On Sale: West Coast BBQ Classic Tickets

Make for Long Beach in May for luscious, piquant meats.

SPRINGTIME SPICY: Common wisdom among those who frequent foodie affairs where meats and grills and tongs reign says this: Follow the smoke. More than following the smoke, though, we should follow the scent of the smoke, which should, fingers cross, convey the spices and sauces and rubs of what is on the grill. It can be a bit overwhelming, true, in a situation where lots of grills are out, with lots of different meats and things topping the meats, but barbecue buffs kind of have the art form down. Is this an area you need to happily hone? And stoke your hunger ahead, just a little, to whet the appetite and prep your olfactory senses for smoke-following? Then you're in luck: Tickets are on sale for one of the spring's most savory smoky-smoker gatherings, a hoedown that is all about fans tasting what has just come off the grill and then picking their favorites. It's...

THE WEST COAST BBQ CLASSIC: And it celebrates its fourth annual at the Queen Mary on Saturday, May 9. That's the Saturday before Mother's Day, and we're a big believer that while brunch is fab, if your mom is a brunchist at heart, a lot of mothers out there would be very much all about jeans-ing-up and getting their hands a bit saucy at a mondo ribs-plus affair. The to-do brings together "Southern California's most accomplished Champion Pitmasters" for a day devoted to a variety of barbecue styles. The Classic is KCBS-sanctioned, so, for sure, Kansas City-style'll be in the house, or boat, but so will a bunch of other takes, all of which may be tried by attendees.

AS FOR THE OTHER HAPS? Tunes, "backyard games," stuff for kids to do, booths with merchants selling stuff, and other hang-out, chill-by-the-water doings will rule. Don't you love when May gets a jumpstart on summer eating? And you can treat your mom to a laidback day of food fun for her holiday, if that's her thing? And doesn't warm-weather grub just taste better when you're right up against an ocean? It's practically fact. Tickets? Point your tongs this way, BBQians.

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