Competition BBQ


American Royal Scrapbook # 1 – Intro and Johnny Trigg!

Baseball and BBQ — both are favorite American past times with celebrated World Series championships. Pork Barrel BBQ just participated in our first “World Series of BBQ” competition at the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri. This marks the 31st year the best of the best in competition BBQ have made their way to the old stockyards of Kansas City to compete for the title of Grand Champion. Over 500 teams compete in the three-day BBQ competition and this year over 100,000 fans and fellow BBQ lovers came out to show their support, making this the largest and most attended BBQ event of the year!

We caught up with some famous BBQ Pitmasters, like Rod Gray of Pellet Envy and Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke. And we even had a BBQ cookoff showdown starring our very own Heath Hall and the “Godfather of BBQ,” Johnny Trigg. The crowd enjoyed watching the Kansas City Barbecue Society’s All-American Grill Master Series Competition cookoff as Heath Hall and Johnny Trigg battled it out in friendly “iron chef” grilling competition on stage.

You can check out our behind-the-scenes video footage on Pork Barrel BBQ’s YouTube Channel:

For more special interviews and behind-the-scenes videos of Pork Barrel BBQ adventures, subscribe to Pork Barrel BBQ’s YouTube Channel:


BBQ Secret – We Share Huge BBQ Competition Secret

BBQ Competition Secret – we share huge BBQ competition secret! Check out this video sharing BBQ hint from 2010 Pickin in the Panhandle West Virginia State BBQ Championship!  We had a great time at this event – learn more by visiting our site at


BBQ Competition – West Virginia State BBQ Championship 2010

BBQ competitions are a lot of fun and a chance to hang out with some great friends.  We just returned from Pickin in the Panhandle the West Virginia State Championship.  It was a really great event set in a beautiful spot in the mountains of West Virginia at the Lazy A Campground.  There were 53 teams competing, including some of the best teams like Tuffy Stone’s Cool Smoke, Mike Richter’s Chix, Swine and Bovine, 3 Eyz BBQ, DC Firefighters, Dj Richards of Pig N’ Paradise (coolest tiki smoker you’ve ever seen), Dizzy Pig, and too many more to name!  Pork Barrel BBQ had a great event, finishing 4th Place Chicken Category, 5th Place Pork Category, 10th Place Brisket Category, and 33rd Place Rib Category – winning 5th Place Overall!  We wanted to give a huge thanks to our meat sponsor’s Bill, Brian and Aaron Fuchs from Wagshals for providing us such amazing product!  Be sure to visit our online store if you want to stock up on our barbecue sauces and rubs for your next BBQ competition or backyard grill!  Here are some fun photos from the Pickin in the Panhandle Championship!

Making BBQ List

Heath checking the list!

Pork Barrel BBQ Pitmasters

Pork Barrel BBQ Competition Team!

Wagshals Meat

Huge Thanks to Wagshals!

BBQ Grill Watching

Heath and Bill Minding the Smoker at 3 am!


Thermapen Confirms It Was Cold!

BBQ Cinnamon Rolls

Bill Blackburn Making Breakfast!

Pork Barrel BBQ Wins

A Happy and Tired Pork Barrel BBQ Team

Cool Trophy

Sawyer Wins His First BBQ Trophy!


Sawyer Falls Asleep Talking About His New Trophy!


MIM Scrapbook # 7 – Pork Barrel BBQ talks BBQ with Mike Mills from 17th Street Bar & Grill and Apple City BBQ Competition Team

Mike Mills of 17th Street Bar & Grill and Apple City BBQ Competition Team talking BBQ? Doesn’t get much better than that! At Memphis in May, we were next to BBQ legend Pat Burke who introduced us to Mike Mills – his teammate from the Apple City BBQ Competition Team from Murphysboro, Illinois.  Heath talks about several great topics in this wideranging interview – so be sure to watch the whole video to get all your BBQ tips and secrets.  Special thanks to Mike from 17th Street Bar & Grill for taking time to talk with us!  Be sure to check out the amazing book written by Mike and his daughter Amy Mills Tunnicliffe – Peace Love and Barbecue!  “Peace, Love, and Barbecue is an extraordinary behind-the-scenes journey into the world of barbecue with Grand World Champion pitmaster Mike Mills as your guide. Join Mike and his barbecue buddies as they spin a few tales, spill their secrets, and reluctantly part with their prizewinning recipes.  The book is available at most bookstores or on”


MIM Scrapbook # 6 – Smoke in Da Eye – Pork Barrel BBQ talks Competition BBQ with Clint Cantwell from Smoke in Da Eye

Smoke in Da Eye BBQ’s Clint Cantwell talks with Heath Hall about his championship BBQ team, and life as a BBQ and social media guru.  Clint Cantwell does an amazing job on his Smoke in Da Eye Blog of capturing BBQ footage, creating BBQ recipes, and showing what it takes to be successful on the BBQ circuit.  Be sure to follow Clint Cantwell’s blog and visit his Smoke in Da Eye website!   HUGE thanks Clint Cantwell for taking the time to sit down with Pork Barrel BBQ!


