Unveiling the Ultimate BBQ Battle at Lori’s Ace Hardware

Welcome to the ultimate showdown of smoky flavors, sizzling meats, and fierce competition. Prepare to fire up your taste buds and dive into the barbecue world as we explore Lori’s Ace Hardware BBQ Battle.

Join us as we meet event organizers from Lori’s Ace Home & Hardware and Vicious Pig BBQ. Keep reading to learn more about the realm of Southern BBQ Network-sanctioned barbecue competitions in the Carolinas.

Be sure to listen to The Low & Slow Barbecue Show episode on Lori’s Ace BBQ Battle for our complete conversation.

Lori's Ace BBQ Battle and Vicious Pig BBQ.
Lori’s Ace Home & Hardware hosts Lori’s ACE BBQ Battle with the support of Vicious Pigs BBW and pitmaster Bobby Brinson.

What is Lori’s ACE BBQ Battle?

Mark your calendars for May 18 and an epic barbecue extravaganza hosted by Lori’s Ace Home & Hardware in Fayetteville. This competition barbecue event promises to be a feast for the senses, featuring 20+ competitive pitmasters battling it out in Lori’s spacious parking lot.

But it’s not just an event for competitors.

“The public gets to come, and they go around and get a taste of all of the competition barbecue,” says Lori Tracy Stobbe, co-owner and operator of Lori’s Ace Home & Hardware. “They buy a ticket, and all the proceeds go to the Autism Society of Cumberland County. It’s going to be a really fun day.”

Lori says the charity needs support.

“Autism is something that has been increasing for so long in the whole country and the whole world,” she says, adding she is a parent of a fully functioning adult with autism. “The Cumberland County Autism Society provides a lot of resources and connections to people who have children on the autism spectrum. It is extremely important to have those resources and connections. It’s a great cause, and we’re very proud to be able to partner with them.”

Hosting Lori’s Ace BBQ Battle alongside Lori and her business, Vicious Pig BBQ Competitor Bobby Brinson and the Southern BBQ Network bring the expertise needed to produce a successful barbecue event.

Lori's Ace Home & Hardware BBQ Battle trophies.
Winners of the Lori’s Ace BBQ Battle take home the hardware.

Meet Vicious Pig BBQ

At the heart of this barbecue battle – and the Fayetteville meat smoking scene – lies Vicious Pig BBQ and pitmaster Bobby Brinson. A retired firefighter turned competitive pitmaster, Bobby found success battling alongside his brother in the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

“We went to a lot of competitions. We won a lot, and we lost a lot,” he says. “My brother got out of the barbecue scene. I learned a lot from him and from some of the events I’ve been involved with. I wanted to branch out and do it on my own. So, we decided to start Vicious Pig BBQ.”

Soon, Vicious Pig BBQ evolved from a competition operation to a food truck serving Fayetteville. The Vicious Pig’s ribs have been voted the best in the city – and they’re nominated again.

“The food truck deal has been going well. We’re still trying to balance out the food truck versus competitions, and we do a lot less than we did before,” he says. He’s become part of regular activities promoting the barbecue and grilling lifestyle at Lori’s Ace.

“The first time I sat down and met them, I knew it was going to be good because they’re really good people,” Bobby says. “We promote a lot of their brands, a lot of their products. I feel like we’ve grown a really strong relationship.”

The Lori’s Ace Hardware Story

What’s the story behind Lori’s Ace Home & Hardware, the host of this barbecue battle? Founded by Lori Tracy Stobbe and her partner Nate Stobbe, this hardware haven in Fayetteville is more than just a store – it’s a hub for barbecue enthusiasts.

“We are all in on grilling and barbecue,” Lori adds. “We love it personally, and everyone on the team that works here loves barbecue as well. We have a large selection of not only grills but everything that goes along with grilling – to make it a full experience.”

The Lori’s Ace staff became barbecue experts, ready to help customers find the right grill or smoker to fit their needs.

That said, Lori admits that the barbecue lifestyle is a little … different from where she comes from. She and Nate met in the Minneapolis-St. Paul “twin cities.” (“Where she’s from in the Midwest, barbecue is a verb,” Bobby says. “Down here, barbecue is a noun.”)

“We are a COVID-19 love story,” she explains. “We met when everything was still shut down, and you couldn’t go anywhere. So we did a lot of walking and talking. That’s how our relationship grew.”

A year later, they married and sought a warmer climate to call home, a business they could operate together, and a way to give back to the community.

“That’s how we landed on Ace, which this year turns 100,” she says. “It’s a well-loved and well-trusted brand.”

Now, Lori’s Ace Home & Hardware hosts the BBQ Battle to build on their blossoming barbecue presence. As a seasoned competitor, Bobby has been a big part of the project. He brought along the Southern BBQ Network, where he serves as a North Carolina cook team liaison.

Lori Tracy Stobbe.
Lori’s Ace Home & Hardware owner Lori Tracy Stobbe.

What is Southern BBQ Network?

SBN - Southern BBQ Network Logo

To ensure a fair and competitive environment, Lori’s ACE BBQ Battle is sanctioned by the Southern BBQ Network (SBN). This nonprofit organization provides strategic guidance, certified judging, and a level playing field for barbecue competitions across the Eastern Seaboard.

“They offer the certified judges that come in and do the judging for the meats to keep it all on the up and up,” Bobby says. “They offer help in trying to guide the organizer in the right direction with the competition to try to make it be the best it can.”

Compared to other barbecue organizations, SBN isn’t better or worse, it is just different, Bobby explains. Competition submissions don’t require a garnish – SBN only judges on the meat. SBN-sanctioned events also allow an hour between turn-in times. Many other sanctioning bodies stipulate 30 minutes between meat submissions.

“With the Southern BBQ Network, I really feel like what these teams are bringing to the table is a better product. They have more time to focus on getting the best meat that they cooked. They’re not rushed,” Bobby says. “And they’re a non-profit, and they only do things to help out in non-profits.”

Lori’s Ace BBQ Battle is an SBN points competition. Many participating pitmasters are working toward an end-of-season points tally and team of the year honors.

“They’re trying to win that grand championship – it’s going to get them to the invitational, which is the top 20 teams in the year,” Bobby says. “We’re encouraging everyone to come out. We’ll have some first-timers there.”

‘Don’t Miss Lori’s Ace BBQ Battle’

Don’t Miss Lori’s Ace BBQ Battle

As the smoke clears and the winners are crowned, Lori’s ACE BBQ Battle will leave a lasting impression on all who attend. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster, a backyard BBQ enthusiast, or simply a lover of good food and great company, this event promises to satisfy your cravings and ignite your passion for barbecue.

For more information, visit the Lori’s Ace Hardware Facebook page. To join the competition, email office@loris-ace.com

Join us for an unforgettable weekend of sizzling meats, friendly competition, and Southern hospitality at its finest. See you at Lori’s Ace Hardware – where the grill is always hot, and the welcome is always warm!

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