If the teams have names like the Swine Flew, Smoking in the Boys Room, and Oink, Cackle and Moo, you're at a BBQ cook-off. Regional and state championships lead up to the Big Three, where prizes are worth up to $65,000.
Memphis in May is the nation's oldest and largest pork barbecue contest, attracting more than 100,000 spectators. Pork is king here (despite frequent Elvis sightings): Contestants compete in whole-hog, shoulder and rib categories, not to mention a "Miss Piggy" competition featuring half-naked fat men in porcine drag (901-525-4611; www.memphisinmay.org).
The American Royal Barbecue contest in Kansas City is more ecumenical, honoring brisket, chicken, sausage and pork. Wander the grounds and you'll see smokers ranging from conventional rigs to a retrofitted Cessna airplane. There's also a sauce competition presided over by barbecue authority Remus Powers, resplendent in a bowler, tuxedo and rib-bone studs (816-221-9800; www.americanroyal.com).