Competition BBQ


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

Pork Barrel BBQ was awarded the People’s Choice Award for Best BBQ Sauce for their new Pork Barrel BBQ Sweet Barbeque 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.  We owe a huge thanks to Wagshals – our Pork Barrel BBQ Competition Team Sponsor!

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


MIM Scrapbook Entry #2 – Jamie Geer Gives Pork Barrel BBQ a Tour of a Jambo Pit at the Memphis in May BBQ World Championship

Dreaming of a Jambo Pit by Jamie Geer?  Me too.  Since the day I turned 16 and got my drivers license I’ve had visions of a 1958 Corvette dancing in my head. From the distinguishing four headlights and immense chrome in the front to the beauty of the Roman Red paint job that covers the exterior you’re sure to turn heads at every stop and then strain the very neck that head is attached to as you excelerate away. The 1958 Corvette wasn’t just a car, it was a work of art – a museum quality piece with its optional 290 horsepower fuel injected V8 engine that made everybody else with a car jealous at first blush.

Today, some 20 years later, I still have the vision of owning that 58 Vette, but it no longer dances alone in the wish list of my mind. It now shares that void with a vision of owning, what can only be called the equivalent of the Corvette on the competition BBQ circuit, a Jambo Pit.

Jambo Pits have been called by many on the competition BBQ circuit, “The best smokers money can buy.”  Pitmasters aren’t just saying that in passing as many of today’s top competitive BBQ teams are putting their money where their mouth is and using these pits hand crafted by Jamie Geer, owner of the Fort Worth, TX based company, all across America. Among the users of Jambo Pits are our friends Tuffy Stone of the Cool Smoke competition BBQ team (who’s pit Jamie is about to give you a tour of) and Mike Richter of Chix, Swine & Bovine competition BBQ team– both of these teams have been enjoy immense success on the competition BBQ circuit.

Jamie has been building quality smokers that offer consistent results since 1989.  One of the unique things about Jamie Geer is that he didn’t start out as a pit builder – he started out as a serious competitor on the competition BBQ circuit and has the trophies to prove it. (You might remember him from TLC’s BBQ Pitmastersshow.)  He knows what series BBQ’ers are looking for in a smoker and he delivers big time!

If you’d like a Jambo Pit you’ll have to get in line with the rest of us – Jamie is backordered through October and that list grows by the day. Why the demand?  These aren’t just functional BBQ pits, they are literally works of art that are handcrafted from top quality materials with an attention to detail that only Jamie can provide as he builds each pit one at a time. Some of the features you’ll find on these beauties include insulated fire boxes, torque flex axles, chrome wheels, white letter tires, custom coatings and paint, stainless steel hinges, and spacious work surfaces.  The downside is you’ll no longer be able to blame your smoker if your meats don’t turn out well.

On Jamie’s website he says, “Pull into a competition or your neighborhood with a Geer pit in tow and forget about going unnoticed. These pits will turn heads wherever you go.” We couldn’t agree more!  Pull into a BBQ contest with a Jambo Pit and you’re sure to turn and strain a few necks, just like that 1958 Corvette.

While we were at Memphis in May, Pork Barrel BBQ was lucky enough to get a few minutes of Jamie’s time (he was cooking with Tuffy Stone’s Cool Smoke team and about to make the walk with Tuffy to collect their Memphis in May World Championship BBQ trophy for their pork shoulder when we filmed this clip).  We asked Jamie to take us on a tour of Tuffy’s new Jambo Pit. Sit back and enjoy our interview with BBQ Pit builder extraordinaire and all around good guy Jamie Geer of Jambo Pits.

If you’re still using a Weber or some other smokers, but would like to ride or Que in the Corvette of smokers give Jamie a call at 817-223-3918 or email him at and let him know that Pork Barrel BBQ sent you!  You won’t be sorry you called!


MIM Scrapbook Entry #1 – BBQ Hints from TLC BBQ Pitmaster and Memphis in May BBQ World Champion Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke & Q Barbeque

This is the first in a series of blog posts on our adventures at the 2010 Memphis in May World Barbecue Championships. Over the course of 4 days we racked up 4 top 15 finishes (we even managed to place 4th in the World Championship’s beef catagory with our brisket) and several hours of amazing videos from some of the most interesting and influential folks in BBQ. We thought we’d kick off our series with a bang – our first entry into our 2010 Memphis in May scrapbook is an interview with TLC BBQ Pitmaster and down right nice guy Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke and Q Barbeque fame.

Over the course of the past year we’ve had the chance to get to know some of the great legends of BBQ, including guys like Pat Burke and Mike Mills – the founders of the Legends of BBQ Club. Tuffy, a friend and fellow Virginian, is a guy who has made a name for himself and risen to “Legend” status in short order. Tuffy is pitmaster of the Cool Smoke competition BBQ team and owner of Q Barbeque (two locations in Midlothian, VA and Hampton, VA). If the name Tuffy Stone is ringing a bell in your head but you just can’t quite place where you’ve heard it before it is probably because you saw him on TLC’s hit show BBQ Pitmasters.

