I grew up on a farm in West Tennessee. We had a barn full of hogs, along with a herd of cattle…
We had chickens running everywhere. With this, we always had plenty of meat to choose from to barbeque. My favorite of all was barbequing a whole hog. I grew up watching and helping my family cooking over hot ashes. To this day, that is still the best barbeque a man can eat, in my opinion. Sure, it is harder and takes longer, but that is the real way to cook low and slow southern style barbeque.
No, we didn’t have a meat thermometer then, and I’m sure we didn’t even know what one was!
We learned to tell where to add the ashes by laying our hands on the meat by the feel of it. Also, we could tell when the meat was done by twisting the bones in the hams and shoulders. My grandfather made his own sauce. It had a little “white whiskey” and vinegar, along with the hot sauce and salt and black pepper. It sure was good. He always just used salt and pepper rubbed on the meat for a dry seasoning.
As I grew older, I started working on my own dry seasonings and sauces. Then I started barbequing for churches, schools and other community events, and other fundraisers. This led to me building my own cooker that I could pull around from place to place.
It was in the early 90’s that I entered my first competition barbeque cook off.
Me and a group of men and that I worked with entered the whole hog contest and got in the finals. Needless to say, I was hooked! I went on the form my own team later on and worked on my dry rubs.
Today I market my rubs and have been blessed to have won many contests using them. I was fortunate to cook on the world championship rib team in the Memphis in May contest.
By using my rubs and sauces, I have won many awards, in the likes of the Mississippi State Chicken Championship and the Mississippi State Championship in Ribs and Brisket, plus many other awards. Some of the top awards and the honor to have been a part of was the 2002 Jack Daniel’s International Grand Championship cooking whole hog with the Jamaican team. We followed that up with winning a Reserve Grand Champion in 2003 and 2004 cooking whole hog.
In fact, I was invited by Rocky Danner, World BBQ Organizer to Sunset Beach Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica to teach southern style barbeque to the contestants. After Hurricane Ivan, I arrived to assist Rocky, Mike Thompson and the Late Night Whisky Smokers in cooking whole hogs for the hurricane survivors.
I have cooked and competed in just about all the states in the south east as well as many states north of the Mason-Dixon Line as well as west of the Mississippi.
I have been blessed enough to have placed and competed well using my rubs and sauces. I still take pride in being a top whole hog cook. The barbeque world has been good to me. I have been blessed to have taught southern style barbeque from the beaches in Jamaica to the great state of New York. Also I have mentored teams from England and other places around the world. I have helped teams that are trying to get started in the competition circuit. That is what makes our sport of barbeque great…. people helping others.
Along the way I am always working on improving my skills in barbequing. I take classes that others offer and try new rubs so I can keep up with the competition circuit. In return, I can pass the new information on to my friends.
I take pride in being able to teach old southern style barbeque. Cooking over ashes is just about a forgotten art.
So if you want to learn how to cook the old low and slow way over hot ashes, let’s build a pit. I got the blocks and the racks to “git r done”. We will get the old barrel out and start burning the hickory wood down into ashes. We’ll cook some ole time “Southwest Tennessee style barbeque”.
Also I would like to thank all my friends who helped me along the way….. Paul Hood; Mike Davis; Rocky Danner, and many more. And to some that have passed who are cooking the best barbeque over on “the other side”, thank you, too!
A special thanks to my family and friends who have always believed in me and pushed me to do better…
Happy trails to all my barbecue friends,