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Inside – Ole South BBQ

Check Out Our Breakdown of BBQ and Barrels 2024

Barbecue and bourbon–what more could you ask for?! You can get both Owensboro staples at the same place at BBQ and Barrels, a two-day festival featuring all the juicy barbecue and Kentucky bourbon you can imagine. 


Located in downtown Owensboro, BBQ and Barrels will be held May 10 and 11. The barbecue portion will run along Second Street while the bourbon portion take place at the Owensboro Convention Center. You’ll need tickets for the bourbon-tasting and VIP events, while the barbecue portion is free to the public. 


Famous for our barbecue-slathered chopped mutton, pork and burgoo, you’ll find all that and more from more than 20 barbecue vendors featuring a variety of delicious items. Owensboro’s famous church cooking teams will also be onsite selling barbecued chicken, pork, ribs and burgoo. Food Sales will take place both days–beginning at noon on Friday, May 10. 


Even more, the Backyard Cook-Off is an event for backyard barbecue chefs to fire up their grills and smokers to compete among the best of the best for a number of prizes and, of course, bragging rights. More than 40 teams compete for prizes in each category and for the overall championship title, and they’re guaranteed to cook up some of the best beef, chicken and pork you’ll ever taste. 


You’ll also be treated to some amazing live music! Country singer Chris Janson is gonna headline BBQ and Barrels at the Owensboro Convention Center on Saturday, May 11 with special guest Hannah Ellis. You’ll also get to hear from Fan Halen (A Van Halen tribute band) on Friday. Both shows are free and will be held on the lawn in front of the OCC. Janson’s show will start at 6 p.m. with a couple openers playing ahead of him, and Fan Halen’s show will begin at 6 p.m. A variety of local bands and artists will provide free entertainment throughout the fest on both the event stage and the Daviess County Courthouse lawn on Second Street. 


More than 35 distilleries will be featured in the bourbon portion of the festival at the Owensboro Convention Center. You can find a full list right here. VIP tickets include unique bourbon pours from the distilleries perfectly paired with hors d’oeuvres with an emphasis on barbecue. You can also take bourbon classes at $25 a person. ALSO important to know, there will be a dinner held at Green River on Friday, May 10 filled with food and bourbon pairings! This Spirited Bourbon Pairings Dinner will start at 6 p.m. and Niko’s Bakery Chef Matt Weafer will bring you a four-course meal paired with handcrafted bourbon and whiskey cocktails. A cash bar with beer and wine will be available as well. 


Beyond the barbecue and bourbon, you can enjoy a slew of family-friendly activities at our festival. These include:


–The Kentucky Champions Motorcar Invitational–a car show unlike any other in the region on Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Owensboro Convention Center parking lot. 


–A BBQ 5K hosted by the Owensboro Family YMCA for their annual fundraiser run. 


–Arts and crafts vendors you can shop from while eating barbecue and strolling the streets of downtown Owensboro. 


–A carnival filled with rides, games and concessions, held just east of the Blue Bridge on Second Street. Tickets will be available for purchase onsite. 


BBQ and Barrels will be held Friday from noon-10 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.