The past few months I’ve been sponsored by Cowboy Charcoal to help promote their Women’s Fire & Ice Championship Series (you can read more details about this year’s competition HERE). Registered female led teams battled it out for points at KCBS-sanctioned events from January 2017 through October 2017. The top 10 teams earned a spot to compete at the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama in early Novelber to compete for their share of $25,000 worth of cash and diamond prizes!
Shannon Turner of Muttley Crew BBQ took the big first place win, beating out the best of the best female pit masters in the nation to claim the title of Grand Champion (and $9,000 in cash and shiny diamond jewelry!) Tina Cannon of The Pit Crew BBQ Team took home second place and Candy Weaver of BBQr’s Delight earned third place at the finals. Huge congrats to all of the participants! I connected with Shannon earlier this week and picked her brain for more details about her history, her experience at the competition, and her tips for anybody interested in starting out in competition BBQ. Check it out and when you’re done reading, go give Shannon a follow on her Muttley Crew BBQ Facebook page!
How did you find out about the Fire & Ice Championship and what inspired you to register?
I participated in the Fire and Ice contest last year. It is advertised heavily on the KCBS site which is how I found out about it originally. I thought it was a great opportunity to showcase my cooking abilities.
How long have you been competing on the BBQ circuit?
My husband and I have competed as Muttley Crew BBQ for 4 years.
How did you get started in BBQ? Family history or fun hobby?
We helped a friend compete at a contest and ended up joining his team. It is definitely a fun hobby.
What was your favorite competition this season?
Festival of Discovery, Greenwood, SC – we won our first GC there!
What are the best/hardest aspects of competition BBQ?
The hardest aspect is adapting to situations that affect your cook negatively and determining how to quickly make the right changes to achieve a good outcome. The best aspect of competition BBQ is the people! Everyone is supportive and always willing to help if they can.
What are your favorite meats to cook for competitions? Do you use any special ingredients in your rubs/sauces?
My favorite meat to cook at competitions is chicken as it can sometimes be challenging to achieve the correct tenderness and flavor which will be pleasing to the judges. We typically use rubs and sauces that are available via BBQ stores, etc – why recreate the wheel?
What type of rig are you cooking on? Preferred wood/fuel?
We cook on a 5th wheel RV with a garage/cooking area. We cook on a Stump’s Smoker. We prefer hickory and Apple woods along with charcoal.
Tell me a little about your trip to the WFC! What were the highs and lows. Did you perform better or worse than you expected? What was your winning dish?
It was a long trip to the WFC – 12 hours each way! It was a good time and great weather! We arrived late Tuesday night, competed in the four ancillaries on Thursday, the Fire and Ice grilling contest on Friday and then the KCBS contest on Saturday. One of the highlights was cooking with my sister, Michelle Jordy, during the Fire and Ice grilling contest. This was her first food contest which made it even more exciting! I was hoping that we would be successful with our grilling entry but knew we had significant competition with the other ladies. We were lucky enough that our Snake River filet mignons with composite butter, Hasselbeck potatoes and grilled asparagus were strong enough to win over the judges!
If you could send some cooking and grilling tips to the backyard BBQ crew from your competition experience, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of brisket! It can be challenging but is a lot of fun to cook. Also, once you have done a few contests, don’t be afraid to make the leap to a pro contest. Ask questions – everyone is always willing to help!
What are your plans for Muttley Crew BBQ? Are you planning to compete in 2018?
We will continue cooking and hopefully improving! We will most likely cook 20-25 contests, including the American Royal, in 2018. We look forward to meeting more people, so feel free to stop by and say hi!
Thanks so much to Shannon for taking the time to answer my questions, I love getting a little peek behind the curtain of competitive BBQ teams. As a KCBS Certified Judge, it’s always so eye opening to me to see what goes into creating those perfect bites! I hope you guys all love this interview as much as I did! If you are a lady pit master, don’t miss out on the opportunity to sign up for next year’s Fire & Ice Championship. The announcements for the series will be made on the Cowboy Charcoal Facebook page or on the Cowboy Charcoal Fire & Ice Landing Page! Grill on, girls (and guys).