General Information


Children 12 and under are FREE


The River Grill before the Big Chill is a KCBS culinary competition and two day food and music festival celebrating barbecue, local brews, cooking and, local entertainment. Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), Cincinnati Parks' River Grill before the Big Chill welcomes professional and backyard contestants to Sawyer Point for a chance to win over $22,500 in cash prizes. Since it is a regional marquee event for the fall of 2015, winning contestants of the River Grill could be eligible for state and national competition placements.

Within the Professional Division, Professional Cook Teams will compete in the following four categories: Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Butt, and Beef Brisket. KCBS Certified Judges will evaluate the barbecue meat on appearance, texture, and flavor - looking for absolute excellence in Barbecue. For a full list of Rules and Regulations for the Pro-Division, please visit the KCBS Website.

Limited to the first 24 teams, contestants of the Backyard Competition will be rated by judges and have the chance to win over $1,000 by contending in the Chicken, Pork Ribs, and Pork Butt categories.

Proceeds from the River Grill are to benefit the Waterfront Parks. The Waterfront Parks system consists of three major parks: THEODORE M. BERRY INTERNATIONAL PARK, SAWYER POINT & YEATMAN'S COVE and the new SMALE RIVERFRONT PARK! Each park has unique features for the public to explore, and hosts several large events throughout the year. These parks are the new "Front yard of Cincinnati." Read More About the Waterfront Parks




Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony will be your chance to see who will be named "Grand Champion" of the 2015 River Grill Before the Big Chill!


Food and Beverage

It is not a Barbecue competition without the BBQ, and at the River Grill you will have your choice of many local favorite food vendors. What goes best with music and BBQ? But of course, BEER! River Grill will have local brews available on draft to wash down all that delicious barbecue!


Market Place

Come down to the River Grill for the best in spice rubs, cutlery, grill and BBQ supplies. We will have plenty of merchandise to browse while you enjoy the sights and sounds of River Grill.


Win a Bubba Grills Smoker

In 2015, you will have the chance to win a smoker from the 2014 Cincinnati River Grill Champion, Bubba Grills! Bubba makes custom smokers, and the 2015 Cincinnati River Grill Before the Big Chill event will be your next chance to win a $2,900 smoker from a champion. Stay tuned for details!