by Abraham Galvan | The Destin Log

Destin Commons has chosen the 16 charities that will compete for the best barbecue in town during the annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ and Fireworks Festival.

Charities will team up with local restaurants, businesses and organizations and create barbecue-inspired dishes straight out of the grill. Food sampling will be judged in three different categories. Celebrity judges will pick the best in a blind taste, the public will pick the people choice award and a most spirited award will also be handed out.

“Charities can win up to $15,000 by winning first place in all categories,” said Heather Ruiz, marketing director for Destin Commons, which hosts the event. “Just by participating each will receive $2,500.”smokeonthecoast

Ruiz said the center sent out about 50 letters to non-profit organizations in October and the first 16 charities that responded were the ones that were selected.

First prize awards can range from $2,500 to $5,000 with second, third, fourth and fifth places winning cash awards as well. After all of the trophies are given out, the outdoor shopping and dining center will be lighted with a patriotic firework extravaganza.

“This is our signature giving event,” Ruiz said.” We are going to give away right at about $80,000 this year.”

The seventh annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ and Fireworks Festival will be held from 5-10 p.m. on Monday, July 3, at Destin Commons.

The 16 participating organizations, along with their barbecue teams, will be:

•Air Force Enlisted Village will partner up with The Gulf seafood restaurant.
•Arc of the Emerald Coast is teaming up with 98 BBQ.
•Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast will be cooking with Big Red Truck.
•The Children’s Advocacy Center picked Brightview Landscaping.
•Children in Crisis will work with B&C Fire Safety.
•Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance is sticking with Whole Foods Destin.
•The Destin Rotary Club will making their own barbecue dishes.
•Food for Thought and Waste Management will be firing up the grill together.
•Habitat for Humanity will let Hub City Smokehouse & Grill do the cooking.
•Harvest House of Destin is teaming up with Tailfins Seafood House & Oyster Bar.
•Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida will heat up the grill with Okaloosa Gas.
•Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation has partnered with BC’s Southern Paradise BBQ & Catering.
•Opportunity Place has chosen to team up with Classic Catering.
•Panhandle Warrior Partnership will be doing their own cooking.
•Ronald McDonald House Charities is teaming up with Voodoo BBQ & Grill.
•Toys for Tots will be grilling with Bass Pro Shops.