Road Grub Throwdown: Motorcycling Meets the Munchies

Story & Images: Mark Masker

Several years back while I was freelancing for Hot Bike and breaking into food writing, I was lucky enough to be a judge at the World Food Championships in Las Vegas. I was even luckier to find myself killing time between rounds by talking to Ray “Dr BBQ” Lampe at a bar. It came up that he had it on his bucket list to emcee an event at a motorcycle rally. Naturally I started working on bringing the worlds of barbecue and custom bikes together in new and exciting ways after that, because really, how cool would that be?

Cool, yes. Easy? Not so much. The closest precedent for what I wanted to do were the chili cook-offs at Harley-Davidson dealerships. Whenever someone comes up with an idea, no matter how obviously good they believe it is, bringing it to fruition is always the big challenge. Luckily for me, the time I’d spent working for and being mentored by Dave DeWitt and his National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show and insights from John “CaJohn” Hard and Brent Bolton gave me enough knowledge to get started.

getting it done!

First you have to figure out exactly what you want to do, then when and where to do it. Oh, and then there’s convincing other people that it’s a good idea, too. After much thought, soul-searching, and a mountain of planning over several years, I’d laid the groundwork for what is now the Road Grub Throwdown: a big outdoor cooking festival held at motorsports events like, say, the Black Hills Motorcycle Rally (aka Sturgis). Which is when and where we’d planned on running the 2021 event. However, like a lot of other events for this year, COVID and the economy caused us to postpone until 2022.    

It breaks down like this. The Road Grub Throwdown is going to be a series of food competitions held at some of the largest motorsports rallies in the country. Competitors pit their culinary kung fu against each other in their choice of one or more events held during each day of the event. You don’t need to bring your own rig; just ride up with a bag of ingredients, fire up your grill at go-time, and cook up your creation for the judges before time runs out. We even provide the grills for you to cook on.

A Road Grub Throwdown consists of 10-15 contestants cooking food for time to be judged by a panel of three judges. The theme for each day changes; one day may be steak, one may be hot wings. Regardless, our goal is to have competitions you won’t find anywhere else, so expect the unexpected.

Each entrant gets a 10×10-foot space for setup and uses the outdoor cookers and utensils provided. Prizes are awarded for the top three entries in each competition, each day. A Grand Prize is also awarded at the end of the five days. Additionally, we’re also holding daily eating competitions and cocktail competitions as well.

it gets better!!

But wait, there’s more. All of these competitions are well and good but the show also presents a golden opportunity for riders and outdoor cooks to sharpen their skillsets with demos and workshops. Plans are in the works for some of those to be conducted by our sponsors, too.

Attendees can also get their own eat on at the VIP tent and bar area where they’ll enjoy awesome food from culinary talent serving great grub of their own. Our VIP dining experience will have an Old West theme and a special VIP tent saloon. This is in addition to our bar area for the general public. Our 2022 event takes place August 5-9 at the Days of 76 Complex in Deadwood during the legendary rally in South Dakota. Plans are also in the works for adding other events in 2023. And hopefully once we get the show established, we can help Dr BBQ cross that item off of his bucket list finally in a year or two. You can keep up with Road Grub Throwdown on our website, Facebook, and Instagram.


Be sure to click on the Road Grub logo and follow Mark as he brings home the bacon!  This is sure to be game to a cant miss event!  If there’s one thing the Rally crowd wants after a good long day on the road is a cold beer and good food!


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