Great Lenexa BBQ Battle returned to normalcy this year — Here’s who won

Love 2 Q of De Soto, led by head check Keith Nebel, left, took home the title of Grand Champion. Photo credit Grace Logan.

More than 160 teams competed this weekend in the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle, an annual staple among barbecue enthusiasts in Johnson County that had not held a competition with in-person spectators for three years.

Who won? The contest came to a close Saturday with Love 2 Q from De Soto taking home the title of Grand Champion, with Keith Nebel the head chef.

Love 2 Q took home Grand Champion. Photo credit Grace Logan.

Who else took home ribbons? The Pirates of Bar B Que Bay team from Olathe was awarded the Reserve Grand Champion ribbon, essentially second place to Love 2 Q.

The Pirates Bar B Que Team. Photo credit Grace Logan.


They were followed by Sublime BBQ of Olahte, which received Third Place overall.

The Sublime BBQ team. Photo credit Grace Logan.

Reaction: “[I’m] excited [and] euphoric,” Keith Nebel, Love 2 Q’s Head Chef, said. “Hot and tired for sure, but [there’s] just this adrenaline rush right now. [It feels] almost surreal. Sometimes I’d come really close [to winning] so far this year [at other contests]. I didn’t think it would be this contest, but it’s great it happened to be this one.”

Like old times: This year’s contest was a return to normalcy of sorts for the event.

  • The 2020 event was canceled entirely during the first summer of COVID-19. Last year, teams were allowed to compete, but restrictions were put into place as the event was not open to the public.
  • This year, the gates were open to the public and turnout was similar to pre-pandemic years, according to organizers.
  • “[We] feel great,” Recreation Supervisor Sarah Hurst said. “It was a good event. It was good to be back out here at Sar-ko-Par Trails Park. We really enjoyed it and I think the public and the teams did as well.”