HOUSTON -

The 2012 World's Champion Bar-B-Que Contest kicks off Thursday.

The contest includes three days of cooking, competition, eating and dancing.

About 300 teams will compete at the contest at Reliant Park.

"We've got about 40 racks of ribs going right now," said Bryan McLarty of the RAMS Club cookoff team.

"You try to cook the best you can for the judges," said Craig Sharry with the Texas Pepper Jelly cookoff team. "They have to like it."

The contest runs 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets are available at the entrance gate and cost $10 for ages 13 and over and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. The ticket includes a chopped barbecue beef sandwich plate at the public food tent and entry into the carnival. It does not include entry to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

A record 244,184 people attended last year's contest.