Barbecuers really are great people. All three of these guys got back to me right away when I reached out to them. They all needed a little time to answer their questions, but each of them got back to me right away to say they would love to be a part of this and that they would shoot over their answers as soon as they could. Within a few days, I had heard back from all three of them.
The Round 2 instalment features Greg Anthony, who teams up with Eric Westervelt to form the team Ribs 4 U. I am also proud to have Scottie Johnson, the winner of the 2006 Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational and pitmaster for the Cancer Sucks Chicago team. Lastly, John Nilges of the Parrothead Smokers team from South Dakota is the third cook you will hear from.
I asked each of these champion cooks if there were two or three people in the BBQ world that they really admire or have learned a lot from. Their answers were as varied as the cooks themselves...
Greg: I admire Don and Sharon Will of Smokers Wild because of their attitude about KCBS and our sport. Although as competitive as all of us, they always have a positive attitude, and understand the results are not always as wanted or even as deserved. I am very fortunate to have Don and Sharon as very good friends living in the same small town I do. And having them mentor me in my early years was/is invaluable. I also admire Rod Gray of Pellet Envy. I think Rod has achieved the bbq’rs dream, in being able to support himself and his family by doing what he loves to do: cook, and teach others to cook barbecue. Rod and Sheri are good friends. Finally, I admire Steve Marrs of Denver Cajun BBQ Krewe. Steve entered competition bbq a year or so earlier than I did. After I started, we met and became very good friends and he taught me a lot. Not only has Steve been successful in competition barbecue and achieved the Grand Champion award more than once, he has became one of the Denver area’s most sought after barbecue caterers.
Scottie: Man, I have befriended a lot of great folks in comp cooking. From the likes of Bill Milroy, Ray Lampe, Eddy Maurin and Jumpin Jim Woodsmall. First I would probably be remiss if I didn't mention The BBQ Forum and Ray Basso. While Ray didn't teach me anything per se, it is from his website that I learned how to cook my BBQ. But probably the the biggest influence was cooking with Rod Gray and Steve Farrin at the 2006 Qlossal. I got to see how to win a championship from those guys. They are 2 of the best cooks going out in the KCBS still today. I also learn a lot from Darren "Clone" Warth. Darren can just plain old cook. You know if you are at a contest with Darren, you better bring your 'A Game'... So while I haven't cooked with him at a contest, I have learned a lot from him. Not "shigging" learning either. ;-)
John: It is hard to narrow it down to just a few as there are so many that I look up to. But If I can just name three they'd be:
Quau...Mike and Beth (Wozniak) are great people and very innovative cooks. No one puts in more time, travel and effort than Team Quau.
Johnny Trigg...Even after all the years that he's been out there competing Mr. Trigg still seems to have a passion for competition cooking.
Finally, anyone that cooks alone. I do it and I know how hard it is. So I admire those guys who go out and cook alone. I'd also have to throw in that I admire the wives of those cooks too, mine included, as they sure put up with a lot because of our little hobby!