Competitive BBQ

by Kevin H. on February 22, 2012 · 5 comments

In 2007 I took a trip to Memphis with my dad and his brothers for their annual Pinochle Tournament.  They chose Memphis as the location that year because my cousin Tim lived there and wanted to host them.  Tim and I had been sharing BBQ recipes and ideas for a few years at that point…other than Cardinal baseball it’s all we talked about.  So we decided to spend the weekend outside cooking for our 6 uncles.

Over 2 days we cooked…pork tenderloin, salmon, chicken, sausage…a lot of stuff.  And every single thing we served was declared, “the best I’ve ever had” by each of our uncles.  That got us thinking…maybe we didn’t just THINK we were good…maybe we actually ARE good.  From that point on our conversations turned to competitions and the realistic possibility of doing them.

Over the next few years we worked on homemade rubs and sauces and honed our processes for all competition meats.  We knew from the beginning our uniqueness would come from using flavors we created from scratch.  We researched and practiced and researched and practiced.  In 2010 our opportunity presented itself and we entered in the Memphis in May World Championship Cooking Competition.  We finished 60 out of 120 rib teams – not bad for a first effort and the experience was thrilling.

We entered a few other competitions in the St. Louis and Memphis area and placed in the top 10 twice in chicken.  Then in 2011 we tried our hand at Memphis in May again.  This time we had a bit more success, taking 2nd Place in Ribs!  Unbelievable.  In just our 2nd year of competing we took 2nd Place in a World Championship cooking contest.  We wrapped up our year with a 1st place finish in Beef Tenderloin at the St. Louis BBQ Bash.

Our uncles were right.

You can learn more about our team, SLABS a’ Smokin, on our website.

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Russ March 6, 2013 at 10:27 am

Its called “Smoke In The Spring” located in Osage City, KS. which is just a short drive from Kansas City. Its known to be one of the largest competitions in the midwest and the Kansas state championship. I don’t have high expectations with my results as some of these guys are the best in the country. For example, “Big Mo” from Pitmasters is one of the competetors but I figure if I can have a decent showing at least that shows me where I stand with the “big boys” plus it sounds like fun.

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Russ March 5, 2013 at 9:43 am

Thanks for your input Kevin. Hopefully I can do as well as you did just starting out.

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Kevin March 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Thanks, Russ. Much luck to you. I’m happy to share any knowledge I have. I’m a big believer in the brotherhood of bbq and helping each other. Touch base any time.

What area of country are you competing in?

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Russ March 4, 2013 at 10:14 am

I have recently started a smoking business much in the same manner as you started by everyone saying “that’s the best I’ve ever had”. I’m about to enter my first competition and the chicken is not my best item. I used your receipe with a few of my own twists and it turned out great with one exception, the skin was not crispy and to my understanding the judges like crispy skin. Do you have any suggestions?

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Kevin March 4, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I wish there was an easy solution. If there is, I don’t know it. 2 things I’ve done that help:
1. Put thighs close to heat source in your smoker so they get blasted. Helps firm it. For me that means top rack.
2. Hit it on the grill over direct heat. Be careful not to burn, but that helps a ton.

Good luck! Exciting to hear you’re joining the world of competing-let me know how it goes!

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