Of all the great sports of summer, only one leaves competitors covered with sauce, smelling like smoke and clutching trophies with charcoal under their fingernails.
Barbecue - the staple of gatherings with friends and family on hot, lazy days -- has become serious business for amateur cooks who want to prove nobody does it better.
Not content to keep their skills confined to backyards, these competitive foodies hit the road loaded up with meat, equipment and secret recipes to challenge like-minded aficionados in hundreds of barbecue competitions each year.
"I don't play golf, I don't really have any other hobbies, so I own a lot of grills and smokers, and this is my fun," said Clint Cantwell of Garden City, New York.
Cantwell, 39, is the founder of the Smoke In Da Eye team and winner of last year's New York State BBQ Championship.
Born in Texas and married to a woman from Memphis, Tennessee -- two regions famous for their barbecue --Cantwell said the fare has always been part of his family life. He began entering contests in 2006 and now competes in about six a year, enough to fill a trophy room on the third floor of his house with awards and medals.
Read full story [CNN]