Tag Archive: grand champion

  1. Interview With the Champs – Danny Thomas, Drilling & Grilling

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    by Brian Walrath, MABA Board Member and Pitmaster for Brown Liquor BBQ

    An emerging team on the scene in the Mid-Atlantic right now you better watch out for is Drilling & Grilling, out of Glen Rock, PA.  Pitmaster Danny Thomas leads this team that has been competing since 2009 and have started 2017 on a tear…right where they left off in 2016, winning Boo-B-Que in late October.  Drilling & Grilling took grand champion honors at the recent Ironman competition in Greencastle, PA in a field of 59 strong teams and followed that up last weekend with a reserve grand champion finish at Interstate in Hagerstown, MD just down the road.  To say they’ve got it dialed in right now would be an understatement.

    But if you know Danny and have spent much time with the Drilling & Grilling guys, you know they they’re just some great humble fellas dawning their signature cammo who ain’t afraid to have a little fun!  I caught up with Danny at Interstate and asked if he’d answer some questions for this month’s edition of IWTC, and he graciously agreed!

    Congratulations on your recent win in Greencastle, PA at the Ironman competition.  How did it feel to go home with the Grand Championship?

    Danny Thomas, Drilling & Grilling:
    It always feels good to win any contest, but this one is special to us because we have competed in all of the Ironman competitions and won GC the last year it was just chicken and ribs before they went full KCBS.

    How did your cook go…did you feel confident heading to awards?

    DT, D&G:
    We had a solid cook with no issues.  We thought our pork was maybe a little dry but felt maybe a Top 10 finish was realistic.  (Editor’s note…that “dry” pork finished 7th!)

    Tell us a little about your team and teammates, where you’re from, how long you’ve been cooking, etc…

    DT, D&G:
    There are normally three of us…myself, my cousin Dan, and nephew John that compete.  We all live in southern Pennsylvania and we started cooking in the Fall of 2009.

    What kind of equipment do you have?

    DT, D&G:
    We cook mainly on a Meadow Creek PR 60.  I am know for changing cookers weekly, lol, but always go back to the PR!

    Tell our readers about the name Drilling & Grilling.

    DT, D&G:
    I own a Drilling company and back when we started I asked several employees what should the team name be…and Drilling & Grilling is what they came up with and it fits!

    How many GCs is this for Drilling & Grilling?

    DT, D&G:
    Ironman is our fourth GC.

    How many competitions are on the schedule this year for you guys?

    DT, D&G:
    We plan on 13 or 14 this year.

    Are there any goals in barbecue you have yet to accomplish that you hope you check off your list this year?

    DT, D&G:
    We competed in the “The Jack” in 2013 and 2014 and did not get a call…we’d love to go back and hear our name called.

    What makes Drilling & Grilling different or unique?

    DT, D&G:
    I feel you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.  That being your wife or barbecue teammates and we have a good team that works together.  Each has their place.

    This win makes you eligible for the Royal Invitational and a possible Jack draw…will you go out to Kansas City or Lynchburg if your bung is pulled?

    DT, D&G:
    I’ve never had a desire to go to “The Royal,” but my goal in competing is to go back to “The Jack.”

    I like to ask in this segment, what tip(s) do you have for competition teams to go from good to great and get that GC call?

    DT, D&G:
    This may sound cheesy but it’s just a piece of meat.  It should taste like and look like meat…and if cooked properly, any rub or sauce should compliment it and not offend anyone is the key.

    Any parting shots or comments?

    DT, D&G:
    We should make sure we stop and take a moment to thank our Lord and our military for keeping us safe allowing us to live in this great land.  

    Well put Danny.  Good luck to you and Drilling & Grilling the rest of the year and beyond!

  2. New Jersey State Barbecue Championship North Wildwood , NJ

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    By James “Tex” Laudenslager, Pitmaster of Smokin’ Tex BBQ

    2016 marks the 18th annual N.J. State BBQ Championship in North Wildwood, NJ. As each year approaches many teams put this contest on their calendar. It is a well run event hosted by the Angelsea Fire Department. The only notch is they pack you in like sardines, but for many teams it doesn’t matter. Sixty-five teams come to compete for the coveted title of Grand Champion and that’s the case for Brian & Meg Ferguson of Finn’s Finest BBQ who won the event back in 2012.

    This year was different for Finn’s Finest as this year they were moved to champions row which is right next to the sea wall by the inlet. They were surrounded by last year’s winner Uncle Pig’s BBQ and four time winner of the event Local Smoke BBQ.  Also next to them was The BBQ Guru and add in teams like Wilbur’s Revenge, GoneHoggin.com, and other accomplished teams and you know you’re in for a knife fight!

    As we all sat at the awards and listened to the top 10 teams get called in each category the crowd was becoming aware that this years GC was gonna either be Finn’s Finest BBQ or Wilbur’s Revenge. Finn’s took 2nd and Wilbur’s took 5th in chicken. Then they swapped spots as Wilbur’s was the top PIG in ribs and Finn’s took 3rd. While Pork did separate them a bit Finn’s finished 3rd while Wilbur’s finished 8th. The rumblings got a little louder when brisket was called and there Wilbur’s took the 2nd spot just edging out Finn’s who got 3rd. At this point the crowd was calling out both teams as to whom they thought who would win GC.  To me it didn’t matter who won, both teams are awesome people and great ambassadors to the sport.

