When it comes to the SouthCoast, we reign supreme on seafood, but one Somerset family is hellbent on making a name for themselves in the world of barbecue.

After winning a qualifying competition in Jamestown, Rhode Island, earlier this year, Matt Pereira and his wife Heidi traveled to Dallas for the World Food Championships where they placed 9th in the brisket category out of 21 teams from around the world.

A Covid Hobby That Turned Into a Passion

“Let’s call it a Covid hobby,” Matt Pereira said of how he got his start in front of the grill.

He was always intrigued by it and loved watching shows such as Pit Master, so when the pandemic had him stuck at home, he went to Home Depot and bought himself a smoker.

“Covid started to fade away, so (BBQ) contests started to come back,” he said. “We entered one in New Hampshire and held our own.”

After that, he and his wife continued to enter competitions, learning the craft and falling even more in love with the community.

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The Pereiras Win “Hogs for Heroes”

Then, in May of this year, they entered the World Food Championships Qualifier in Jamestown called Hogs for Heroes and took second place for their chicken, first place for their ribs, third place for their pork and second place for their brisket.

“That won us the chance to go to Dallas,” Pereira said.

Competing in the World Food Championships

The Pereiras had made it to the big show and found themselves rubbing elbows with some of their idols.

“The teams there are the guys you see on TV, social media. ... We were in awe for a while. I wanted to do my best to become one of them,” Pereria said.

After competing against 21 teams from all over the world, including Costa Rica, Italy and Mexico, the Pereiras placed 9th for their brisket and 13th overall.

Only the top five teams go on to the finals, so for them, the season is over, but their journey is just getting started.

Bringing the Championship to Somerset

After winning the qualifier in Jamestown, the economic development committee of Somerset reached out to the Pereiras about bringing the first BBQ competition to town.

“A nationally sanctioned Kansas City BBQ Contest is coming May 20 and May 21, 2023, to Slades Ferry Park for the first ever Somerset Sizzle,” Pereira shared.

The winner will get an automatic entry into the American Royal, one of the biggest BBQ contests in the world, and a chance to go to the Jack Daniels World Invitational in Tennessee.

"We showed the rest of the world that New England does know BBQ,” Pereira said.

The Pereiras are excited to bring the competition to Somerset as they continue their mission to become the best in the world.

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