How did you get started barbecuing?
I started competing in backyard competitions in 2011. Back then, we didn’t have much – one small smoker and a grill. We used to borrow my father-in-law’s truck and load every thing in the back and sleep in a tent. Smokers that had good insulation or even an accurate thermometer seemed miles away at that point. In 2012, we tried the pro-circuit doing one contest. Then the following year, two, and then it just kept doubling from there. Looking back, we’ve come so far and am truly grateful for my grandmother and father-in-law.
What is that makes your cue stand out from the rest?
In terms of BBQ, that’s hard to answer. I could tell you that for any category it’s because the sauce is right or that the rub has just the right amount of heat, and while those things are very important, its not everything. You have to stay relevant in an ever-changing game. It’s your technique, your finesse, those last minute changes that make me and others stand out. So the challenge is to figure out how to be different in a world that shifts constantly. Sometimes we achieve that, then the game changes and we have to change with it. I’m sure a lot of teams would agree that most of us pass in our entries with the same commercial sauce and rub as other teams, but it’s the detailed touches that change it. And most importantly – cook your meat correctly!
For grilling on the other hand, there is more room to be flexible than BBQ. I think my grilling dishes stand out as I just think outside the box. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. Doesn’t mean I’m better or worse, just different and I’m ok with that.
Do you have any BBQ tips or secrets that you’d be willing to share?
I’d like to share this…if you’re starting out, or are fumbling to figure it all out but feel lost – don’t overwhelm or over confuse yourself. It’s not about the best new rub or sauce on the market. Don’t get me wrong, in time, that’s important but for now…learn your cooker, cook your meat perfectly, get the basics down, and then you can chase that $200 thermometer. A lot of my top scoring items have just salt and pepper on it. So there’s that…
Do you have any advice for other women who are new to grilling or barbecuing?
Just keep at it. Surround yourself with positive people that always encourage you. Sounds simple, but I’ve learned that more serious you become about something you love, the more people will start to question it. Believe in yourself and become your own cheerleader. And don’t be afraid to be humble, ask questions & admit what you need help in, and you’ll find that there is a community of people that will help. If all else fails, contact me on social media.