    As they started the count down #10 to #3 the anticipation was exciting to see who would be GC and RGC. Wilbur’s Revenge was called for RGC and I looked over at Brian and he went straight over to Dave Marks and was the first to congratulate him. Then GC was called and Finn’s Finest BBQ was the last one standing…

    First place winners:
    Chicken – Piggin’ Whiskey
    Ribs –Wilbur’s Revenge
    Pork –Smokopolis BBQ
    Brisket –Beerbeque

    Grand Champion –Finn’s Finest BBQ
    Reserve Grand Champion –Wilbur’s Revenge

    Check out the full competition results here.

  3. Interview With The Champs

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    Earlier this month, Sauce This BBQ out of Easton, MD took home grand champion honors at the Beltway BBQ Showdown in Ft. Washington, MD.  Danny, Mark, Darryl, and Ryan are a bunch of great guys and were nice enough to answer a few questions for us…check ‘em out below:

    Q: Congratulations on your recent win in Ft. Washington at the Beltway BBQ Showdown.  How did it feel to go home with the Grand Championship?

    Sauce This BBQ: It really caught us by surprise and was frankly very overwhelming.

    Q:How did your cook go…did you have a feeling this could be the day?

    STBBQ: Our cook went fairly smooth other than it being confusing to cook without rain pouring down. We honestly didn’t feel like this could be the day we won the GC. To be honest, we took some extra comfy chairs to the awards and expected to stay in them the entire time.

    Q: Tell us a little about your team and teammates.

    STBBQ: All of us Danny Youngblood, Mark Kenney, Darryl Anderson and Ryan Davis have been friends for years. Danny and Mark were golf partners when Danny decided to form a Competition BBQ team and asked Mark and Darryl if they would like to partner up with him. We figured that there was no way he could be worse at BBQ than he is at golf so why not give it a go. Our fourth member, Ryan Davis joined us early in our second season and has a growing amount of responsibilities.

    Q: How many GCs is this for your guys?

    STBBQ: This is our 3rd GC

    Q: What makes Sauce This BBQ different or unique?

    STBBQ: Not sure if we are unique really and it is probably fair to say all of us BBQ Competitors are a little ‘different’. A huge part of the pull of competitive BBQ is meeting and becoming friends with so many teams. We have been friends for a long time so very little is off limits any more. There are lots of shots fired at each other, but all in good fun.

    Q: What kind of equipment and set up do you have?

    STBBQ: We have a Lang 84 Deluxe for 3 meats and a G2 Chubby for chicken. We cook out of a trailer we found in someone’s backyard after our second contest. With the 4 of us not being the neatest people, we do virtually everything outside.

    Q: Will you do the Royal this year since you’re now qualified for the invitational?  Any others on your radar now that you’ve got a GC under your belt for this year?

    STBBQ: We doubt we can fit in the Royal this year but of course have our fingers crossed that we get a chance to go back to the Jack.

    Q: I like to ask in this segment, what tip(s) do you have for competition teams to go from good to great and get that GC call?

    STBBQ: Work hard to be as consistent as you can with your cooks and be hard on your own product.

    Q: Any parting shots?
    STBBQ: Shots? Shots sound good! 9:22am?

    Q: I heard there was some kind of date Thursday night with one of your teammates in Ft. Washington…is this true and was it a factor in your big win?

    STBBQ: What happened at the Beltway BBQ Showdown, stays at the Beltway BBQ Showdown…It was magical!

    Picture of Sauce This BBQ in front of the great pyramids

  4. Hog Happenin’ – Lincolnton, NC

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    By Stephanie West, MABA Vice-President and “The Neck” Pitmaster for Team 270 Smokers

    As the 3rd event out of 7 in the Old North State Series, we ventured to Lincolnton, NC for Hog Happenin’ under the impression that the four-legged variety was the star of this small North Carolina town.  Indeed, there were hogs by the thousands…they’d taken over every street and byway, capturing the attention and awe of bystanders…but it was the wheeled variety that was being celebrated at this festival!  Biker nirvana, I’d say!

    Image from the festivalAnd did I mention it was HOT?  Lord, have mercy, it was hot and humid!!  97 in the shade, and we were oh so very thankful for that shade!  (It was so hot that we skipped our traditional “team meeting” shot and instead passed out popsicles to neighboring teams!)

    26 teams competed in Lincolnton, with most hailing from North Carolina.  And North Carolina prevailed!  MABA’s own Redneck Scientific crushed it, capturing their 3rd GC of the year with a 706.2400 – marking their entry into “The 700 Club”!!  Jerry and Roxanne swept 1st in Ribs with a 180, 1st in Brisket, 2nd in Pork, and 3rd in Chicken!!  RGC went to Checkered Pig with a 691.9200.  Team 270 Smokers took 1st in Chicken (their first 180 in Chicken), and Elite BBQ Smokers did the same in Pork.  Overall, it was a pretty large spread in team scores (from 560 to 706), with no “table of angels” or “table of death”.

    Cash and trophies were awarded to GC, RGC, and the top 3 in each category, framed certificates were given for 4th thru 6th.  Payouts to just the top 3 was a pretty controversial topic, and it’s something that you may want to think about if you’re considering this event on your schedule next year.  If you do go, enjoy the small town charm and all the biker bling you can imagine!

    Image of motorcycles parked




    First place winners:
    Chicken – 270 Smokers (with a perfect 180!)
    Ribs – Redneck Scientific (with a perfect 180!)
    Pork – Elite BBQ Smokers (with a perfect 180!)
    Brisket – Redneck Scientific

    Grand Champion – Redneck Scientific
    Reserve Grand Champion – Checkered Pig

    Check out the full competition results here.