Luke featured on World Food Championships TV!

Just had to share this video from our friends at the World Food Championships, featuring Lucas talking about his motivation for cooking at the World Food Championships. We love the segment and feel so grateful that the WFC folks helped us capture a memory from that great event.

Train to Lanexa

A couple of late schedule changes put us in the great position of being able to add another contest, so we figured we’d head back down to Pickin’ and Pullin’ in Lanexa for a fun filled weekend.

We got down there early Thursday morning and got to see a lot of familiar faces, but also a bunch of folks we hadn’t seen yet this season, including the Palmers of New Revolution Q and Wes and Christina of Makin’ Bacon (a fantastic name.)

One group was there, however, that we didn’t realize was coming–our friends John and Tony from Historic BBQ out of Ohio.

When Kim and Luke decided to attend the KCBS Banquet in January, they decided to randomly sit at a table so that they could meet new people.  They sat down and were greeted by a couple of judges, and these two fellas from Historic BBQ in Ohio who were in the running for the Smithfield Team of the Year award, a contest that was held throughout the entire 2015 BBQ season.

They didn’t know where they had finished, and were extremely nervous during dinner.  After some good-natured professional football differences of opinion, the whole table rallied around John and Tony as they started to announce the Smithfield Team of the Year.

As they made it to the final two, the tension was thick.  The whole table had goosebumps.  And boom…Historic BBQ, 1st place.  Kim and Luke were super ecstatic for their new friends, who were promptly whisked away by the Smithfield folks.

Fast forward to Lanexa.  The Historic BBQ rig will leave you speechless.  It’s an impressive cooking machine.  But it isn’t nearly as impressive as John and Tony themselves.  They openly welcome all visitors, show them everything and are true ambassadors of not only Smithfield, but of the sport of BBQ.  They answer all questions and truly are two of the nicest people in BBQ.  If they are cooking at an event near you, OVS highly encourages you to pay them a visit.

(Pitmaster’s Note – I’d also highly encourage you to try the Smithfield Prime product.  We received some and it cooks GREAT.)

After a normal Friday, we headed to dinner with the Historic boys, Mark and Sharon from Checkered Flag 500, and Rick and Liz Hamilton from Hambones By The Fire.  Rick would be joining OVS on Saturday for some cleaning and turn-in action.  It was a fantastic dinner, and it’s always great to bring BBQ people together.

The cook itself didn’t go as planned.  Some adjustments had to be made throughout the night, but things looked to be on course in the morning when Rick and Leigh Anne showed up.

Upon Leigh Anne’s arrival, she informed the group that not all awards had been given at Hagerstown.   So, we had to make a delivery…1st place Sno-Cone.

That joke will never grow old.

We headed to awards, and started off strong with 4th place in chicken.  That would be the only call of the day for OVS, but a lot of friends did really well.  A huge shout out to Aporkalypse Now for the GC, 3 Eyz for the RGC and a special call out to Mark Gibbs for a perfect 180 in Pork!

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The Breast Kings of Waltonburg

Instead of rolling up the stake and heading back across the country, Bob and the girls headed home on Monday, while Luke stayed back in KC and did some real life work, and prepared for the next episode…the Sams Club Finals in Bentonville, Arkansas.  50 teams from across the country, vying for $125k of prize money.

This was going to be a battle royal.  With cheese.  A who’s who of the barbecue world, put on by the best promoters and organizers in the country, Mike McCloud and Michael McDearman.  We were damn glad to be going.  And looked forward to seeing some of our BBQ friends from the east coast there as well.

Luke made the drive from KC to Bentonville on Thursday afternoon.  There’s really nothing between the two, and your thoughts can wander.  Firstly, no wonder that place gets wrecked by tornadoes. Secondly, people drive really fast.  Luke was daydreaming down the road, when he sees a truck in the rear view towing what looks like a BBQ trailer behind it.  

It was closing fast.

And then WHOOSH.  The trailer screams past, causing the Creeper to sway a bit.   As it darted off down the highway, Luke made out who it was.   Iowa Smokey D’s.

Luke got to the hotel, checked in, and then had a fantastic dinner with Terry and Stephanie West from 270 Smokers.  Friday was check in day.  Some beverages were consumed in the hotel lobby while the Pittsburgh Pirates got crushed, then off to bed.

Another thing Luke is known for is showing up balls early for things because, well, he’s a child.   He arrived at the Sam’s Club headquarters at 730 a.m. and drove in circles for 30 minutes trying to figure out where to go.  Soon, other teams would arrive and load in would get started.

And we would be surrounded by friends!  Rockin’ Robyn’s right beside us….Insane Swine and Checkered Flag 500 right across from us.   This was going to be fun.  We’d also meet new neighbors and make some more friends…Knife Pork Spoon, Cajun Blaze and Big Poppa Smokers.   Good times.

Luke was by himself for most of Thursday, setting up and waiting for The Little General to arrive.  She got there at 5 pm, and they headed to the banquet at the headquarters hotel.  It was a very cool event, being amongst all of the best teams in barbecue.  We had a great time with friends, and then headed to the hotel for some shut eye.

Friday was game time.  The site was set up…Leigh Anne arrived and we all set forth on the task at hand.  We got everything trimmed and ready to go.  The weather was pretty nice, and everything was dialed in.

Everything went like clockwork.  All turn ins looked great.  And the Sam’s Club people were awesome.  They blocked off the turn ins and made it real nice for the cook teams.  We got through all of our turn ins, including the chicken breast turn in for the Tyson Chicken Challenge, and then started packing up the Creeper for the long track back to Virginia.

Unfortunately, Leigh Anne had an early flight.  So she could only be here for the beginning of the awards. Tyson Chicken Challenge was first…and OVS GOT CALLED UP TO THE STAGE!   We were one of the top three, which also included our friends from 270 Smokers.  It came down to the two Virginia teams…and Old Virginia Smoke took 1st place in the Tyson Chicken Challenge!

Unfortunately, that would be the last time we would hear our name that day.  Our BBQ, as well as most others from the mid Atlantic region, was pretty much hated.  45th overall out of 50.

It was still a fantastic experience, and hopefully we can qualify again next year.  Huge thanks to Mike McDearman, Mike McCloud and the entire Sam’s Club crew for an absolutely fantastic summer.  It was a long ride home, but we would definitely do it again.

American Royal-Part 2

On to the Open.  608 teams vying to hear their name called and walk on the grass at Arrowhead.  We got our meats done, our fires lit and everything going according to plan.   We didn’t let the fuel run out either, which was a hard lesson learned from the first night.  

Everyone was raring to go on Sunday morning, off of a mostly full nights sleep.  Everyone did their jobs, and we had one of the best cooks that we have had all year.  Everyone was beat tired, and the clean up process took a while, but we got it done.   

Off to the stands again.   We waited and waited to hear our names called, but OVS never came over the loudspeaker.   Our neighbors did though, and it was just as good as hearing our own.   Redneck Scientific had three walks, including winning the overall side dish championship, and a magical 13th place finish in sausage.   I say magical because my boy Sean was integral to the cook process.

Overall, a fantastic trip.  Other than the BBQ results.   We are resolved to figure out what we need to change to do well out west.  We had a magnificent time, and can’t wait to come back next year!

Words can’t describe the thanks we owe to folks that made this trip possible.   To Keith, for driving out with me and being a source of constant entertainment…the Rebecca and her husband for letting us take over your house….to the fireman….for being you.   To Bob, who stuck with us for the fall and provided great insight, worked his ass off, and had a blast the whole time.  To the traveling band of gypsies from the east coast that make this trip so fun….Mike and Barb, Terry and Steph, Jared and Suzanne, Rock and Dreama, Bill and Shaune, the wonderful Alan, and the magnificent Chad and Nicole.   I’m sure I’m leaving some out…but it was a damn fine ride.   And lastly…our neighbors at Redneck Scientific.  Great cooks, great family, and great people.   Always remember Todd….Mayor said.

Now really lastly….this trip wouldn’t have been possible without my beautiful wife Kim and my best friend Leigh Anne.  The Little General and The Angriest Woman in BBQ.  Making dreams come true.

American Royal – Part 1

Ahh yes…year two at the American Royal. Last year we were very happy to be there. And given, the different problems that we had last year in terms of getting our money in and such, we were relegated to the dark side, far away from all of our friends. We had a good time, but it definitely could have been better.

2015 would be our chance!

We conspired with Redneck Scientific to have a site right beside them at the new Arrowhead Stadium location. We’d be in space G360 for three days. And it was sure to be a good time. Other lessons learned form 2014 that would be essential for 2015–take a bicycle, trim all of your meat ahead of time…and get as much sleep as possible.

My friend Keith and I left Northern Virginia around 6:30 p.m. on the Monday before the Royal. Keith had just come off of a 4 day bender in Boston watching sports, and cavorting around. We decided to drive straight through this year. I’d take the first shift and get us into the midwest, and then we’d switch off as needed.

And push through we did. We kept chewing up miles until we finally pulled into our house for the week in Kansas City. There was discussions of a nap, but those were quickly discarded. Off to the bars for lunch, dinner, and frivolity throughout the evening.

After a couple of days of fun, Keith would depart on Thursday. Luke would set up the cooksite and then have normal Thursday night fun…which this year included watching the painful Steelers-Ravens matchup at the Chix Swine and Bovine site. There are many stories from that night. Most aren’t fit for print. I was dissuaded from riding said bicycle for safety reasons. We partied with a lot of different people, including the awesome folks at the DivaQ site…to being saved from floor sleeping by my friend Sean and waking up in a strange motorhome next to Jerry Stephenson. All in all, a magnificent Thursday night.

Friday was game time. Leigh Anne and Bob were in the house and ready to go. LAT was busy shopping and getting ready for all of the ancillaries. Bob helped Luke with meat prep and such. We also hung out a lot with the good folks of Redneck Scientific, and graciously let them use some of our space to they could fit all of their equipment, and Jerry’s beard.

Throughout the weekend, Sean would become known as the Mayor of G lot. He ran the roost and made sure to keep everyone in line. Bob would watch the cookers on Friday night, while Luke slept in the trailer, and the girls slept back at the house.

The cook was probably our hardest of the year. Temperatures dropped. The cookers ate fuel. We had temperature problems all day and the continued until all turn ins were finished. It was a struggle…and it showed in our results, with our highest being a 44th place chicken. Not at all what we were looking for. But a special shout out to Contagious Q and Sean Mikel on his perfect 180 and first place in ribs in the American Royal Invitational….

Girl Down…

Last week, we jumped into the cauldron that is known as the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour.  Sam’s Club has a tournament that basically runs all year long.  There are five regions with five local qualifiers in each region.  To advance to the regional, you have to finish in the top 6 of your local qualifier.

Last weekend was our local qualifier at Sam’s Club in Laurel, MD.   The goal…a top six finish so that we could cook the very next weekend at the regional in Richmond, VA.  It would not be easy.

Usually one or the other of the locals in our area get slammed with the majority of the great teams from the mid Atlantic.  Laurel was that local this year.  It seemed like everyone was going to be there.  Including Tuffy Stone from Cool Smoke.  

We got there early and got to see our great friends Mike and Michelle from Hog It Up BBQ.  We got to hang out for a while.  Then Mr. Bob arrived.   Bob cooked with us in Fredericksburg, VA, and is going with us to the American Royal in October, so he wanted some reps in with the team and volunteered to come to Laurel.

Bob was, in no fewer words, a machine.  He helped with all manner of set up items and we were ready to go around noon time. 

The girls would show up around dinner time and we would head over to a pot luck hosted by Rockin Robyn’s.   Great food, and we even broke out the guitars for a bit of pickin’ and singing.

The weather was amazing, and everything went according to plan for the most part.  Except for a bit of a mishap around 1 a.m. in the trailer.  It was cool enough for Kim to sleep in the truck, so we only had the one cot set up in the trailer.   We had it skooched over onto one side while Leigh Anne was grabbing her back pack, and as she started to move towards the trailer door, her leg caught the cot leg….and boom…lesbian face plant.  Face down, on the ground.  No arms.   Just BAM.

I rushed over to see if LAT was okay.  She hopped up and said, “I need to go sit down.”  I followed her out.  She checked everything and was fine.  So then I could begin the laughing.  I honestly had never seen anyone fall like that.

The rest of our cook went well.  We were excited for awards, but nervous and anxious at the same time.  

And awards…well, awards were awesome.   2nd chicken, 3rd ribs, 8th pork, and 3rd brisket.   We knew we were in the mix, but it was going to be close.

And we ended up winning GC by .49 over our dear friends Rockin Robyn’s.  

Which means it’s Richmond for the next two weeks, and no long drives to Myrtle Beach!  Hoodie hoo!


So last week was our first foray down into Hampton, VA to cook at the VA BBQ Championships at the Langley Speedway just outside of Langley AFB.  

There was plenty to talk about!  First of all, a F-22 pilot decided to put on an aerial display on Friday, running maneuvers for a solid 45 minutes right above the race track parking lot.  Very, very cool.  (I’m gonna try and post a video.)

There was an awesome car show too, all around the race track.  Good stuff.

Also a lot of our BBQ friends too.   Our friends Chix, Swine, and Bovine were back out in the mix, as was our good friends JD’s Smokin Misfits, Aporkalypse Now, Serial Griller, and Sauce This! We would also get to see some of our NC friends on this trip too, including Scott from Sauced! plus Brian Corbett and family from Smokin Skullies.  Not to mention, the reappearance of our California homey Mike Lindley from Smokin’ Mo’s.  Killin it on both coasts like Pac and Biggie.

