BBQ competition winners donate prize money to Iowa flood victims

Big Al’s Smokin Good BBQ to serve pork loin sandwiches in Rock Valley.

June 25, 2024

3 Min Read

One of the winning teams at Saturday’s BBQ & Brew at the Ballpark competition plans to donate all their earnings to help their neighbors in northwest Iowa who are dealing with severe flooding. A panel of celebrity judges chose Big Al’s Smokin Good BBQ from Le Mars as the winner for best Pork Butt. Big Al’s also won second place in the Pork Rib category, earning a total of $1,100.

Allen Devos and his team members are from northwest Iowa, where local communities were severely impacted by flooding.

“We all made it home Saturday night, but it was an adventure. At one point we were one mile from our house but had to drive another 60 miles to get home because of blocked and flooded roads,” Devos said Monday morning. “As a team we donated all our $1,100 in winnings to the flood victims.”

The Iowa Pork Producers Association will match that donation to assist flood victims in northwest Iowa.

Devos and his team are also going to be helping feed people impacted by the floods, and those pitching in to help.

“We are pulling out all the smokers and setting up in Rock Valley to feed the residents and volunteers pork loin sandwiches. The destruction in Rock Valley is just unimaginable,” Devos added.

While accepting his team’s award in the celebrity competition on Saturday, Devos said he would be retiring as head pit master of the Big Al’s Smokin Good BBQ team. He hopes to return to BBQ & Brew at the Ballpark next year in a reduced role, as a member of a team.

The 2nd annual BBQ & Brew at the Ballpark, held Saturday at Principal Park in Des Moines, raised more than $20,000 to benefit food banks in the state. Iowans from all over the state spent an afternoon consuming delicious Iowa pork while 30 backyard barbecue teams were competing for more than $10,000 in cash prizes. The Iowa Pork Producers Association partnered with the Iowa Cubs to organize the event.

The team of Heavy & Sweaty BBQ from Washington, Iowa was the big winner Saturday. They earned the Grand Champion award and placed in the top five in multiple categories.

“It’s awesome what Iowa pork producers do for the state,” said Heavy & Sweaty BBQ team member Jeran Courtney. “Keep up the good work. We’ve got buddies that farm and farming is a big part of what this is all about. We think giving back to the food banks of Iowa is a great thing to do as well.”

Team Nobody from Owatonna, Minnesota claimed the Reserve Champion prize, and first place for best Pork Ribs.

The Community Choice Credit Union team from Urbandale, Iowa was the judges’ top choice for best Pork Loin.

6-Pack and a Rack from Marshalltown, Iowa claimed first place for best Pork Butt from the judges and in the People’s Choice competition. Smoke Daddy’s BBQ from Grimes placed first for best Pork Loin in the People’s Choice competition. Each People’s Choice winner picked up $1,500 and a $1,500 donation will be made to their food pantries of choice.

“It was a great turnout, even better than last year,” said Rod Leman, chair of the IPPA's promotions committee. “We had plenty of great Iowa barbecue and everybody got more than enough to eat. The competitors here were fantastic. They’re great folks and we love them.”

Berkwood Farms donated all the pork for the barbecue competition and Fareway Stores provided numerous resources as well. Smokey D’s BBQ handed out numerous pork loin sandwiches for attendees.

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