Barbecue contest begins with bacon bang

Kansas City, Mo., team unfurls ‘perfect blend’ as part of competition

Jason Day and his wife, Megan, offer a sample of the Bacon Explosion to Brad VanEss, of Las Vegas. The Burnt Finger BBQ team was competing at this weekend’s Great American Barbecue Festival at the Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone.

The Bacon Explosion — a carnivorous medley of bacon, sausage and barbecue flavor — has inspired nationwide media coverage and a future recipe book, “BBQ Makes Everything Better,” to be released next year by Aaron Chronister and Jason Day.

The Kansas City, Mo., natives are two members of a three-member team going by the name of Burnt Finger BBQ, which is competing in this weekend’s Great American Barbecue Festival at the Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone.

The festival, which started Friday and goes through Sunday, brings in competitors and visitors from all across the country.

“It is a perfect blend of sausage, bacon and barbecue,” Day said of the bacon-wrapped, bacon-stuffed sausage roll he and Chronister invented in about an hour last year.

BBQ Addicts

The two have since built a small but now nationally renowned business around of their creation, called BBQ Addicts. “It’s a lot of all of (those ingredients), but it’s not as scary and overwhelming as it looks.”

With Day and his wife, Megan, offering free samples, the Bacon Explosion had its first product launch at Friday night’s featured Barbecue Festival event, the BBQ Blues Party.

The event kicked off the weekend of barbecue contests, food, carnival rides and music.

Before the blues party, Day had predicted that people would love the Bacon Explosion, and as it turned out, he was right.

“This is unbelievable,” said Brad VanEss, of Las Vegas, after taking a bite.

“It was very good, and we’re actually gonna buy one to take home,” said Graham Giblin, of Kansas City, Mo.

Gates at the Barbecue Festival opened at noon on Friday, where participants could enjoy music, a kid zone and an array of vendors selling everything from barbecue brisket to palm readings.

An “apps, wraps and wings” contest also took place Friday. About 60 teams competed to make their own versions of appetizers, wraps or wings, which were judged on texture, presentation and taste. The judging took place around 7 p.m. and an award ceremony, where winners will be announced, is scheduled for around 5 p.m. today.

‘Festival feel’

After having been at the Woodlands Racetrack for the last four years, this is the first time the Great American Barbecue Festival has been at Sandstone.

Executive director Tracy Satterfield said hosting the barbecue event at Sandstone gave a truer meaning to the word “festival.”

“It’s been fun to see (the barbecue competition teams) come in and say, ‘Wow! I didn’t realize how many parts of the facility there were,'” she said. “It lends itself to a good festival feel.”

Throughout the weekend, featured events of the Great American Barbecue Festival will include the Royal Oak Invitational contest and judging, going on today, and the Kansas City Barbecue Society open contest on Sunday.

Burnt Finger BBQ will be one of 170 teams competing over the weekend — Day, Chronister and the third team member, Bryant Gish, will compete in the KCBS open contest — but Day said that he wasn’t too worried about gaining a winning spot.

“You gotta go in confident,” he said.

The entrance fee to the Great American Barbecue Festival is $10 per day, with all proceeds going to five Kansas City-based charities, including the Wyandotte County Parks Foundation and the Fox 4 Love Fund.

For more information and a complete listing of bands and events, visit

A recipe of the Bacon Explosion can be found at