Event Activities

Cincinnati has always known how to barbecue, but now we're proving it Kansas City style! 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. Come done and join for this two day food and music festival celebrating barbecue, local brews, cooking and local entertainment.

October 9th, 5 - 11pm & October 10th, 12 - 9pm


Children 12 and under are FREE


Proceeds from River Grill Are to Benefit the Cincinnati 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."

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! Stop by the Main Stage Saturday at 5pm


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 barbeque meat on appearance, texture, and flavor - looking for absolute excellence in Barbeque.

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.

Event Map

Food and Beverage

It is not a Barbeque 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 barbeque!

Participating Food Vendors

Alabama Fish Bar Mobile
Festival Concession Services
Fine Smoke BBQ
Moerlein Lager House
Off the Bone BBQ
Ohio's Shut the Front Door BBQ
Papa Wood BBQ
Pita Pockets LLC
Pork Brothers BBQ
Smoke Shack Smokin' Bee BBQ
The Mobile Cone

Participating Non-food Vendors

CUTCO Knives

Kids Zone

Kids Zone near the Main Stage will feature face painting, inflatable bouncers and an obstacle courses for all ages! Yeatman Cove lawn features free miniature golf area and a mechanical bull - Yeee Haaaww!

Market Place

Spice rubs, cutlery, grill & BBQ supplies – oh my! We will have plenty of merchandise to browse while you enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells 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. To enter purchase tickets Friday or Saturday at the event. Stop by the official River Grill before the Big Chill merchandise booth to see the smoker up close.