June 24–26 poised to be smokin’ hot weekend full of flames and flavors
RIDGEFIELD, WA. (May 16, 2022) – This summer, ilani fires up appetites with its first-ever ilani BBQ Fest, held June 24–26 on its parking garage rooftop. It’s a chance to sample and savor BBQ favorites as some of the nation’s top pitmasters show off their chops in one epic, smoke-filled weekend. Guests can take advantage of great drink specials with their sampling card, enjoy live entertainment and experience so much more.
The event will be headlined by world-class celebrity chefs including “Good Eats” star and “Iron Chef” host Alton Brown, “Restaurant: Impossible” host Robert Irvine, five-time James Beard Award winner and Restaurateur of the Year Todd English, and BBQ expert and judge, on Netflix’s hit show “American BBQ Showdown,” Kevin Bludso. Brown, Irvine, English and Bludso, and all the chefs on the celebrity stage will offer mouth-watering cooking demonstrations.
Tickets for all ilani BBQ Fest events go on sale Monday, May 16, 10 a.m., via ticketmaster.com and ilaniresort.com. ilani is offering a limited-time, 50% off early bird discount for all events, including the main event sessions and the Big Boy Cook Club & Party with the Pitmasters. This will be the best and biggest discount for ilani’s inaugural event. Ticket pricing, a full list of celebrity chefs and event information are available at ilanibbqfest.com.
Tasting and Sampling Sessions, Chef Demos, Smokin’ Hot BBQ Championship
Saturday, June 25, kicks off the headline BBQ Fest Tasting and Sampling session. On the ilani rooftop, noon to 6 p.m., a variety of BBQ classics made by the nation’s top chefs will be available for sampling. The celebrity chef stage will host cooking demonstrations, while the ilani surface lot will feature the smokin’ pits for the inaugural Smokin’ Hot BBQ Championship. Some of the best amateur pitmasters around will be cooking up beef ribs and pork bellies, vying for their shot at $15,000 in cash prizes on Saturday and Sunday. Guests should watch for Brown and Irvine as they cook up delectable dishes on the main stage and interview pitmasters in the smokin’ pits.
Sunday’s session, June 26, noon to 6 p.m., will culminate in the Smokin’ Hot BBQ Championship, a throwdown with salmon steaks and whole chicken where only one pitmaster can come out on top. Sunday’s main event, also held on the parking garage rooftop, will be another chance to savor the best barbecue while taking in live demos from Irvine, Bludso and others, as well as sampling from dozens of vendors serving craft beers, spirits, wines, seltzers and, of course, more BBQ.
Brown, Irvine, English and Bludso will be joined by a plethora of celebrity chefs. Chef Lynnae Oxley, owner of Sugar’s Barbecue in Battle Ground, Washington, is making a quick pit stop on the celebrity stage during the Smokin’ Hot BBQ Championship judging to show off her signature dishes, which won her the title from Food Network’s “Chopped” and an appearance on “BBQ Pitmasters.” Creator, host, executive producer and local BBQ expert Rick Browne will be showing off his famous PB&J pork ribs. Joining Browne is Erica Blaire Roby, lawyer turned sommelier turned Master of ‘Cue winner from season 2 of Food Network’s “BBQ Brawl.” Finally, Stan Hays, from Operation BBQ Relief, will be leading the BBQ Basics competition to raise awareness for people in need, including veterans, the houseless, victims of natural disasters and more.
More chefs are being added to ilani’s BBQ Fest, and ilani’s social pages have the latest additions to the celebrity chef lineup.
Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday sessions are $45 and $40, respectively, for guests 21 years of age or older. Purchases made through May 20 receive an exclusive 50% discount on all tickets. Guests under 21 and designated drivers can purchase tickets for $10, while children under the age of 5 are free. All ticket purchasers over 21 years of age will receive 24 drink samples, $10 in food tokens and $10 in Promo Play. More information and tickets are available at ilanibbqfest.com.
Big Boy Cook Club & Party with the Pitmasters
The Big Boy Cook Club & Party with the Pitmasters features some of the top BBQ pitmasters including co-hosts English and Aaron May (“Guy’s Grocery Games” judge) along with dozens of other chefs for an intimate dine-around experience. ilani BBQ Fest’s marquee event will be inside ilani’s Meeting & Entertainment Center on Saturday, June 25, 7:30–10:30 p.m. Over a dozen celebrity chefs will provide samples as they reimagine their famous BBQ dishes perfectly paired with a special libation to wash it all down.
Tickets to this can’t-miss BBQ experience start at $85 per person and include $10 in Promo Play. BBQ fans will want to act fast, as the first 200 guests to purchase a ticket during the early bird discount special will receive 50% off. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to attend.
Operation BBQ Relief
ilani BBQ Fest is proud to partner with Hays and Operation BBQ Relief. Operation BBQ Relief has provided over 9 million meals throughout the United States and internationally following natural disasters, COVID-19 responses and through The Always Serving Project, benefiting the homeless, first responders, veterans and members of the military. Hays will be leading a four-hour cooking and preparation course aptly named BBQ Basics. The event will take place on Sunday, June 26, and will include first responders from local police, fire and fire districts. The event will culminate in an action-packed competition with the winning team walking home with the crown of BBQ Basics Champion and a $1,500 cash prize.
Sponsorship, advertising, exhibitor reservation and/or further information is available by contacting 360 Marketing & Events at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Please note: schedule of events, locations and appearances are subject to change.
Located on the Cowlitz Reservation in Ridgefield, Washington, ilani, developed by the Cowlitz Tribe and Salishan-Mohegan, a partnership that includes Mohegan Sun, one of the world’s foremost gaming and entertainment developers and operators, is the Pacific Northwest’s premier gaming, dining, entertainment, and meeting destination. With nearly 400,000 total square feet, ilani includes more than 100,000 square feet of gaming space with nearly 3,000 slots and 75 gaming tables; 18 different restaurants, bars and retail outlets; and a 2,500-seat meeting and entertainment venue hosting nationally recognized performances. For more information, visit ilaniresort.com and follow ilani on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.