Down Home Barbecue and Chili Cook-Off

This post contains everything you ever wanted to know about the Down Home Barbecue and Chili Cook-Off I planned for my daughter's school.

If you are in the "What did I get myself in to?! I AM FREAKING OUT!" stage and are looking for step-by-step instructions on how to coordinate a lunch for your school, don't worry. I've got you covered. Our post, "How To Plan a Lunch at your School," will walk you through the entire process. Be sure to download our free planning guide too!

We had two different lunches during Staff Appreciation Week this year (we went crazy, ya’ll) and they were deeee-licious! The planning of these events was fairly straightforward, but I wanted to share a few tips to make your life a bit easier.

Down home Barbecue - Western themed teacher appreciation lunch ideas and printables 

The Food


You may be amazing at cooking barbecue, but we up in Seattle, not so much. It’s not that we can’t. Well it is. Most of us can’t. LOL! We can make you a fantastic cup of coffee though! I didn’t want to ask parent volunteers for fifteen pounds of brisket and fifteen pounds of pulled pork, so I had the meat portion of our lunch catered. It was fantastic.

BUDGET TIP: Having the entire lunch catered was cost prohibitive. Instead, our wonderful parent volunteers made the side dishes and desserts (cookies and brownies).

TIP: Before paying for any catering be sure to confirm the pick up or delivery time. The restaurant I ordered from didn't normally even OPEN until 11pm, which was 15 minutes after the first "lunch" at our school. They were so kind and opened up an hour early to accommodate our lunch schedule. 


Next up was the Chili Cook-Off. It can be tricky to recruit enough volunteers for back-to-back lunches, so I came up with an idea of a chili making contest.

Chili Cook Off - Western themed teacher appreciation lunch ideas and printables

I numbered each batch of chili, and had voting slips on the table. The staff voted on their favorite chili, and the cook who prepared the winning chili received a $25 Amazon gift card. I included information about the contest on the SignUp Genius form to entice parent volunteers. 

We had “High Flauntin’ Water" in our "Watering Hole" at both lunches, which was a good thing. Some of that chili was HOT!



Our "Down Home Barbecue" lunch printables are available for purchase here.
Our "Chili Cook-Off" lunch printables are available for purchase here.
Our "High Falutin' Water" bottle wraps are available for purchase here.

Saddle Up!

This is just one event from our Rootin' Tootin' western-themed Appreciation Week. You can read about the other days and activities below. YEE HAW! 

How to Plan a "Best in the West!" Appreciation Week
How to Make a Wanted Poster
Snack Stampede

High Falutin' Coffee Cart + Breakfast Bonanza

Fancy Pants Picnic Lunches