More than 7,000 come out for PA BBQ FEST at Leesport Market

2018 PA BBQ FEST was held at the Leesport Farmers Market on July 7 and 8.
2018 PA BBQ FEST was held at the Leesport Farmers Market on July 7 and 8. Submitted photo
Judges taste entries at the 2018 PA BBQ FEST,  held at the Leesport Farmers Market on July 7 and 8.
Judges taste entries at the 2018 PA BBQ FEST, held at the Leesport Farmers Market on July 7 and 8. Submitted photo

More than 7,000 people attended the PA BBQ FEST over two days at the Leesport Farmers Market on July 7 and 8, hosted by David Shefter, owner of the Penn Werner Hotel in downtown Wernersville, and his family.

“The patrons enjoyed seeing, smelling and tasting the great food created by the 12 pit masters,” said Shefter. “Almost all of the pit masters had their version of pulled pork: pulled pork nachos, loaded fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, stuffed potatoes, sandwiches, sliders, loaded tater tots.”

The 12 award winning pit masters offered their specialty smoked brisket, pulled pork, chicken wings, ribs, smoked chicken, burgers, turkey legs, and sausage with all their delicious sides. Pit masters included Fire and Spice BBQ, The Pink Pig, Penn Werner Hotel, Brocmore Smokehouse, The House of Jerk Dread Jamacain Restaurant, Station House Grille, Backwoods Brothers Authentic Texas Cuisine, The Smokehouse Food Truck, The Money Pit BBQ, Hawg Haus Sloppy Second’s, Ziggys Roasters, and Boars Pit BBQ.

“The highlights of the event were all the great foods smoked, grilled, or BBQ’d available to sample and purchase,” he said. “The Sample Card Program makes this event unique.”

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Shefter explained that patrons can purchase the items that the pit masters are preparing as they would at any other food festival, but at the PA BBQ FEST patrons can purchase a tasting card that gives them six tickets to try 2 ounce samples from a selection of 14 vendors.

“That’s about 3/4 pound of meat.”

Live bands performed both days including some local favorites like Uncle Jake and the 18 Wheel Gang, Executive Session, and Chuck Cahoe.

“The live music was outstanding.”

Sunday featured an Amateur Back Yard Cook Off.

“One proud team won all three categories, 4 Boxers Q. The team captain was Thomas Corby of St. Clair. All the competitors provided delicious turn-ins to the 10 judges that were just too happy do their duty, taste BBQ,” said Shefter.

The crowd also enjoyed the many specialty food and craft vendors. The Hamburg American Legion participated by operating a beer tent.

“Personally, I think it’s great that the visitors can speak directly to the pit masters and see their rigs and techniques of preparation,” said Shefter. “I hope this event provided the community with an opportunity to enjoy life. People can just explore their passion for smoked or BBQ foods, unique specialty items, great music, family and friends.”

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.