075 NBBQA Conference – Day 2

NBBQA Conference

075 Conference - Day 2


This is Episode Nine of Season Six, my U.S. Road Trip Part II. In this episode I once again head to the Marriott in downtown Kansas City again for the second Day of the NBBQA Conference. I have a killer lineup for you in this episode – we’ve got interviews with YouTube BBQ legends, gadget guys, charcoal manufacturing environmental warriors, and a rub manufacturer from California who’s utterly obsessed with Tri-Tip. And so, so much more.



The OzPig is the perfect cooking companion for anyone who enjoys spending time in the great outdoors. 

Fired Up BBQ offers up the best BBQ for catering & events, and even has a BBQ School – perfect for corporate events!

Dragon’s Breath Charcoal is premium Australian Gidgee Lump Charcoal. Launching soon in October 2019!


Looking for a drink solution that’s going to keep your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks cold? The SHC Tumbler is what you’ve been looking for. Classy, stylish, and branded with your favourite BBQ podcast logo, the SHC Tumbler is the perfect gift for yourself or that person in your life who loves their drinks piping hot, or icy cold. They are perfect for BBQ comps, work, or even just around the house.

When tested, at the 24 hour point, the Boiled Water was still at 31 degrees Celcius and the Iced Water was still only 20 degrees Celcius. Clearly, the SHC Tumbler is a high performance drink accessory!



With Ryan and Shaun from The Smoke Sheet 

  •  The Smoke Sheet is a weekly newsletter about the BBQ scene
    • They include news, events, books, podcasts, videos and more
  • There’s a lot of region specific writing but nothing covering the whole scene
    • The lads met in line at Snow’s
    • Covers best BBQ in the North East
    • Writing and Photography
    • Blog / Newsletter / Social Media / Events
    • He’s able to curate the best people in the business for the event
    • It’s called ‘Rib King’
  • BBQ Tourist
    • Started because he loves to travel
    • Geared towards people who love travel and BBQ
    • Started out as interactive web maps of BBQ joints
    • His family is in places that have great BBQ so they get to come with him
  • Ryans’s three favourite BBQ places
    • Hayne’s in Memphis
    • Skylight Inn in North Carolina
    • Snow’s in Texas
  • Shaun’s Top Three
    • In NYC – Hometown BBQ in Redhook, Brooklyn, NY
    • Jazzy B’s in Kansas City, KC
    • Franklin’s BBQ in Houston, TX
  • Is the experience more important than the food?
    • Hayne’s is the most low-key experience but they don’t put on a show
  • When visiting a BBQ joint, you have to keep in mind that they may just be having a bad day
  • The best part of their journey is meeting the people and the food is a bonus
  • They’ve had a great time at the Conference, meeting all the people

With Michael from Flame Boss

  •  It’s a great opportunity to meet with passionate and interesting people in the BBQ industry
  • Flame Boss
    • A digital controller for charcoal coolers. Everything from Weber Kettles to custom built restaurant smokers
    • Keeps the temperatures at a more consistent temperature than an oven at home
    • They focussed on not only making something that works, but something that is easy to use
    • Connectivity always had the potential for problems
    • It’s possible to pretend to be airport wifi so be careful in airports
    • They practised perfecting connectivity using Alexa
    • They’ve included instructions in the app to make things as easy as possible
    • It’s a web based connection (wifi)
    • It not only measures temperature, but also controls it
    • When the meat reaches a preset temperature, the temperature will drop to a warming /holding temperature
  • It was only a year from concept to launch
  • They do have some international distribution
    • Last year the international distributorship
    • grew faster than the US distributorship

With Jonathon from Rockwood Charcoal

  •  The food has been a highlight but more than that, the people are more important
  • The NBBQA Conference is very different and so much better than the average trade show
  • They’re based in St Louis
  • St Louis BBQ vs Kansas City BBQ
    • Jonathon prefers St Louis
  • Rockwood is an accidental success
    • It was setup as a tax deduction for his BBQ habit
    • He was a helicopter pilot who sold guns and real estate on the side
    • The charcoal business got faster and faster
    • Now it’s available in 10,000 locations
  • The kinds of woods
    • 100% Missouri product
    • 80% of all charcoal in the US comes from Missouri
    • It’s Missouri Oak
    • Defected wood goes to charcoal plants
    • No tree is ever taken down for charcoal
    • It’s effectively ‘waste wood’
    • No walnut – there are many other uses for it, bowls, gun stocks, and it links differently
    • The way they kiln it, there’s no difference in final product – the way the smoke smells etc
    • The kilning is to reduce the moisture, the liquors and the ash
    • If you can break it apart by hand, it’s charcoal. If not, it’s still wood
    • If it’s in a big chunk, it’s still wood
  • Carbonisation
    • They aim for 80 – 85% carbon
    • Higher than that, it breaks apart and crumbles
    • The BTU is 11,700 per lb
    • If the air is unmetered (like a PK Grill) you control the temperature by the amount of fuel. If the air is metered (like a BGE) small pieces will burn as long as big pieces
  • The wood is aged for 3 months minimum
  • It gets kilned at 1500F for a day to a day and a half
    • Then it takes a week to ten days to cool down
    • Now they capture the emissions, put it in a propane burner to burn off the particulates
    • Fine is 10k per kiln per day for white smoke
    • What goes into the air is clean and clear
  • Any waste (fines) get used as briquetting or for agricultural use
  • Adding carbon to soil is a fantastic use
    • Add the fines to your garden
    • University of Missouri found that it neutralises acidic soil
    • Carbon needs to be in soil to create plants
    • Creates a ‘microreef’ for all the tiny creatures in the soil
  • Their process completes the loop of carbon neutrality

With Joey Machado from B&B Charcoal

  • Joey’s 4th year at the Conference
  • Joey is on the board
  • A key to B&B’s success is the relationships they’ve built from the NBBQA Conference
  • The Conference can save you so much money and so much time
  • The NBBQA Conference is a ‘Knowledge Pool’
  • It’s a ‘Think Tank’
  • If tou don’t have a social media aspect, you can’t grow
  • The Culinary Fight Club
    • Popular in Chicago
  • NBBQA is a group of winners who love to share information because they want other people to be successful too
  • Do you want to be popular, or successful?
  • Ty is Joey’s son who is killing it in the competitive BBQ scene
    • At age 10 – 11 he started cooking on his own
    • He’s been on the Food Network for the Kid’s Championships
    • Now he only does SCA
    • 1st  place in game at SCA
  • If we skip a generation, it will all be lost
  • Australia and New Zealand have the opportunity to learn from the successes of people in the US
  • The B&B Truck
    • Chevrolet Kodiak 4500
    • It’s one step under a semi
    • Super comfortable and super safe
    • He did 100,000 miles in it last year
    • His trailer is 28 ft, triple axle, which can carry bn up to 8 pallets
    • Downtown NYC, Chicago, or Kansas City is not what the truck was designed for, but it is still easy
  • Joey’s 3 top tips for designing your comp trailer
    • Find the style of trailer that’s the right function for you
    • What is your end game? E.g. are you just cooking SCA, are kids coming with you, do you need sleeping quarters etc?
    • The US is now at the point where they winch their trailer smokers go up inside a trailer
    • But, people nowadays are cooking comps on three drums. Work out what you need
    • Look at the vehicle that you have – is it capable of pulling what you have?
    • Can you move it safely from A to B?

With Joey from the Red Meat Lover on YouTube


  •  Youtube Channel whose focus is cooking meat made easy
  • They focus on beef and pork, but there is some chicken and seafood in their too
  • They came to the Conference specifically to network with Rockwood Charcoal
  • It all started in College when Joey has to start cooking for himself 
    • He went down to the grocery store and no idea what he was looking at
    • He started buying different cuts of meat and learning what happened
    • The website started to answer questions that he and his friends had about meat
  • BBQ & YouTube
    • It’s the second largest search engine after YouTube
    • They are sharing what they learned from their mistakes and how to avoid the pitfalls
  • What do you need to get started on YouTube?
    • A smart phone
    • An informative / educative approach
    • They have a business partner who is very good behind the camera
  • Having a specialist behind the camera, and editor is essential
  • Having a good script is important
  • You need to be giving viewers something easily understandable but useful and value for their time
  • A good microphone is vital too
  • Some tips and tricks
    • You need to know a bit about what people are looking for
    • See what BBM other videos are out there and working
    • Look for the keywords that they use
    • You can add tags when you upload. Make sure you do this – it’s vital
  • YouTube does not create a manual – you need to figure it out or learn from someone who has
  • 4K videos seem to be performing better at the time of recording
  • They are starting Season 4
  • They’ve only ever uploaded from a desktop. They’ve never done it on a phone
    • They edit sound and add music etc
  • ‘Like Ratios’ are important
    • Make sure you engage with ALL comments etc

With James from Cucamonga Cattle Co

  • It’s his 8th year at the Conference
  • He’s learning a lot and connecting with new people every year
  • The connections with people are what brings him back every year
    • He get’s a chance to meet the ‘Old School’ BBQ guys like that he doesn’t get  to meet in California
  • Kansas City is about the middle of the country so it’s a good meeting point 
  • They are a run & sauce company
    • He has Beef, Pork and Chicken rubs
    • He started with the Beef rub, designed for Santa Maria style Tri Tip
    • It gives a traditional BBQ flavour to TriTip I.e. a Low’n’Slow flavour to Hot’n’Fast cooks
  • He went full time after he lost his job
    • It got so popular that he couldn’t keep up so he went to a copacker
  • Went to his chicken rub, called ‘Prairie Dust’
    • Put the recipe together in 2 hours
    • Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Celery, Salt, Pepper
    • Works great on vegetables too
    • He’s aiming to make in an ‘all spice’ for general cooking
  • A couple of years later, he added his Pork rub
  • What doesn’t need to be there cooks away
  • Best way to cook California style TriTip
    • Trim all the fat 
    • If there’s a big fat cap, leave ¼ inch on there
    • Get your rub on there
    • Direct grill for 3 minutes with a grill temp of 400F
    • Rotate for grill marks
    • Move to a cool zone if you have the marks you want
    • Aim for medium rare (130F)
    • Slice it thin like sandwich meat against the grain

