FAQue Features Tom Gearhart of Mudville BBQ
By Amy Overbey of Team Meat Coma
WHO IS ON THE TEAM AND WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Mudville BBQ consists of myself, my brother Greg and best friend Brian, plus several ad hoc members who cook with me when I’m short-handed. We are from Springfield, VA.
We started in 2015. The BBQ Battle in DC was our first contest ever. Looking back I probably should have done backyard for a little while but I thought, ‘the hell with it’ and jumped right into pro contests.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR TEAM NAME/LOGO?
I am originally from Stockton, CA which was built during the California Gold Rush. In its early years the city had several names, one of which was “Mudville”. I designed the logo to be a reflection of where I came from and the sport that I love. In the center of the medallion are the three KCBS proteins (chicken, pork, and beef) and the outline of the state of California. The two stars represent our Nor Cal pride — proud to be from and live in Northern California. I love the simplicity of our logo.
WHAT SMOKER(S) DO YOU COOK ON?
We cook on two custom Humphrey’s Elite Pints. Their names are Vincent and Jules.
IF YOU COULD ADD A 5TH CATEGORY, AND IT CAN BE ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I think the ancillary categories the day before are great to shake things up a bit and add some character and uniqueness to a competition. I would like to see these become more prevalent on Friday nights. The SCA event that we did on Friday at the BBQ Jamboree this year was a lot of fun and we’re cooking a contest in California later this year that has a taco event on Friday.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO COOK (CAN BE A FAVORITE COMP, BUT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE, CAN BE ANYWHERE)?
We have to favorite comps to cook – DC because it was our first, and the BBQ Jamboree because it’s where we got our first call ever and first category win back in 2017. But I love to cook with my two sons at home and get them involved in BBQ. They’re 5 and 2 and their favorite thing to do when I’m cooking is stick their finger in the rub shaker and taste the rubs I’m using.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BEVERAGE AT A COMPETITION?
I don’t drink too much at a competition but when it’s time to relax I like to have a Founders All Day IPA. It’s a great session IPA that you can drink all day. Some would call it the “perfect lawn mowing beer.”
ANY COMPETITION SUPERSTITIONS OR SOMETHING YOU CANNOT DO WITHOUT AT A COMPETITION?
Too many to list but I always make fresh omelets on Saturday morning to keep the team fueled for the day ahead. I don’t think we could do without that. We always fly the Mudville Republic flag and right before turn-ins start, I say the Ranger Creed to myself in my head to get myself focused. We also, always walk our last entry in as a team for good luck – a tradition we got from Poke n Smoke.
WHAT IS YOUR GO TO FOOD AFTER A COMPETITION?
Chinese food from Asian Grill in Springfield because it’s pretty much the furthest thing from BBQ that you can get.
IF YOU WEREN’T COMPETING ALL WEEKEND, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
If I’m not competing then I’m thinking about competing, or practicing, or doing some recipe R&D. If I’m doing that then you can find me on the golf course, or playing with my sons.
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU OR YOUR TEAM?
I am very thankful for the opportunity to cook alongside so many talented pitmasters and cooks in MABA. From top to bottom I truly believe it is the most competitive and talented region in competition BBQ. If you look at the list of teams in the biggest events of the year and the invite-only events, MABA is always well represented. I’m proud to say that I cut my teeth in the MABA region. DC will be our last MABA event ever as my family is moving back to California. But I look forward to tearing up the CBBQA and seeing my MABA family again at national events around the country.