Now that fans know the entertainers who'll take the NRG Stadium stage or the 2023 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, it's time to turn attention to the unofficial kickoff of the rodeo run.
The 2023 World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contestwill run Thursday, February 23 through Saturday, February 25 on the NRG Stadium grounds. The wildly popular event sees more than 250 teams from around the world will compete for best in show in sections like brisket, ribs, chicken, Go Texan, Dutch Oven dessert, and the Open Contest category.
Cook teams show up and show out in pits disguised as fire engines and covered wagons, to airplanes and armadillos. The more than 700 entries compete for best overall barbecue and other categories on Saturday, February 25, with results announced at The Garden Stage at 7 pm.
As always, team tents are invitation-only. But rodeo visitors can enjoy several public venues, including The Garden, Rockin' Bar-B-Que Saloon, and the Chuckwagon. More fun and wild rides can be found at the carnival. The private tents are a see-be seen affair with presenting sponsor Cotton Holdings sure to unveil yet another over-the-top tent that's as big as Texas.
Young grillers and smokers can compete in the Jr. Cook-off contest on Friday, February 24. Kids between the ages of 8-14 will be given a single steak to prepare that will be judged on appearance/presentation, tenderness, and taste. Awards will be presented to the top three contestants.
The party continues at The Garden Stage, where Texas Country acts strum their stuff, while the Rockin’ Bar-B-Que Saloon also features live, a DJ spinning tunes, and a large patio.
Visitors should consider ride sharing or look for parking at these lots:
- Location: 610 to Main St., enter Gate 16 off Main St.
- Hours: 6 am to 10 pm
- Price: $25
- Location: West Bellfort and Kirby.
- Hours: 10 am to 10 pm
- Price: $25
Tickets can be purchased online or at the contest gates and start at $20 for adults, $5 for children, and free for kids aged 2 and under. Admission to the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest includes a complimentary sliced barbecue brisket and sausage plate, access to live music areas, and admission to the carnival. (Importantly, admission does not include access to private cook-off tents.)
Fans can also score a Grounds Season Pass allowing access to all Cook-off events for $50.
Event times are Thursday, February 23, 5 pm to 11 pm; Friday, February 24, noon to 11 pm; and Saturday, February 25, 9 am to 11 pm. More information can be found at rodeohouston.com or on the official RodeoHouston app.