Colorado BBQ team heading to Lynchburg for "The Jack"

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2 Lil' Macs BBQ is the little piggy of "The Jack." The Broomfield-based team is now en route to Lynchburg, Tennessee, for the 22nd Annual Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue. The contest will be smokin' today and tomorrow, with teams competing for $30,000 and prizes.

We caught up with Ryan McBreen, the pitmaster of 2 Lil' Macs, as he loaded up his team (not some amalgamation of drinking buddies who needed to pad their stomachs for beer, but a real family affair)

for the trek across the country.

Turns out the team is named after McBreen's two children, and he's backed by his dad and father-in-law. His wife, mother and mother-in-law, as well as the kids, help out, too. When wood hits the fire, it's like a family reunion for this crew. 

While McBreen is a bbq enthusiast, he's a relative contest rookie. "We have always followed the BBQ competitions on TV, visited them, and even judged one," he says. "This year we decided to give it a try for the first time. Our first event was in Durango on the Fourth of July. We finished fifth of out 25. Our second event was in Laramie, Wyoming, where we were first out of 32 teams. It was this event that qualified us for the The Jack." 

Which means this team is technically representing the State of Wyoming, but it's still based in Colorado -- and it's competing in one of the food world's biggest challenges. "We are a rookie team going against the best teams in the U.S. and the world," he says. "I just hope we compete well and do the best we can and not embarrass ourselves." 

The team will be competing in the four events that will qualify it to be in the Grand Champion round: pork butt or shoulder, pork ribs, chicken, and beef brisket.

And what is the secret recipe? When pushed, McBreen eventually broke, admitting that they "only pretend to cook and get Chili's take-out to turn in for the judges." 

So take a minute today to wave a rib in honor of 2 Lil' Macs BBQ. "We are usually one of the smaller setups at these competitions," McBreen concludes. "We are a family that goes to these events to be together, have fun, and if we win, all the better."

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