As the rain cleared out, the smoke poured in. Smoke from barbecues, that is. This past Saturday and Sunday marked the 21st Annual Safeway Barbecue Battle that is held right in the nation’s capital on Pennsylvania Avenue.

For two days every year, teams compete for trophies and cash prizes in all different categories, from “Best BBQ Sauce” to “Safeway Select Extra Meaty Rib Contest,” to an ultimate prize of the “Kansas City BBQ Society Grand Champion.” This year, 44 teams from all over the country entered these contests.

While some teams have been competing in this event for many years, other teams, like Dyvine BBQ, were new to the competition. When asked why Dyvine BBQ decided to enter this year, Chef Derrick reminded us that while it is great to be a big fish in a small pond, a fish can only grow to the size of its environment. With this in mind, Chef Derrick and his team joined into the festivities with a determined spirit, competing in almost every category. They ended up third place in the “Open Nature All Natural Lamb Contest,” proving that even though they might not as well-known across the country, they were certainly a contender.

The Barbecue Battle wasn’t only for those competing, however. Over 100,000 people came by the event to eat some barbecue, listen to music being played on three separate stages, and become actual judges of the “Military Chef Competition.” People in attendance also had the opportunity to meet Famous Dave who has delicious barbecue restaurants all over the United States.

One of the best parts of this event, aside from the tasty barbecue, is the fact that it benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs, as well as the Wounded Warrior Project. Over the years, this event has donated over $1.3 million to these benefits.

Whether you walked away from the Safeway Barbeque Battle with a trophy in hand or a full stomach, you certainly walked away very happy.