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Meat and Steele at Smokin' Showdown fundraiser

Barbecue brisket, beer and live music on the plaza of Hotel Congress on Saturday will be the attractions at a fundraiser for the Steele Children's Research Center. Seven local chefs will vie for the title of the Old Pueblo’s Pitmaster, and support the search for effective treatments for pediatric cancer and diabetes.

The Smokin' Showdown event was organized by Jeff Ronstadt.

"In 2011, when our seven-year-old son Larry was diagnosed with leukemia, the doctors and staff at Steele Children's Research were instrumental in his recovery," Ronstadt said. "Before his diagnosis, I was like most Tucsonans: I had no idea what the folks at Steele were doing."

"Now, I want everyone to know," he said. "The research they are doing right here in our community is so meaningful, not only for Larry, but for every child around the world who are fighting pediatric cancer. Throwing a barbecue Downtown seeming like the perfect way to spread the news."

The research arm of the University of Arizona Department of Pediatrics, the Steele Center is part of the UA College of Medicine, and conduct research into areas such as autism, autoimmune disorders, cancer and blood diseases, type 1 diabetes, GI disorders and lung disease. Doctors at the center provide healthcare at the Banner Children's - Diamond Children's Medical Center.

Saturday, battling it out to win a championship belt for the best brisket in town will be chefs from Rusty Truck BBQ, Chillin n' Gillin BBQ, Edge Catering, Acacia, Cup Cafe, Brushfire BBQ, and Gary Rays' BBQ.

The judges for the Saturday evening event will be Matt Russell of on the Menu Live, CJ Hamm of Tucson Foodie, and Executive Chef Daniel Perez of the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort.

Tickets are $30, $35 day-of, for the 6-9 p.m. showdown. Attendees will receive two ounces of barbecue from each of the seven vendors, two sides, and a beer from Pueblo Vida.

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Greyhound Soul will perform.

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