Rod Gray and his Pellet Envy Competition BBQ Team Wins Reserve Grand Champion at the Michigan State BBQ Championships

Rod Gray of the Pellet Envy competition BBQ team won Grand Reserve Champion at the Michigan State BBQ Championships this past weekend in Brooklyn, MI.  We had the distinct opportunity to cook with Rod Gray and his Pellet Envy team at the Michigan State BBQ Championships and had an amazing time.  Rod Gray’s Pellet Envy  Team was the 2009 KCBS Team of the Year, and he and his wife Sheri Gray are the most winning couple in BBQ history with Pellet Envy.  Rod Gray is widely known in BBQ circles as the “Hardest Working Man in BBQ.”  Rod Gray is in a select group of world champion BBQ’ers like Johnny Trigg from Smokin’ Triggers BBQ, Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke, and Pat Burke and Mike Mills of Apple City Barbecue.  Rod cooks on a Geer pit (known as a Jambo Pit), his is one of the first pits made by famed smoker builder Jamie Geer (check him out at  He is one of a rare breed of professional BBQ’ers who travel the country competing and helping to spread the word about barbecue.  Here are some photos from the Michigan Championship:

Pellet Envy Wins Reserve Grand

Pellet Envy with Michigan's Finest

BBQ Supporters waiting for Reserve Grand


MIM Scrapbook #5 – Larry Gaian of talks Char-Broil INFRARED BBQ Grills with Pork Barrel BBQ

Love Char-Broil BBQ grills?  We had the great honor to meet Larry Gaian from to talk about his experience with the new Char-Broil INFRARED grill.  This is another post in the series of our amazing experiences at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.  For those of you who haven’t had the chance to visit we strongly encourage you to visit his blog if you are interested in topics like barbecue sauce, barbecue recipes and how to cook anything on a barbecue grill (especially a Char-Broil grill).  Larry Gaian is a real BBQ genius and we were very excited to get the chance to meet Larry at the Memphis in May barbecue competition while he was with the Char-Broil BBQ grill team.  Larry is creator of MOINK balls – what is a MOINK ball?  Visit to learn about them and the 2010 MOINK Ball Challenge!  Be sure to check out this great video of Pork Barrel BBQ Heath Hall and The BBQ Grails Larry Gaian talking about the new Char-Broil grill.


MIM Scrapbook #4 – Pork Barrel BBQ talks to BBQ Legend and World Champion Pat Burke of Tower Rock BBQ

Some say legends are born – that an opportunity in time presents itself and the stars align and transfer one from a position of commonality into a legend.  As a kid I was sure my transformational moment would come in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, a three ball two strike count with my team down no less than three runs in the pivotal game seven of the most important World Series in the history of baseball.  With one swift swing of the bat I’d go from a who is he to a legend – that’s how legends can be born.

Others say legends are made – that one can’t go unnoticed for too long if they keep repeating greatness.  These are the folks who go about their business not seeking the recognition they deserve, no, they go about their business simply doing what they know how to do at the highest possible level it can be done.  Sooner or later people start talking and the legend starts growing.  These are legends built over time and many accolades, accolades that are not achieved by the alignment of stars, but through hard work, dedication and skill – that’s how legends can be made.

The word legend is often thrown around without much consideration – after all, if we were all legends none of us could actually be one.  What cannot be argued is that barbecue has legends, both born and made.  Pork Barrel BBQ was fortunate enough to cross paths with several of them at this years Memphis in May.

It was a hot Wednesday afternoon, as sticky as a good sweet BBQ sauce, as we pulled into our site and struggled to keep cool.  At first glance, we failed to note just who our neighbor for the weekend was.  At the time there was just too much going on and we were trying to track our rented picket fence down (how would we survive our first Memphis in May without a rented  picket fence we were asking ourselves?).  The fence finally came, the Weber Smokey Mountains were all set up and the heat of the day began to subside, finally giving us a chance at repose and the time to take note of our surroundings.  It didn’t take long for us to realize that we had won the lottery, heck you might have thought we had already won Memphis in May – in many ways maybe we had.

Just inches from our three Weber Smokey Mountains stood the beautiful trailer of Tower Rock BBQ out of Murphysboro, IL.  Yes, the Tower Rock BBQ lead by Pat Burke of Apple City Barbecue Fame where he won three World Championships at Memphis in May with his partner Mike Mills.  Our first meeting came on Thursday morning and we knew from that moment on we were in for a special weekend.

Pat and his crew showered us rookie’s with their generous hospitality – not only can he cook a mean pork shoulder, he can cook one heck of a bacon and egg sandwich!  It was a great honor for us to learn some of Pat’s tips and tricks – he is an encyclopedia of BBQ and truly a legend.

In one year of BBQ competitions Pat and his Apple City team won 14 of the 17 contests they entered – it is clear that his legendary status was made by repeating greatness.  Pat was kind enough to take some time to talk BBQ with Pork Barrel BBQ – here is that interview.

Stay tuned for more of our Memphis in May Scrapbook and an interview with Pat’s Apple City teammate Mike Mills, another legend of BBQ.