With Mikey from Man Meat BBQ

  • There was a Kid’s Q class talking about getting the next generation involved 
    • High school BBQ teams are now bigger than football in Texas 
    • More kids now want to go out for BBQ than football
    • The kids learn to make their own smokers, and then how to cook for themselves
    • The kids are really getting excited about it
    • The story about the school BBQ team went viral and got shared more times than the Football team’s posts
    • highschoolbbq.com
    • Kids are gravitating towards the program more than anything else
  • Meet The Masters
    • Junior from Up In Smoke
      • So humble
      • His story is inspiring
    • Myron Mixon told it how it is
      • Can you take a hit and still be in business tomorrow?
    • Junior and Stretch on Big Box Stores
      • Getting into a BBS can actually undo you 
      • The business model is small profits on big churn
      • BBS can decide not to have you next season and having signed an exclusive deal, you’ve lost all your grass roots / Mom&Pop stores
  • Pork Demonstration
    • Started with a whole hog and broke it down piece by piece, showing exactly where each cut comes from and explaining why each cut is popular and where it comes from
  • Podcasting is essentially BBQ University
    • You pick up so much information
  • For restaurateurs, repurposing off cuts is essential
    • Offcuts into sausage, chill, sandwich, etc
    • Could save $40 to $60 per day
  • Mikey’s Best Takeaway from the Conference
    • This is a BBQ family
    • Any one will give you their time to help you with your problem
    • ‘The Rising Tide Raises All Ships’
  • For me:
    • At this conference I’ve learned that the people who are here are passionate about helping other people

With Kyle and Mark from Uncle Bub’s BBQ

  • They’ve been coming to the NBBQA Conference for 21 years
  • Kyle is the Pitmaster and Certified Chef
  • They went to Plowboys, Slaps and Joe’s
  • Logistics is Uncle Bub’s point of excellence
    • They are able to do multiple events in the day and to the outside world it looks seamless
    • ‘UPS would be jealous of our logistics.’
  • They do a lot of wedding catering
    • Mark is the point man, detailing all the services that the company offers
    • 75% of their wedding menus don’t even have BBQ on them
    • Their restaurant can appeal to many different pallets
    • They will take old family recipes from the newlyweds and make them up and serve them at the weddings
    • Two years ago they did a consultation with the bride, groom and the bride’s parents
      • They emailed them the details and came back a month later for the tasting
      • After the tasting Mark found out that the mother had passed away in that month
      • They got the recipe for the Mum’s favourite meal, they did a test cook and served the family a trial meal. The family loved it and ordered it for the wedding catering
    • The food arrives between an hour and thirty minutes before serving
    • They’ll do up to four weddings on a single Saturday
  • They’ve had a Director of Operations for over 20 years who oversees everything
  • The Sales Process
    • Marie the Catering Manager will take the initial calls
    • They only do buffet now, no individual plating
    • She schedules a ‘consultation’ where the client sits with Mark
    • Mark gets all the details, makes a timeline with them, locations etc
    • They then discuss budgets
    • Some caterers put on a cake cutting charge per person
    • Everything is line itemed including gratuity so there are no hidden charges
    • He has a worksheet so he can fill in as he goes and be very clear on pricing
    • They get a free meal on that day, then they come back for a tasting (a second meal)
  • They almost take on the role of Wedding Planners. In fact, Wedding Planners often get in their way
  • They get a lot of corporate gigs resulting from their weddings
  • An average sized wedding is 150 – 200 people
  • Bridezilla Moments
    • Happens quite often
    • Last year they were doing a wedding at a Bride’s house
    • They were grilling Angus steak on site
    • Started raining
    • The Bride and Bride’s Mom were on their case all day
  • More often, the mother of the bride is the worst
    • There was one wedding where they’d been drinking from early in the morning and the Bride’s mother fell out of the bus and face-planted at the wedding site

With Mikey from Man Meat BBQ

    • Mikey had a great day taking classes. He got to take a brisket class with the Blacks of Black’s BBQ
    • Operation BBQ Relief did lunch and did a great job
    • Mike from Code 3 Spices did a great presentation with a lot of honest truth about their journey
    • All of the public speakers were great
    • BBQ is all about helping each other, and even BBQ podcasters can team up and work together
    • Everyone that Mikey has spoken to has been willing and excited to help him
    • I went to a great presentation with Joey Machado, Junior Urias and Peter Shater from Head Country BBQ on Marketing which was incredible
    • The NBBQA Awards
      • Mikey’s looking forward to it as it’s going to be a lot of fun
      • He didn’t know about the digital awards so he didn’t enter


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