escoffier.edu. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado, is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET). Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas, is nationally accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE). Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is a Great Place to Work-Certified institution, a Newsweek Top Online Learning School, and its Boulder campus is designated as a Military Friendly School.

Source: Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts