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The BBQ Barons of Amarillo’s Taste of Country BBQ Nationals

Things are just heating up – literally – down here at the Taste of Country BBQ Nationals, but the BBQ All-Stars have been set up all day, preparing for feats of grillery sure to knock the socks off even the most die-hard Texas BBQ fanatics.

We caught up with some of the BBQ barons – read on for a few profiles in Taste of Country BBQ-dom, and don’t forget to come down and check out the Taste of Country BBQ Nationals.


American Classified

American Classified
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When we ran into American Classified, they were just getting started on their pork butt – “keep it simple” is the secret, they told us. When we asked the story behind their recipe, they all sort of stared off into the horizon. We guess it’s a secret.

They would tell us the best way to eat it, though. “Carolina-style – with coleslaw.”

One of their not-so-secret recipes involves root beer, vinegar, and brown sugar. “Martha Stewart’s a real good friend of mine,” team member Steve told us.


Sweet Peppers

Sweet Peppers
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The Sweet Peppers team – all the way from Albuquerque, NM and named after their own special brand of barbecue sauce – are making chicken, ribs, pork butt, and brisket this weekend.

“The sauce is named after our other team member’s wife – they call her ‘Peppers,’” they told us. “She told him when he was making it, ‘you’re spendin’ an awful lot of time on that sauce.’ He told her he’d call it ‘Sweet Peppers,’ just to calm her down.”

That was nine years ago; they’ve been bringing their sauce with them across the country and using it to make their ribs – which they say is their specialty – for the last six.


Firehouse BBQ

Firehouse BBQ
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Team Firehouse meet up to compete cook-outs. They also happen to be firefighters. “Yeah, we’ve been really busy lately,” team member Scott told us.

Their specialty is ribs, which they say take about eight hours from start to finish, including glazing and smoking. “It’s all in the rub,” Scott tells us.

They wouldn’t tell us much about what goes into their sauce, except that  “you can put it in your sauce, or you can just drink it straight.”


Bad Smoke Risin’

Bad Smoke Risin'
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When we caught up with BSR, they were about to throw a big hunk of pork on the grill – takes about 14 hours to cook in all, they told us.

What’s the best way to eat a big old piece of pork like that? “Shredded,” they told us. “And not on a sandwich.” They don’t make food for folks who don’t eat with their hands.

We also asked the story behind their dry-rub recipe. “Top secret,” they said, looking at each other. “Yeah, it changes every other day.”


Burn and Turn BBQ

Burn and Turn BBQ
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Randy and Mike of Burn and Turn BBQ – two Texas buddies from Lubbock and Spearman, respectively, who meet in Amarillo to cook up a storm – are veterans of the BBQ world.

Mike got started 20 years ago at John Deere company cook-outs and has been perfecting his rub ever since, and Randy and Mike were trimming the fat on a rack of ribs when we caught up with them.

What’s the secret to the perfect rub? “How you baste the cook,” said Mike, slugging back a cold one.


Come on down and meet the cooks, eat some great food, and see Casey Donahew and the Eli Young Band tonight and tomorrow at the Taste of Country BBQ Nationals.

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