I have been asked many time, “how did you get involved with BBQ?” I don’t know if it is how, as much as why… Some folks are just born with BBQ in their blood, their family has being cooking Q for generations. Others get involved with the socializing aspect of BBQ, just hanging out with some buddies and figure, “let’s take this party on the road”. Still others, like myself, start off in the backyard with the family, and with the encouragement of friends and family decide to enter a competition, and
get totally sweep up in the excitement of the competition.
No matter how we got involved with competition BBQ, I think we all have a couple of things in common, we all enjoy the spirit of competition, we all love cooking BBQ (kinda tired of eating BBQ though lol) and we all have, what I call a need to roam. I can only speak for myself of course, but I have a family and my regular job that keeps me very busy, and I have to find time to “schedule” BBQ into my life. I am very lucky, as I have a very understanding and supportive family, and they allow me time to engage in my favorite hobby, but after a while the backyard becomes very small, and unable to fulfill your BBQ desires. Soon you start to expand your BBQ domain and enter a local competition, that goes well, and if you are very lucky, get the thrill of having your name called during the awards ceremony, now you are hooked. Willing to travel to compete, your comfort zone just went from your backyard, to city wide, county wide, state wide & and for some folks, nation wide. To me the desire to compete is a big part of doing competitions, but the excitement of traveling to new locations, seeing new things, and of course meeting new people, that is a huge part of the competition BBQ scene. The cooking portion of the competitions is the art of BBQ, but the travel, and meeting folks is the life of BBQ!!!
Too many good friends to list and show all, below are just a few pics of friends and BBQ family.
You know what you are going to cook at each competition, before you get there, but you do not know who you will meet, what your site looks like, exactly what the venue will be like, sometimes these things do not reach our expectations, but for the most part, we are happy with the out come. At times our “regular” lives over run any individuality we may try to express, but getting out on the highway, jumping on that plane or just breaking away from the ordinary routine, helps add some spice to life. For me, change is what keeps my heart beating, helps the blood surging, I love it. I am waiting, not very patently, mind you, for our next competition. We had a very good time at our last competition in Eagle Lake, FL. Jim Elser (Pitmaster from Sweet Smoke Q) and his team did a great job. We got a great call in ribs, third place. What fun it is to hear your name called, but I have also had it go the other way, no calls at all, what a bummer that is, but then you start to think of the great time you had there, the hard work you put into it, the money you paid………yep, even more of a bummer!!! lol Kidding aside, I do love to hear our name call, but being there and competing on the level that today’s BBQ is at, is really an incredible feat on it’s own. Then getting to meet the fine folks involved with competition BBQ, is always a great thrill.
I’m like many, we do a lot of practice cooks at home, between competitions. When I started out, I had my family who were so eager to be my little Ginny-pigs, and try out as much BBQ as I could cook up for them, but now after doing this for a couple years now, it seems like everyone is busy when I want to do a cook. So, I have to hit the streets with my BBQ, getting friends and extended family, that I haven’t over used yet, to eat some BBQ. Honestly, my family is always there for me, with open hearts…..and empty stomachs. I would not have even started this team if it was not for y’all, thanks!!! (See what you guys started?) Getting back to the
practice cooks, I enjoy doing them, then getting to write about them after I have finished, it is a great way to keep up my skills, both as a cook and a writer. I have two primary grills that I cook on, first is a Lang 36 patio, I just picked this cooker up a couple months ago, and I am very happy with it.
My second grill is a GMG (Green Mountain Grill), a pellet smoker. I love turning on my cookers, the smells from the competitions come rushing back as soon as that smoke hits the air. Thanks to Chad Ward from Whiskey Bent BBQ, I have had a GMG at every competition I have done, but to me the smell and sounds created from the GMG are part of the competition, in the middle of the night, when it is finally quite around the competition site, except for a couple of Karaoke freaks going all hours of the night…that’s another story, listening to the auger feeding the pellets into the fire box, and the wonderful aroma created by the woods within the pellets, the smell of the meat cooking.
I truly enjoy that experience, and by getting a small feeling of that here at home, helps me feel connected to what I love to do, in a small way. I really wish I could do more competitions, if it were up to me, I would be at everyone of them, but as I said earlier, BBQ still has to be scheduled around the “regular life”. Not to mention, doing a BBQ competition is not the cheapest thing in the world. You have your fees for getting into the venue to compete, meat costs, spices, gas(that’s a big one now), equipment, entertainment & drinking cost. With the prices of meats going through the roof many teams are drawing back on catering due to the high cost of meat and gas. Pulling my trailer will really eat up the gas. If I have a customer for BBQ, I try to set up a home or office delivery only, much easier on the pocket. Another thing many teams are doing to try and off set cost is taking on a team sponsor, this has been something some teams have some for years, but now a days, most teams have, or are looking to have team sponsors. Many sponsors are will to help with the cost of doing competition BBQ, and others are able to offer products, for no cost, but help to offset some BBQ expenses. We have been fortunate to be able to work with Pitmaster BBQ Sauce (formally known as Rooftop BBQ sauce) as a team sponsor, they have a great sauce. Andy Allen and his Rooftop BBQ team are BBQ competitors as well, so they understands what a team needs at the competition, and also knows the flavor profiles that the teams are looking for. That is why their sauce is great, on it’s own, for the competitions, or for home. Go to greenmountaingrills.com to find a GMG dealer that carries Pitmaster BBQ Sauce.
We have been lucky enough to get hooked up with a great wood company, Baxter’s Original. Mike Baxter is also a BBQ guy, and knows exactly what teams are looking for in quality of wood. I have dealt with other wood providers, in the past, and I can honestly say, the quality of wood offered by Baxter’s Original is the best quality I have seen, and the customer service is tops. Please check out Baxter’s website, where they offer all types of BBQ necessaries. www.baxtersoriginal.com
We here at Hogs Gone Wild BBQ team are very pleased with being chosen to have a sponsorship association with Oakridge BBQ. We have used a couple Oakridge products in the past, and loved them. We have started using their products in all four of our competition turn-ins, and have had great results. We are looking forward to a long term relationship with the Oakridge BBQ family. Do yourself a favor and take a look at www.oakridgebbq.com to pick up some of the best rubs on the market.
If you would like to combine everything into one order, and check out some of the best products available to BBQ with, please check out our latest sponsors at pitmastersdepot.com Jay with Pit Masters Depot, is still working on his web-site, so if you would like to order anything from them, including GMG products, please contact me, and I will let you know how to get what you need. Jay is adding plenty of products to their innovatory, and will truly be a one stop shopping destination for all BBQ’ers.
I will be announcing a new sponsor here in the next week or two, we are very excited about this sponsor. All I can say, at this moment is, if you want to take your pork to the next level, this will help you get there!!! A truly amazing product!!!!
There are so many folks, I could not even think of listing them all here, BBQ folks are the salt of the
earth, and at times, refer to one another as family. I know, by personal experience, that when you are
out at a competition site, you may have forgotten something, or a piece of equipment has failed, do not
panic, many folks will be glad to step up and give you a hand, I have done it myself. Now I’m not
saying you should show up empty handed and expect everyone to pitch in and give you everything for
your cook, someone may just put you out on your ear if you try that, but I am saying that BBQ folks
like to help. Helping, isn’t that what we are all here to do? Look at all the relief efforts BBQ folks have
organized and executed, just recently for the tornado victims throughout the U.S.A., there were BBQ
folks lined up to help. Having a good time, sharing life with those you care about, and making the most
of the short time we have here, and for me BBQ is one big way I can achieve what I am looking for in
life, happiness. After all, in the end, all we have are memories; make as many as you can.