By Fred Liggett
Every March the area surrounding Kansas City’s Sprint Center comes alive with basketball shooting contests, a photo booth and many sports booths giving away an array of prizes to hoop fans of all ages. This is due to the annual Big 12 Conference men’s basketball tournament that brings 10 teams and all their fans to the city for a nine-game, four-day event that crowns a conference champion in the end.
Just north of the arena another kind of champion is crowned, a barbecue champion. Each year since 2014 the Big 12 host committee has planned a barbecue contest with each of the 10 schools in the conference represented. Big 12 sports fans are invited to buy a ticket and enter the area where over two days each of the 10 teams cook up their barbecue entries.
For the past three years representing Oklahoma State University has been Smoke Brewing Company located in downtown Lee’s Summit at 209 SE Main Street. The team they have assembled is called Building Smoke BBQ. The first year they participated in the annual event was in 2016. When the contest ended they were named the 2016 Grand Champion.
Building Smoke BBQ team members are Josh Edwards, his dad and Smoke Brewing Company chef Rob Davis. Each year the team competes in several categories and are committed to the area from 12:00 noon on Thursday to 5:00 p.m3 Friday when the BBQ Champions are crowned. The 2018 Big 12 week of events was from March 7-10. This year Building Smoke finished second in chicken and also entered both pork ribs and brisket contests.
This started all because someone, an events coordinator from O’Neill Events and Marketing, reached out to Josh about representing Oklahoma State in this event. Josh Edwards went to Oklahoma State University starting in 1997. Josh says his team “looks forward to participating in it each year but don’t know until they are asked.”
No matter what your favorite barbecue menu item is it’s proven that more than just downtown Lee’s Summit barbecue fans enjoy the work of the three-man Building Smoke BBQ team.