MIM Scrapbook #3 – Pork Barrel BBQ talks BBQ Hints, Tips and Secrets with Derrick Riches from

Pork Barrel BBQ was honored to talk BBQ hints, tips and secrets with world class bbq’er and blogger Derrick Riches from during our recent trip to the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Competition.  Derrick has the longest running bbq blog in history, with over 13 years writing about bbq competitions, barbeque recipes, and bbq grills.  Watch this great video with Derrick, where he shares what its like to be the creator of and his favorite BBQ recipe for this summer.  Thanks to Derrick for taking the time to talk BBQ with Pork Barrel BBQ!


New Pork Barrel BBQ Sweet BBQ Sauce Voted People’s Choice for Best BBQ Sauce at Safeway’s National BBQ Battle

Pork Barrel BBQ Takes Home Another Big Win at One of Nation’s Largest Food Festivals


June 28, 2010

Media Contacts:

Jennifer Brand

(202) 731-2114


Pork Barrel BBQ wins Peoples Choice Award for Best BBQ Sauce at National BBQ Battle

Pork Barrel BBQ wins Peoples Choice Award for Best BBQ Sauce at National BBQ Battle

Washington, DC (June 28, 2010) – Pork Barrel BBQ was awarded the People’s Choice Award for Best BBQ Sauce for their new Pork Barrel BBQ Sweet Sauce at the annual Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle in Washington, D.C.  Thousands of attendees at the 18th annual BBQ competition voted Pork Barrel BBQ’s Sweet Sauce the # 1 BBQ Sauce in the People’s Choice Contest – a blind taste test competition of over 50 world championship BBQ sauces.

This is the second consecutive year Pork Barrel BBQ has won a major award for its sauce at this national competition.  The Pork Barrel BBQ Competition Team’s first contest was the Safeway National BBQ Battle in 2009 where they walked away with two trophies – Second Place in the “Nations Best BBQ Sauce Contest” for its Original Sauce and Fourth Place for their pulled pork in the Memphis In May portion of the contest.

This year, Pork Barrel BBQ’s Sweet Sauce claimed the prestigious People’s Choice Award.  In just one year since their appearance on the ABC and Mark Burnett reality show Shark Tank, the company has experienced huge growth, and their Pork Barrel BBQ Sauces and Spice Rub are now carried in 1,000 stores in 40 states, and preparations are underway for opening a restaurant in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia this fall.

Pork Barrel BBQ Team

Pork Barrel BBQ Team

“We are very excited at the reaction to our new sweet bbq sauce and humbled to win the Safeway National Capital BBQ Battle People’s Choice Award for Best BBQ Sauce,” said Brett Thompson, co-founder of Pork Barrel BBQ.  “It is especially exciting that people nationwide can try this award winning sweet sauce for themselves, including at Safeway, Whole Foods, Schnucks, Harris Teeter and Cost Plus World Market.”

“I worked hard in my kitchen creating the Pork Barrel BBQ Sweet Sauce to be the perfect balance of brown sugar, molasses and honey with the perfect smokin’ kick,” said Heath Hall, President, co-founder of Pork Barrel BBQ.  “The fact that our Pork Barrel BBQ Sweet was voted by the people as the best BBQ sauce in a blind taste test competition against world champion bbq’ers is a real honor.”

The 2010 National Capital Barbecue Battle and People’s Choice sauce competition included some of the biggest and best bbq’ers in the nation, including bbq celebrities Tuffy Stone with Cool Smoke and Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South, both of TLC’s BBQ Pittmasters, and Mike Richter of Chix, Swine and Bovine.

Other Pork Barrel BBQ sauces have been awarded prestigious recognitions, including the Pork Barrel BBQ Mustard Sauce, which placed seventh in the Mustard Sauce contest at the Memphis in May contest last month.

The Safeway BBQ Battle included over 60 teams from across the country competing in American’s National BBQ Championship with judges from both the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) and Memphis in May bbq credentials.

For more information about the Pork Barrel BBQ sauces, or to locate a store near you that offers Pork Barrel BBQ products, visit

About Pork Barrel BBQ

Pork Barrel BBQ was founded in December 2008 during the peak of the economic crisis to prove that a company not owned or operated by the federal government could succeed, and that if you had a good idea, it was still possible to grab a piece of the American Dream. Pork Barrel BBQ founders, Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, ran the company out of the basement of their houses, selling their award winning BBQ one bottle at a time. One year later, their Pork Barrel BBQ Sauces and Spice Rub are on pace to be carried in over 1,000 stores in 40 states by summer 2010. Throughout their journey, they have stayed true to their mission – to unite the nation through the great tradition of BBQ, and bring bipartisan flavor to your next meal. The Pork Barrel BBQ Competition Team entered its first contest, The Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle, in June 2009, and walked away with two trophies – Second Place in the “Nations Best BBQ Sauce Contest” and Fourth Place for their pulled pork in the Memphis In May portion of the contest. For more information, visit or connect with Pork Barrel BBQ Facebook, Twitter and the company’s blog.

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