Have you filled out your bracket yet? No, not a March Madness bracket but an Alabama Barbecue Bracket.
There are 32 Alabama barbecue restaurants fighting to be the best in this year's tournament, sponsored by the state tourism department. This year's bracket is divided into different barbecue specialties including chicken, ribs, sauce and pork. Voters can go online and vote on their favorite barbecue restaurant based on these different categories.
"Barbecue is part of our heritage," said Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell. "The culinary tradition and cultural impact of our world-class barbecue make this bracket a source of local pride for Alabamians.
Voting began on Monday and voters are able to cast their online votes for the best barbeque at facebook.com/alabamafood. The 32 restaurants that are participating were selected based on social media polling that was conducted last fall. The restaurants in contention were seeded according to their specialties, and will be judged by the category they are most famous for rather than against their local or regional competition.
"In the inaugural Alabama Barbecue Bracket, voters determined which restaurant has the best barbecue in the state, but now voters will determine what defines the most iconic Alabama barbecue dish," Sentell said. "Whether that's a rack of ribs, smoked chicken, pulled pork or white sauce, this year's bracket will shed light on the dishes that make our state's barbecue portfolio so diverse. We're excited to see what the voters define as truly the best."
The competition will last for 28 days and each match up between restaurants will last for 48 hours. The restaurant with the most votes will advance to the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, and then the Final Four. The Final Four will comprise of Alabama's best chicken, pork, sauce and ribs. One restaurant will take home the title of overall winner, but the Final Four remaining restaurants will be named winners of their respective categories. Voting to determine the state's ultimate barbecue champion from the Final Four teams will take place from April 2-7.
The winning restaurant will be announced on April 7, the same day as the NCAA's Men's Division I Basketball Championship.
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