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Pit Masters Battle at Naptown BarBayQ

Barbecue teams from across the region are gearing up to compete for cash prizes and bragging rights.

Slap on your bibs, the Naptown barBAYq is back and the competition is fierce.

The festival, which is being held at the on Friday evening and Saturday, features barbecue contests, live music and family activities.

Winners will receive cash prizes and bragging rights on the Kansas City Barbeque Society circuit.

Mark Johnson and his team from , a 40-year-old restaurant in Rockville, won in the brisket category at the inaugural event last year. Johnson, whose restaurant focuses on Texas-style barbecue, hopes to keep the title this year.

"There are a lot of good teams competing but we expect to do well with our beef brisket," said Johnson, showing off a moist pork shoulder under crackling skin.

Brian Stefan, head chef of Southern Smoke, a food truck that cruises through New Jersey and South Carolina, puts a unique Cajun and Caribbean twist on his barbeque.

"I use a spicy tomato base sauce but it's not as thick as a traditional Kansas-style," Stefan said.

As he poured Creole barbecue sauce on a smoked pulled pork sandwich topped with Carolina coleslaw, Stefan credited his time spent working in Puerto Rico for his interest in exotic fare.

"Seeing all the wonderful people is really the best part though," he said.

Matt Ragusa of Jacked up BBQ, a New Jersey competition team that also caters, said he also enjoys meeting new people. His team has been winning awards since 2006.

"It's a fun thing to do," Ragusa said. "We do Kansas-style and use hickory."

Annapolis residents Chuck and Nadine Dunn said that Jack up BBQ's awards are well-deserved. The couple attended the for the first time this year.

"We went to the guys with all the trophies," Chuck Dunn said. "It's very good."

Patch will provide a list of contest winners when it becomes available. In the meantime, upload your photos from the Naptown barBAYq to our gallery by clicking on the "upload photos and videos" button under the photograph.   

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