Who do you know that makes the best backyard barbecue? I mean the most mouth-watering, fall-off-the-bone, tender, juicy barbecue you might just dream about? Is it you? Then you might just be cut out for the Ruby Falls Battle Below the Clouds barbecue competition this August 25.
This year will mark the 4th iteration of Battle Below the Clouds, and the fourth year my family will be attending to cheer on our favorite competitors. Each season, up to twenty teams of amateur grillers and smokers duke it out for bragging rights as the best backyard cooks in Chattanooga, and let me tell you, they always bring the heat.
Tendrils of smoke roll up the mountain starting at 6 a.m. as the teams begin putting their skills to the test in a day-long battle for three prestigious titles: Best Pulled Pork, Best Ribs, and Grand Champion. But it’s not all just a waiting game; throughout the day, spectators like us get the chance to talk shop, learn some tips, and of course, chow down. And, you’ll be served up sides of live bluegrass music to tap your toes to, prize drawings and giveaways, and plenty of fun activities for the kids.
Why am I so excited about this barbecue competition if I’m not competing? Though I’m still trying to convince my husband to get his own team together (he’s still got time, after all; registration is still open!), we were first inspired to get involved with this event when we heard that it benefits Lana’s Love Foundation, an organization that provides fun activities and outings for children with pediatric cancer and their families. Between the fun, the food, and the fantastic people, this wonderful cause is always worth making the drive over from Birmingham.
It’s most certainly the fun and beauty of the Lookout Mountain experience that keeps us coming back! Now, we always make a barbecue weekend out of our trip and can stay at the newly updated RiverView Inn near Ruby Falls, as well as take in the other wonderful attractions on the mountain. We always ride the Incline Railway down to St. Elmo for a bite at the Purple Daisy Café—perfect whether you can’t get enough barbecue or are looking for something on the lighter side. And we get a chance to walk off a few of those calories at Rock City Gardens, where we can stroll the grounds and take in the beautiful flowers this time of year.
So, whether you’re ready to smoke the competition or simply “meat” some great grill gurus, the Ruby Falls Battle Below the Clouds is the perfect excuse to indulge in a good time. Don’t forget to bring a few extra bucks to place in the Lana’s Love donation jars at the event, too. All of the donated money and the team entry fees go directly to the foundation. We’ll see you at the winner’s table!