For a guy with celebrity status and the ability to make anything placed on a smoker taste like a five star meal you might think he’d be working in the distance and shadows of his Jambo Pit built by legendary smoker builder and artisan Jamie Geer (Tuffy’s pit looks more like a cherry red Corvette than a smoker – it performs more like one too!), but he isn’t. Tuffy is as approachable as they come and loves to talk BBQ with fellow competitors, customers and fans.

The best part of the Competition BBQ circuit isn’t the great barbecue found around every corner, it is the chance to meet and become friends with some of the best folk around – like Tuffy. BBQ teams from around the country compete in contests sanctioned by a number of barbecue societies including KCBS, MIM, and MBN. These teams use everything from Weber Grills to Jambo Pits to homemade smokers to compete for prizes and tropies in catagories like chicken, beef brisket, pork shoulder, pork ribs, and whole hog.  If you love to grill find a contest near your home and sign up – you’ll have a blast and meet some great folks!

Now sit back and enjoy our interview with BBQ Pitmaster Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke.

For more information on Pork Barrel BBQ and to follow our adventures at Memphis in May 2010 stay tuned to our blog and Twitter pages.


Great KCBS Blog Update On Their Great American BBQ Tour Stop At Memphis In May


Check out this great blog post from our friends Mike and Chris Peters who are traveling the country this summer with the KCBS Great American BBQ Tour.  Mike was kind enough to ask us to participate in the KCBS Grillmaster contest at Memphis in May where Heath grilled up some Grilled Bloody Mary Chicken Taco (with a lettuce taco shell) and mini grilled Bloody Marys.

Where looking forward to seeing Mike and Chris at the Safeway National Barbecue Battle in DC June 26-27.  For more info on the Great American BBQ Tour visit the KCBS website and if you’re not a member of KCBS make sure you join!

2010 Great American BBQ Tour Stop #5 – Memphis in May

May 19, 2010

Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa and was the inspiration for the month-long 2010 Memphis in May festival. As Chris and I loaded into Tom Lee Park in Memphis, you could see the Mediterranean influence with some of the two and three story scaffold structures towering above the over 200 BBQ teams cooking pork shoulder, pork ribs and whole hogs for over $100,000 in prize money.

The Memphis downtown area is convenient to navigate with trolleys, shuttles, and horse drawn carriages, and even had a van that was decorated as a pig pulling two smaller piggies through the streets. Upon closer examination of the pigs, it was not promoting the BBQ event but a local strip club. Since we were staying in a hotel downtown about a mile and a half from the park, Chris and I decided it would be nice to walk to the event. We forgot that the event is a mile long and the trailer location was smack dab in the middle so we ended up with a two mile walk on Thursday morning. The morning walk wasn’t too bad but after thirteen hours on our feet, the two mile walk back to the hotel that first evening felt much longer.

Don with Big Bob Gibson stopped by early in the week and invited Chris and I for pie Friday night. Since we stopped by the restaurant in Decatur last year, Chris has been “jonesing” for more of their fabulous pies so we fought the crowds and hit the Big Bob Gibson party hoping that Don would remember inviting us. Chris had the coconut cream and I had the peanut butter pie while visiting with Amy Mills of “Peace, Love and Barbecue” fame. It was neat to look in the back of the booth and see the legend Mike Mills visiting with Chris Lilly. I could only imagine the conversation that these two BBQ powerhouses were having.

Even though we were in not so familiar territory, we had plenty of KCBS representation around including Chris with the “Let’s All Get Drunk and Que” team that had a booth right across from the trailer. Clint with “Smoke in Da Eye” BBQ stopped by with his media badge and the KCBS team “Ribbed For Your Pleasure” was right behind the trailer. Heath and Brett with “Pork Barrel BBQ” of ABC’s Shark Tank fame competed and stopped by the trailer to say hello. I invited Heath back to compete in Saturday’s GrillMaster contest. Since they are opening a restaurant in the DC area, I wanted to test his prowess and he didn’t disappoint with his lettuce-wrapped chicken tacos with a side of Master of Mixes mini-Bloody Mary’s.  Famous Dave Anderson even stopped by after judging and spent some time visiting.

On Thursday, we kept seeing people walking by wearing good-looking Kingsford polos and found out later that Kingsford had meetings with some of their leadership team the week of the BBQ contest in addition to being one of the main sponsors. Chris was wearing a Kingsford T-shirt and as we were on the long walk back to the hotel, we ran into more Kingsford folks who were so excited to see her representing Kingsford that they pulled out a free charcoal coupon and gave it to her. As excited as they were, we didn’t have the heart to tell them that we promote Kingsford on the BBQ tour.

We were told that it wouldn’t be Memphis in May unless there was rain and this year was no exception as the skies opened up on Friday afternoon. Since some of the MMA Creative folks came down to help us man the sampling tent, the trailer was full of people so Chris broke out the cards for a marathon game of “Go Fish”.

Since we were close to the awards stage, you could hear the whoops and hollers going on Saturday evening as awards were handed out. The weatherman was calling for more rain so we were busy packing things away and missed Tuffy getting the call as Memphis in May World Champion in the shoulder category.  We had a wonderful time in Memphis and appreciated all the southern hospitality that we were shown.

Mike (& Chris) Peters