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.