“Squealin’ on the Square” Review

The Grand Champion of this past weekend’ 17th Annual Squealin’ on the Square BBQ Festival was Smoke Central BBQ, heading by Kevin Merritt of Summerville. Smoke Central BBQ receives the newly designed Grand Champion trophy, a $2,000 cash prize and opportunities for national competitions. They have an opportunity to represent South Carolina at the Jack Daniel Invitational and an invitation to the Kansas City BBQ Society’s American Royal. They also have their entry fee waived for next year’s Squealin’ on the Square KCBS competition in Laurens.

Reserve Grand Champion for the 2017 Squealin’ on the Square competition was Midnight Burn from North Carolina.

1st place finishers in the four primary categories of competition were Sauced! Barbeque receiving the Pork Rib 1st place trophy, Hickory BBQ Company taking 1st in Brisket, Smoke Central BBQ was 1st in Pork and Midnight Burn took the 1st place trophy in the Chicken Category.

While no local participants took top prize this year, Jonathan Irick noted one local entry placed well. “Hey Good Buddy BBQ, which, the two team leaders are Bryan Able and Homer Elwood, placed in the top ten – I believe in three categories – which I think is their best showing they’ve had here at Squealin’ on the Square in a good long time.”

Irick said the 17th Annual Squealin’ on the Square started with big attendance Friday night, but rainfall Saturday morning put a “damper” on the crowd for that day. He said the rain delayed the kid’s rides and kept others away for the morning. Irick said when the rain stopped Saturday afternoon, some of the crowds then began to arrive, overall attendance was down from last year.

We asked for an overall assessment of the festival. “This ranks up there…..Friday night was pretty good attendance. I would say this is kind of an average attendance for us, I wouldn’t say it was really better than what we’ve had. But it was certainly, for what we were dealing with the weather, was a pretty good attendance.”

“Our volunteers talked about when they were selling the coupons there were certain times on Saturday that they were pretty busy in the coupon sales. I haven’t actually had a chance to look at all those numbers, but I will say that on Friday night, what we were paying out to our teams look like about what we were doing last year. So that tells us that had Saturday been nice weather, we probably would have exceeded what we did last year, which was one of our better years.”