BBQ and Barrels Coming to Owensboro

An Owensboro tradition will be revitalized on May 12 and 13, 2023 in downtown Owensboro.  BBQ and Barrels is a new take on two of Owensboro’s greatest culinary staples: unique barbecue and historic bourbon. 

“The Bar-B-Q Festival isn’t ending, it’s being reborn. Bigger and better with more options to attract more people,” said Sharon Nesmith, former International Bar-B-Q Festival Chair.

“Cooking for this event has been a time-honored tradition for our parish and being able to serve what we want has been a big plus for us. We’re excited for the future for BBQ and Barrels,” said Bill Glenn, Lourdes Cooking Team.

New to Owensboro’s signature barbecue event is a ticketed bourbon element taking place at the Owensboro Convention Center. Several bourbon distilleries will offer bourbon and cocktail samples.

“Bourbon roots run deep in Owensboro, as does my family ancestry. I’m excited to help procure the bourbon experience and apply my 15 years of industry experience in helping this event achieve great success,” said Seth Thompson, The Bourbon Review Owner.

“Owensboro deserves a bourbon expo and this element of BBQ and Barrels is exactly what is being brought to the table. We look forward to announcing participating distilleries in the near future. Bourbon tourism is exploding in the commonwealth and we can’t wait to see what this event does for our place along the bourbon trail,” said Dave Kirk, Visit Owensboro Destination Management.

“We want to make a couple things clear with the creation of this event. There will be church cooking teams. In fact, we’ve made an effort to invite as many parishes as possible. There will be more barbecue food trucks and vendors. There will be a carnival for kids. The YMCA will have their 5K event. Craft vendors will return to BBQ and Barrels,” added Kirk.

BBQ and Barrels will kick off on Friday, May 12 at 12:00 noon with barbecue from the church cooking teams and food vendors, carnival rides, and live music. The event will continue on Saturday, May 13 with the addition of the BBQ 5K, Backyard BBQ Cookoff, and the bourbon tasting events inside the Owensboro Convention Center.

Tickets will go on sale for the bourbon element of the event on March 1. VIP options will be available with the opportunity to try some special offerings from distilleries and food pairings. Bourbon classes and a sit-down dinner with Green River Distilling Company will also be offered.