Last updated February 28, 2020

Here are a few power options for your next barbecue competition, so you can have dependable electricity for pellet grills, chargers and coffee pots. 

There is a great debate about whether true barbecue requires electricity. Die hards will tell you that real pitmasters don’t need power. 

But in today’s digital age, we all depend on power, even at a barbecue competition. Some need electricity to run their pellet grills or pit temperature control fans, while others may want power just so they can charge their phones or turn on some lights when they fire up their pits in the middle of the night. 

Before your roll out to a barbecue competition, it’s important to plan ahead when it comes to electricity.

Will power be provided at a comp?

At most sanctioned-contests, power is now pretty standard. Sometimes it’s included in the registration fee, and sometimes it costs extra. 

But just because power is provided, doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan. 

Some competitions are so squared away that they have permanent power boxes on location that you can plug right into. But for the most part, event coordinators are bringing in large generators with spider boxes spread out throughout the comp area. 

You never know how far away the spider box will be, so you should always bring a 100-foot-long extension cord. Once it’s plugged in, add on a surge protector, as well. There are a lot of people plugging a lot of random things into these generators. I’ve seen an electric surge wipe out the motherboard of a pellet grill at a comp, leaving a team unable to compete. 

Even when power has been provided, I’ve been at a comp where it was completely useless. The coordinator brought in two generators for 15 teams and each generator had 2-3 available outlets. You can do the math to see that didn’t work.

So even when power is provided, it’s best to bring a backup.

Should I buy a generator?

If you plan to do a lot of competitions and you need a lot of power, a generator is a great option. 

But please don’t be that guy (or gal) who brings along a co