Saturday, June 23, 2012

Safeway Barbecue Battle

2012 marks the 20th year of Safeway bringing great food, music and fun to the streets of the Nation’s Capital. Signaling the beginning of summer, the Safeway Barbecue Battle is one of Washington’s largest and most unique food and music festivals offering the greater DC-area community and visitors a chance to enjoy some of America’s favorite pastimes in the shadow of the Capitol Building.

The two-day festival included delicious barbecue and tasty treats of all kinds from top vendors, a variety of free food samples and two days of non-stop live entertainment, all surrounding one of the nation’s top barbecue cooking competitions. Proceeds from the event benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington’s Metropolitan Police Clubhouses.
Photo: Safeway Barbecue Battle Website
Keith and I headed out to the festival this past Saturday mainly to check out the ever-popular Safeway Sampling Pavilion, which showcased a line-up of tempting free food samples while celebrity chefs and cookbook authors entertained with cooking demonstrations on the Safeway Demonstration Stage. Smoke was in the air as we approached Pennsylvania Avenue from the Metro.  The entrance was a little obscure, but allowed us to walk the whole perimeter to see the barbecue contestants prepare and grill their masterpieces.  

It was a super hot day, and even though we arrived just 5 minutes after the sampling tent opened, the line already snaked around for about a mile.  Two hours later, we made it through to get our samples.  They handed you a cardboard "plate" to place all your samples as you collected them down the line. We got various items ranging from steak, sausage, and chicken to chips and salads to drinks, cookies and ice cream.  Despite the long line, waiting for the Safeway samples was a highlight of the day.  Many of my samples I gave to Keith, which made him too full to get any of the other barbecue items for purchase until a couple hours later.  My favorite samples included the zesty chicken, potato salad, and refreshing watermelon slice.  Keith enjoyed the steak, hot dogs, and ice cream from Cadbury.

After the sampling tent, we walked around to see the rest of the vendors at the festival.  Some had games and prizes which were fun, while others just wanted you to sign up for their product or gave out information and other free samples like the typical water bottle, pens, chip clip, or chapstick.  There were also other food booths and beer tents with food and drinks to purchase.  After carrying all our freebies and walking up and down the street all day, we were sweaty and a little tired. So we got some barbecue to take home.  There were so many choices, but we settled upon The Tender Rib, from Temple Hills , MD,  and Keith ordered a half rack of ribs.  I watched the guys cook the meat on the large grills and soon Keith was given six large pieces slathered in sauce.  He thought it all tasted great.  All in all, the Safeway Barbecue Battle is a great summer festival that showcases one of America's favorite family culinary past times.

The Tender Rib on Urbanspoon

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