The weather was pretty fantastic and we did our thing Friday night and Saturday morning.  We had some hiccups, but pushed through.

There was some wonkiness to this comp.   Backyard BBQ contestants would be turning their two meats at the same time as the pros.   Then there would be some judge shuffling.  No bueno, cause there are so many opportunities for things to go wacky.   But everyone was in the same boat.  I digress…

We had a very solid showing, 10th chicken, 4th ribs, and 6th brisket for 6th overall.  (Not sure what happened with pork…). Congrats to Sauced! on GC and Smokeaholics in RGC.   Great job!

But no no no…the fun didn’t stop there.  We all gathered up and headed to Harpoon Larry’s for some dinner and drinks after awards.  Neither disappointed. The restaurant is owned by Mark and Nikki with Serial Griller, and they have done a tremendous job.  A great experience with the company of our BBQ family.  If you are ever in the Hampton area, I encourage you to give Harpoon Larry’s a try.  You’ll be “hooked.”  See what I did there…

“Caught me right in the ovaries…”

Ahh, the annual trip down to St. Mary’s county for the Southern Maryland Brew and BBQ.  This event was hosted last year by our great friends the Palmers, who have since passed that torch and would be competing right beside us.

We would be back after a quick week off in which we made some changes to the Virginia Creeper in an effort to make her easier to clean.  So. Maryland would be the first in hopefully what is an 8 week grind on the competition trail.

We got there Thursday evening for a bit of fun with our friends, and then hit the ground running on Friday morning.  It sure was humid and hot, but we pushed through it.   We also got to see a bunch of friends we hadn’t seen in a while, including Big Ugly, The Inked Pig, and Mike Lindley from Smokin’ Mo’s.

Leigh Anne got there that evening and we got everything up and running.   It would be the second night that Kim and I would be sleeping in the trailer on our bunk bed cots.  The first night was fantastic.  But Friday would be different, as I would have to get up a lot to put food in and watch the cookers.

At about 3 a.m., it got hot, and I needed to make a blanket adjustment. So I kicked them with my feet, straight up. I heard a low groan…

“You caught me right in the ovaries.”

Kim never sleeps on her stomach.   But for some reason she was this time.  And unfortunately, I kicked her.

Luckily, there were no more issues throughout the night.

Our cook went well, especially with a new tweak to the brisket we had been thinking about.  A lot of our judge friends stopped by afterwards and said hi.  Then in was time for awards.  Right in the path of the burning blazing sun.

Well, the judges certainly didn’t like what we put out.  Finished with a 9th place brisket call and 20th overall.  Rough day at the office, but we will be back next week in Floyd, VA!

Big congrats to 3 Eyz on their Grand Championship, 4:20 on their reserve and huge ups to Rockin’ Robyn’s for their very strong 3rd place finish.  And a nod to our sponsor, BBQ Guru, on their first place rib, which took home the liquor in the Stock the Bar Summer Rib Challenge.

And…the best for last.  To my little buddy Cadin and his grandad Lynn…great job on the GC in the Backyard division.  They worked hard and came in first!  Great job guys!!

Slurry Bear

Back to backs in southern Virginia.  We dropped the trailer off with our friends Susan and Theresa from our Dizzy Pig family and then headed north to recouperate for a few days.  Then headed back down, picked up the Virginia Creeper from its mountain hideaway, and the descended on to Galax VA for Smoke on the Mountain.

Galax is a neat little comp.  it’s a joint contest…KCBS and Memphis BBQ Network.   Turn ins are all weird and everything, but we get to see a bunch of people that we otherwise don’t get to see throughout the year.  So it’s fun.

Yet it’s also a dubious place as well.  The home of our first ever dead ass last…last year in chicken.  Time to rectify.  Revenge chicken.

Plus our travel buddies Mark and Nikki from Serial Griller and Jay from 4:20 would be there too.  We would also get to spend some time with our buddies Chiles and Randy from Wolfs Revenge and the always awesome Mr. Salsberry from Fred Vegas.   Good times.  

We got there on Thursday, got the trailer parked, and checked into our hotel room for the weekend.  This place…wow.  Just terrifying.  There was a lot of excitement to get back to the trailer on Friday morning.

We also were cooking Anything Butt on Friday.  The girls would take their swings with their awesome lobster bacon Mac and cheese.  So delicious.

