Uncle Abe's BBQ Showdown

bbq competition logo
Charleston commemorates our rich Lincoln history with a museum marking the debate site where Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas participated in the 1858 senatorial debate. The site of Lincoln's father and stepmother's farm is preserved 8 miles south of Charleston at Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic site. Many of Lincoln's nieces and nephews who lived on that farm, and at Goosenest Prairie,  affectionately referred to him as "Uncle Abe." 
In 1858, after the September 18th Charleston debate, historian Rae Katherine Eighmey writes of Lincoln's attendance on September 24th at a barbecue in Urbana, Illinois.  Her book, "Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln's Life and Times"  details the political campaign traditions of attending barbecues. We are blending that historic tradition and our own Lincoln history with a BBQ competition and celebration of street food on Charleston's historic downtown square on October 12, 2024.  

Food trucks open at noon and close at 6 pm
Tastings for visitors start at noon

For Competitors (amateur and professionals welcome)
$100 entry fee | 3 meats- pork, chicken and ribs | KCBS-style judging
Grand Champion overall: $1,000 | 1st and 2nd prizes for each meat |  2 complimentary event t-shirts with registration
For competitors: 15% discount on all meat purchased from The Butcher Shop in Charleston         The Butcher Shop
Rules of the Competition

Click here to register

For Food Trucks
All non-BBQ food trucks (unless you are competing) are encouraged to register to attend
$25 fee and must be in compliance with the Coles County Health Dept. 
Click here to register

Sponsor this inaugural event! 

Premier Sponsorship -$500: Your business or organization’s name on tasting coupons, event banners, awards certificates, event t-shirts, social media and general media postings.

Entertainment Sponsor- $300: Instructors will be leading line dancing, additional bands will be invited to play, your business or organization’s name will be displayed on site with the dancers and musicians, and on t-shirts, social media and general media postings.

General Sponsorship- $100: Your business or organization’s name on event t-shirts, social media and general media postings.

Contact the Tourism Office at 217-348-0430 or tourism@co.coles.il.us