I grew up around barbeque. It’s not a “new” thing for me. My family roots are in the Midwest and the South. It’s part of who I am, where I come from. The smell of meat cooking over wood and charcoal literally smells like home to me.
Last Saturday, I took some time out of my day and went to the Sam’s Club BBQ in Overland Park, KS, a Kansas City BBQ Society event.
KCBS and Sam’s Club® are back with the nationwide quest for BBQ’s National Champion with the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour. Major bragging rights and $500,000 are up for grabs in this one-of-a-kind competition series!
Twenty-five local events and five Regional finals will take place at various Sam’s Club locations across the country. What will start as 750 teams will end at Sam’s Club Headquarters in Bentonville with one National Champion. – Kansas City BBQ Society website
I visited with a few old friends from when I worked at the Kansas City BBQ Society a few years back. Let me tell you, there is nothing like a real good hug from people who know you. Definitely missed during my travels. Yes, I’m one of THOSE huggy types, I will confess.
I had the chance to catch up a little with Troy Black, the Series Director of the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour. Troy has been traveling around the U.S. for years sharing his knowledge and passion for cooking great barbeque. He shared some exciting news with me about a new book he published, All Fired Up, a follow-up to his successful The Big Book of BBQ. The book is filled with mouth-watering recipes and photographs, tips and wisdom from BBQ pitmasters and restaurants from across the nation. I found a reputable review of his book on the Embers and Flames site. Troy is a sweetheart and I’m really glad I got to see him. Check out his Bio: Learn2Q.
I walked around the contest for a bit to check out the old familiar sights, smells and sounds. 30 teams were present and the smoke was rolling. Country, blues and classic rock were being played as usual. From one E-Z Up tent and trailer to the next, I saw campy team names like Pork Me Purple, Smokeaholics, and Smoke Me Tender. The team names always make me smile. There is a lot of serious money spent and earned in the competition barbeque world, but a sense of humor and the ability to have fun is the best kind of currency.
Here are a few shots I took from the day:
I was only able to spend a couple hours at the event but in that short amount of time, I was reminded of my love for the BBQ community. It is hard to explain unless you’re a part of it. It’s good to be back.
The best things in my life – friendships, love, life lessons – have always had something to do with barbeque. It is a strange phenomenon that I am starting to fully embrace. If you see me photographing for a contest in your town, make sure you stop me and say “hi”. I might even give you a big hug.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my words and photos and, once again, thank you for being a part of my journey!