We got through the night with a little bit of rain as per usual, and then got started with some breakfast chicken.   Turn ins at 10 a.m.  We made it through with all the weird turn in times. Had a lot of down time, and got to keep ahead of everything.  And because the timelines were a bit wacky, we had to bring the Grillenium Falcon (the wsm) out of retirement for the occasion.  

We decided since awards were so late to spend another night in the Galax.  Which may or may not have led to some over consumption issues with 420Q and the Serial Griller.   Awards were fun, cheering our friends on, and getting a 7th place pork and second ribs for an 8th overall.   The chicken….well it wasn’t last.  But they definitely don’t like our bird down in ol Galax.

And the girls had a monster 2nd place with the lobster mac and cheese! And we got to feed a bunch of people this deliciousness on Saturday!

A needed week off before an 8 week grind.   Next stop…Southern Maryland Brew and BBQ!

Huge thanks to Dizzy Pig, BBQ guru, Havn’a BBQ Sauce Kosmos Q and The Wine’ing Butcher for their support!

National Pork Champions!

There will be a little bit of everything in this one…

It was Old Virginia Smoke’s first foray into the Safeway BBQ Battle in Washington, DC.  It has been said that the contest is a logistical nightmare, with a late load in on Friday night, late turn ins on Saturday, super large crowds and just in general, being in DC.

And yes, most of that is true.

There also would be the addition of onsite judging in the ribs and pork categories.  The onsite judging score would be combined with the KCBS rib score and pork score to determine the National Pork Champion.

We would arrive on Constitution Ave. at around 7:30 p.m., where we would meet Leigh Anne, who was already checked into the hotel.  We heard that we could be there a while, even till midnight, but we were prepared.  However, Mike Fay from Aporkalypse Now and Keith Tremel from Fat Maxine’s pressed the issue and we got situated at around 9:30.  

We immediately got meat inspected, and set to work on the first three categories:  chicken, brisket and lamb.

We had concocted a special plan for the lamb, and we’re going to grind it and do lamb sliders.  Something different.

We set out on Saturday full of vigor.   Several road blocks presented themselves—1.). It would rain….all day…and very hard.  2.) Lamb was being judged KCBS style.   No veggies. No bread.  No sliders.

We needed a new plan.

We were joined on Saturday by Sir William Stillwell, aka “The Goat” from sports radio fame.   The four of us put our heads together and decided to make lamb meatballs, which we decided to call “William stillwell’s Goa’ Balls.”   We knew they weren’t going to win.  So we had fun with it.e

Chicken and brisket were ok.   The timelines were screwy…the weather was screwy.  It was just odd.  But we got right to work on ribs and pork for the next days turn ins.  The girls would get good sleep in the hotel, and we would be ready to rock and roll.

Talk about a sea change in the weather.   Sunday was magnificent.   Nice sun, blue sky…and good fires all night long.  We felt like we were missing a bunch of things.  But it turns out that all were missing was he chicken and brisket from the day before.  Pork and ribs went off without a hitch.

Now it was time for the onsite judging.  The girls did a fantastic job in decorating the table for the judges and the grill for the meat.   First was ribs.   I’m lucky to cut up a rack of ribs and hit one or two bones.  Now I’d have to do it front of people.  In the one rack, I got four clean bones.  So each judge got 2 ribs.   It went great. (Thank you Mike Fay for the shot of whiskey to cal me down.). 

Next was pork, and it went well.  Again, none of this would have happened had it not been for the girls.  So much hard work and attention to detail.   Made everything beautiful.  

We did our best to get as cleaned up as we could, and headed to awards.  Surrounded by BBQ legends and heavy hitters, it was definitely humbling.   We were cooking a major competition, and hoping for a call.

Chicken and brisket were first.  And no calls.  It was a three way race between great friends of ours…Pork Barrell, Serial Griller, and Aporkalypse Now.  

And then it was the dreaded lamb.   They called four…and we didn’t hear our name.   Come to find out…the amazing Goa’ Balls finished fifth, one spot out of the money!

On to ribs….and the names keep coming off…until they announce Old Virginia Smoke as the rib champ!!!   What a relief…at least we heard our name.   Then pork comes down, and we get a second place behind our new friend Matt Barber with Hot Wachulas!   Man…two great calls.   

We forgot about the pork championship and the Safeway ribs championship.   OVS takes both,and named the national pork champion.  Hahahaha.  It’s still so fun to say.

Never in a million years had we dreamed that would happen. So much fun.   And Aporkalypse Now won the GC, and Serial Griller got the RGC, making it a clean sweep for Mid Atlantic BBQ Association teams.

Great job to everyone that heard their names called!   A great competition, and I cannot wait for next year.  America!!