Iowa BBQ & Brew at the Ballpark raises more than $20,000

Matty Mack's BBQ from Cedar Rapids emerged as both the Grand Champion and earned first place in the Best Pork Butt category.

July 20, 2023

2 Min Read

More than $20,000 worth of ground pork will be provided to Iowa food banks and pantries because of the inaugural BBQ & Brew at the Ballpark, held last Saturday, July 15 at Principal Park in Des Moines. The Iowa Pork Producers Association partnered with the Iowa Cubs and nonprofit organization Cactus Cares for the event.

The Food Bank of Iowa and the Des Moines Area Religious Council will each receive $5,000 worth of ground pork. The rest of the funds will be used to provide ground pork for food pantries around the state.

Twenty-nine teams from across Iowa competed at the event in the Backyard BBQ Competition. Matty Mack's BBQ from Cedar Rapids was the big winner. They emerged as both the Grand Champion and earned first place in the Best Pork Butt category. Matty Mack's BBQ also won the People's Champion award by raising the most money for charity. Altogether, Matty Mack's BBQ earned $4,000 at the event.

"It's absolutely overwhelming," said Matt Fisher from Matty Mack's. "This is my first time ever winning a barbeque competition. We've been at this for a little over three years. I call it my passion project."

Fisher's son was playing in a youth baseball tournament in Des Moines the same day as the competition, and his daughter helped with the cooking. They were able to celebrate the big win on Saturday. Matty Mack's BBQ is a family project, with Matt Fisher sharing the team's name with his wife Mackenzie.

"I've seen other barbeque competitions where it's hard to integrate the public with the competition, and this was easily the most seamless I've ever seen," Fisher added. "It was an amazing day."

Get Sauced from Madrid earned second place overall, claiming the Reserve Champion award and earning $1,000.

First place in the Best Pork Belly competition was claimed by 6 Pack and a Rack from Marshalltown. T.O.'S Infamous BBQ from Altoona won first place for best Best Pork Ribs. They each earned $1,000. Cash prizes were given to the top five finishers for best pork butt, pork ribs and pork belly.

"Our first BBQ & Brew at the Ballpark was a huge success! We send thanks to all the competitors from across Iowa that competed and everyone who came out to enjoy some delicious Iowa pork. We raised a lot of funds to help the food insecure in our communities," said Iowa Pork Producers Association President Trish Cook. "This was a total team effort working with some great organizations."

Berkwood Farms donated all the pork for the Backyard BBQ Competition and Fareway Stores provided numerous resources as well. 

Plans are already underway for next year's BBQ and Brew at the Ballpark. For more information about ways Iowa pig farmers give back to the community, visit the website.

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