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Highlights from the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival — Eating America

On Eating America, Anthony Anderson visited the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival in Tryon, N.C.

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If You BBQ It, They Will Come

Every summer, more than 25,000 people visit the small town of Tryon, N.C., to watch the State Barbecue Championship and sample some of the best smoked specialties around. While the competitors are preparing, Anthony challenges a local kid to a bull-riding contest.

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Competition in the Air

Even though it's held in a small town, this festival pulls in an impressive 75 competitors vying for $20,000 in cash prizes. The competition is open to all barbecue entries, the most popular of which are chicken, pulled pork and brisket.

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A First-Timer

Although Shawne Shell isn't entering anything into the competition, he's getting attention for his over-the-top offerings. Anthony says he's never eaten elk before, so he takes his chances on an elk burger that Shawne says is very similar to deer.

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The Debate About Fat

Wayne Blessing is a fourth-year competitor who got sixth place last year for his barbecue brisket. Going against what most chefs recommend, Wayne smokes his meat fat-side-down to help create a crunchy bark on the top. "It's one of those meats where you have to love it or it doesn't love you back," he says.

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