A new barbecue cookoff is named for former Mayor Carl Brewer

When Wichita’s Juneteenth ICT celebration continues on Friday and Saturday at McAdams Park, it’ll include a cook off named for one of Wichita’s most well-known one time barbecue chefs.

The inaugural Carl Brewer Cook-Off is set for Saturday and will feature teams battling to cook the best ‘cue — a pursuit that Brewer — Wichita’s former mayor, who died last June at age 63 — was famous for.

It will be the first JuneteenthICT cook off event in six years, and the group putting it together decided that Brewer would be the perfect namesake for the event. Throughout his adulthood, Brewer competed on the barbecue circuit and even bottled and sold his own signature sauces, which were carried by local stores.

The public will be able to watch the cooks at work from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the park, 1329 E 16th St. A tasting is scheduled for 1-2 p.m., where the public can get bites for $1 apiece. Awards will be given at 3 p.m.

Brewer, who served as mayor from 2007 to 2015, was Wichita’s first elected Black mayor.

Barbecuing was his after-hours passion, and he was so serious about it, he even took a class to learn what judges in cook offs look for. His son, Carlo, told JuneteenthICT organizers that he would help his father with the cook offs and they’d travel around the region in an RV with a smoker hooked to the back.

Brewer’s widow, Cathy, shared that her husband loved his hobby so much, he was talking about getting a new smoker during the final days of his life.

Carlo Brewer will be one of three competitors vying for the trophy and a $500 cash prize. He’ll compete under the name “Brewer’s Smok’n & Chok’n,” which was the name he and his father used to use.

JuneteenthICT activities started in Wichita earlier this week and continue in McAdams Park through the weekend with concerts, a parade and more. For a list of Juneteenth activities, visit www.coreofwichita.org/juneteenth-ict.

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Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.

Rebecca R. Ammons

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