Festival of Discovery Logo
Competitions,  Event Summary

Competition Summary: Festival of Discovery

The 19th Annual South Carolina Festival of Discovery proved to be a great competition for Smokin J’s Barbeque and the City of Greenwood.

Just under 90 teams competed for over $12,500.00 in cash prizes for the best brisket, pork, ribs, dessert, hash and “anything goes,” categories.

Despite not walking on stage, we are very satisfied with our results, considering the incredible array of professional cook teams at this event.

How Our Numbers Stacked Up

ribs just out of the smoker with smokin js barbeque logo
Our ribs actually look darker in this photo – they were the perfect mahogany color, that we go for!

We are most proud of our pulled pork entry.   It was the number one box on our table!

Our ribs favored almost as well; scoring 21st!

One judge was way off the mark, as he gave us a very low score on appearance and said it was the worst box on the table.

However, the other five judges indicated it was the best, or the second best on the table.

Finishing better than half the field, our brisket was 40th; and our chicken was 41st.

We are very surprised by our brisket results, as we felt it was over cooked.  We did not even place our burnt ends in the box.

Despite the cooking result, our brisket was very flavorful; which resulted in delicious brisket tacos for lunch – CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE!

Promo for essentials for bbq competition






Festival of Discovery for Cook Teams

We have cooked many competitions.  Often they are located on main street, within the city sponsoring the event; however, Greenwood, South Carolina exemplifies what a city can accomplish, when it supports such an event.

This was the 19th year of Festival of Discovery and we could tell, this city was ready for everything!

Maps and specific instructions are emailed to cooked teams several weeks before the event.  Large parking lots, (one at the north end and one at the south end of main street), are used as staging areas for large cook rigs, prior to the closing of Main Street.

Loading in and setting up our cook site was easy!  The city had plenty of volunteers coordinating the arrival of teams and vendors.

Water and electricity were already installed and labeled for each cook site.

For our first time at Festival of Discovery, we felt blessed, as we were assigned a site only 50 yards from turn-ins.  Some teams were walking five or six blocks.  These were teams participating in the “People’s Choice” category.

Event organizers were proactive in placing those teams all together.  We did not participate in “people’s choice.”

Ash buckets, large trash cans and grease buckets are provided to all cook teams – IMPRESSIVE!

Despite local restaurants and bars staying open till 2 a.m. and music playing at the main stage until 11 p.m., everyone was composed. We heard of no incidents – of course, there was plenty of police patrolling the area.

Smokin J's Barbeque set up at the Festival of Discovery



Attending Festival of Discovery

Besides a barbecue competition, the event hosts craft vendors, an amusement fair for kids, food, a dunk machine with local news celebrities, nearby restaurants, food (other than bbq), and music all weekend long.

We walked to several local restaurants.

Buffalo Grill, a local pub, has good wings, burgers, liquor and several beers on tap.

The Mill House is a local pizzeria which was very busy Saturday night when we visited with our friends, Que the Musick (Glen and Melanie Musick).

A Dollar General was within walking distance, in case teams forget something – like we did – we forgot plastic wrap and batteries!

Admission was free to the festival, however, within the confines of the event, {about 8 square blocks of uptown Greenwood} visitors can purchase wrist-bands for $5 and carry alcohol outside local restaurants!

Organizers even had a back-up plan for the awards ceremony.   A heavy downpour arrived just minutes before awards.

Volunteers drove by on golf carts informing teams the ceremony was moving to the theater.  First responders and volunteers used dozens of golf carts.

In Summary…

South Carolina Festival of Discovery was enjoyable and very well organized.

We definitely wish we could’ve come home with checks; however, Julie Wilkie and the city of Greenwood did such an outstanding job – Smokin J’s Barbeque will definitely sign up to participate again!


JULY 10 – 12, 2020

cook trailer with team banner and Oakridge banner

THANK YOU to our sponsors, who continue to help Smokin J’s Barbeque continue to compete!

Oakridge Rubs

Dixie Crystals

BBQ Guru

D.C. Webster




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