Mike Dinkel, TSS - Olathe
When my father-in-law received a meat smoker as a gift, we never thought it would lead to us to competing in BBQ competitions. It started as something fun he did for family gatherings. Then, I joined in to help out. We experimented with different sauces and spices, and I have to admit, it tasted pretty good. Soon after, I got a smoker as a gift and we started to do our own competitions between the two of us. It didn't take long for my brother-in-law to join in. Then, 10 years ago, we decided to do our first BBQ contest and to our surprise, we placed top 10 in chicken. After that, we were hooked.
Now we compete in four or five contests a year. A lot more goes into competing than you would think. You can’t show up, cook for an hour or two, then go to judging. Most BBQ competitions take all weekend. Making good BBQ takes time and patience. Most of our meat has to smoke over night in order to be done in time. We usually arrive to a competition early on a Friday morning, get our multiple smokers up and running and start our meat. Most times you will find us camping out at the competition site, sleeping on cots and checking our meat throughout the night. It’s not uncommon for us to be there for over 36 hours. But, in the end, it’s all worth it. We may not win or place every time, but we have a lot of fun and have met so many wonderful people along the way.
Sometimes, I like to think outside of the typical BBQ box and experiment with the food I cook. I’ve made BBQ meat loaf, smoked pizza and even smoked Bourbon Lemonade. I’m always looking for something new to try.
Back to STORIES