Dec 202016
 

People often ask me if I still enjoy BBQ competitions and BBQ life. My answer is always a big heck yeah! The friendships, experiences, and travel are amazing. The opportunities that come up are incredible. This past year has been no exception. Here it is by the numbers:

  • 26 contests in 4 states – FL, GA, AL, KS
  • 3 Grand Championships, 3 Reserve Grands

    Mary, Pat, Woody and Tammy were all able to join us in KS for The Royal.

  • 17 Top 5 Overall including 5 times 3rd
  • 4 Perfect Scores including 2 Perfect-Perfect FBA
  • 16 category 1st place calls
  • Vended as well as competed at 5 contests
  • 2nd place FBA team of the Year
  • Recorded my 50th career Grand Championship (now at 51)
  • Taught 3 Swamp Boys Q Schools

Had I chose to not compete in the American Royal Invitational and Open, we would have come in the top 5 for KCBS TOTY for teams with 5 or less contests. The American Royal blew that all to heck though! But I wouldn’t trade the time with friends for anything.

Pro Grand Championship #50

Other fun events for ’16:

  • Did an onsite promo for Bass Pro Shops
  • Got to BBQ with a Special Olympian in Venice, and he won!
  • Launched “Rub’s Original Rub
  • Won GC using a 7th different style smoker
  • Plans in the works for a class in Australia

And as always, a big Thank You to my sponsors. Every one of them matter.

  • Deep South Smokers – simply the best quality and performance smokers. 100% usable interior space, the most even temp’d cooker I’ve ever used. Built by hand in the USA. Look for some exciting new pits in ’17.
  • Big Poppa Smokers and Simply Marvelous aka West Coast Offense – some amazing rubs and injections from these 2. I use them every contest. So do the best teams in the country. Proud to be a West Coast Offense team!
  • Nature’s Own Hardwood Charcoal from Basques – Every time I cook. Clean and predictable sugar maple lump. Nothing else. Why would you cook on anything other than all wood?
  • Grizzly Coolers – I’m proud to be an ambassador for the best coolers on the market. Made in the USA. Lifetime Warranty. Try to top that.
  • Master Purveyors – If it walks, flies, crawls or swims – they have it! Not to mention the best competition briskets (A-9) available anywhere. Get in touch and tell them I sent you. They ship.
  • The BBQ Guru – Hands down the best thermostat/draft system for smokers anywhere. I’ve been using them since they started back in the early 2000s. Makes minding your pit incredibly easy and produces consistent results.
  • Butcher BBQ – David Bouska has lived and breathed meat and BBQ most of his life and his products reflect that. He’s used his knowledge to produce some amazing injections, rubs, sauces and oils. I use his products every contest and am proud to be a Pro Staff team.
 Posted by at 3:09 pm
Dec 292015
 

Swamp Boys BBQ Team was blessed to have another fun, productive, and charitable year in 2015. We were able to compete in 26 contests, in AL, AZ, FL, GA, NC, TN, TX, and The Hague, Netherlands! I travelled over 24,000 miles, all in the name of barbecue!

We won 2 Grand Championships and 4 Reserve Grand Championships, and a combined 12 top-5 overall finishes. 

lakeCity

FBA Florida State Champion 2015

We repeated as the Florida BBQ Association Florida State Champions, and finished 3rd in the FBA Team of the Year race, giving us 10 years of consecutive top 5 finishes.

On the Swamp Boys Q School front I was able to teach 5 classes in FL, IA, AZ and The Hague, NL. I truly enjoy teaching the art and science of BBQ to whoever will listen, wherever they are!

Q School Grads in Netherlands!

Q School Grads in Netherlands!

Swamp Boys BBQ Sauce sales also set a record, with 4 of the top 5 KCBS Teams of the Year being customers! We were also able to be accepted into the “Fresh From Florida” campaign, as a truly Florida product. I fully expect 2016 to set more records as the good word spreads.

We're Fresh From Florida!

We’re Fresh From Florida!

Through the help of the Swamp Boys Nation (all of you!) we were able to raise almost $7,000 to give directly to 2 dear barbecue friends who each experienced extreme health emergencies in ’15, to help pay their medical bills.

Robin (L) is now a Breast Cancer Survivor!

Robin (L) is now a Breast Cancer Survivor!

Jim (R) is recovering from Acute Pancreatitus

Jim (R) is recovering from Acute Pancreatitus

And as an outgoing  member of Big Poppa Smokers Elite Team, I am honored to be able to present our local  kidsPack USA a check for $1,000 from BPS. I regret that this will be my last act as a BPS Elite Team, as the criteria to belong has changed for 2016. However I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I have had to be a part of this charitable group of barbecuers. I hope to be able to continue to support kidsPack through other avenues in 2016.

kidsPack Lakeland

kidsPack Lakeland

Of course all of this was possible with the help of my sponsors, who have provided me with the best products available: Deep South SmokersBig Poppa SmokersCompart Duroc Family FarmsNature’s Own Hardwood CharcoalGrizzly CoolersGrillGratesButcher BBQBBQ Guru3 Eyz BBQ. I fully recommend all of these products with no reservations. Please talk to me if you have questions about any of them. I will be happy to help! And most of all thank you to my family! Without the love and support of my wife and daughters none of this could have happened. I love you guys, forever.

ThankYou

 Posted by at 12:55 pm
Mar 222015
 

We had a couple of great out of state Q Schools in the past month. The first was in beautiful Lake Havasu and was a Wednesday/Thursday class, just prior to the Havasu contest. That proved not to be a good choice of days, as there were not too many who were able to take off. But having a small class was lots of fun and we were able to have lots of individual interaction. I had an absolute blast and am thankful for the opportunity.

HavasuClass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second class was held in Ankeny IA, and while the surroundings weren’t as beautiful, the people were fantastic. Thank you Iowa for having me!

Ankeny

 Posted by at 4:38 pm
May 122014
 

This first year contest had a beautiful setting, downtown and on the yacht basin. As usual I was the last to come in, having to work a full day Friday. Being last-in paid off at this contest, I believe I got the prime spot.

The contest went well on my end, although I thought pork and brisket could have been better. And according to the judge’s scores I was right. I was blessed with a 2nd in chicken and ribs, a 5th in pork and a 6th in brisket. That was just good enough to land Grand Champion for the contest.

Great location.

Great location.

GC!

GC!

Waterfront property!

Waterfront property!

 Posted by at 6:48 pm
Apr 232014
 
Grand Champ, FL State Champ!

Grand Champ, FL State Champ!

The Florida BBQ Association’s Florida State Championship was held in Venice FL April 18-19, and 57 pro teams went head to head to see who would be best. When it was all over we were fortunate to come out with a 3rd in chicken, a 3rd in ribs, a 3rd in pork, and a 6th in brisket. This very consistent cook gave us a nearly 9 point Grand Champion victory over Reserve Grand!

(Facts: I won this contest the first year and I was on crutches with a broken ankle. This year I had 10 stitches in my forehead from an accident. Also my first GC since releasing the sale of my sauce to the public. Buy it here.)

The Venice contest has always been a top-notch event hosted by the Venice Sertoma Club. I’ve not seen a group of volunteers who work harder to make their event a success. I know the teams all appreciate the extra efforts, from the meet and greet on Thursday night, to the free dinner and breakfast for teams, to the nice Tervis Tumbler. Lot’s of infrastructure upgrades have been made with power and water. I think this contest will continue to be a favorite among teams for years to come. And it is very popular with the locals. Estimates were between 10,000 and 15,000 people in attendance to enjoy the big name bluegrass bands and the best in barbecue. Vendors all sold out!

A big thanks to my cousin George who came down and helped me all weekend, making my work easier. And to all of my sponsors for providing the best products:

  • Big Poppa Smokers
  • Grizzly Coolers
  • Butcher BBQ
  • 3 Eyz BBQ
  • Wicked Que
  • Go Concepts
  • Winter Haven AAMCO
Grand Champion & Florida State Champion!

Grand Champion & Florida State Champion!

 Posted by at 9:10 am