081 Kathy Pullin – Pullin Premium BBQ

Kathy Pullin

081 Kathy Pullin -


This is Episode Fourteen of Season Six, my U.S. Road Trip Part II. Kathy Pullin is a dynamo in the world of BBQ. She’s the owner and founder of renowned BBQ catering setup ‘Pullin’s Premium BBQ’. She’s got a regular TV spot as ‘Grillin’ with Kathy’ and she’s a successful Brand Ambassador for not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR separate brands. All this is in addition to her work raising awareness of domestic violence issues of which she herself is a survivor.

So without further ado, grab yourself a slab of un-sauced pork ribs and something sudsy and join me as I learn about the world of brand ambassadorship.

Kathy Pullin - Pullin Premium BBQ



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  • Kathy was the first person I met at the NBBQA Conference
  • The last things she BBQ’d was for 4th of July and she did wings and beef ribs
  • She uses a Pit Barrel and a Weber Kettle
    • She started on a Weber Kettle and still owns the same kettle today
    • She was introduced to the Pit Barrel by Joey Machado and fell in love with the ease of uses
  • The Pit Barrel uses the ‘Hook and Hang’ method
    • It’s versatile as it still has grills so you can cook in a regular way
    • When cooking ribs, don’t take the membrane off as it keeps the ribs together and they don’t break when hanging
    • She usually lets it hang for half the time then wraps it and lays it down like normal
    • The heat and smoke swirls inside the drum and acts almost like a rotisserie
  • She was not born into BBQ
    • Her father grilled hamburgers and hotdogs but that was it
    • She went with her husband’s brother’s team to the Royal in 2004 and fell in love with it
    • She loves the art of BBQ and has been involved with it ever since
  • She doesn’t use Google or Siri that much as she prefers the old fashioned way
    • She doesn’t use wireless thermometers
    • She uses a Thermapen when cooking a steak for an SCA comp, but that’s it
    • She goes by sight and feel
  • She loves how American teams are travelling so much to Australia and so many Australians are going to the States to compete in BBQ
  • She did a lamb with Saffron in a cinder block pit instead of a pig and no one knew what it was – someone asked if it was a dog!
  • In 2011 she opened Pullin Premium BBQ
    • The name and the catering came about from doing the cooking for the local radio station
    • The Low Cash Cowboys asked her if she had a trailer and could join them on the road, which they didn’t have, but the idea got into her head and she and her husband built the trailer
    • The ‘Premium’ part of her name was drawn from her profession selling health insurance
    • Her husband has been a great support and works full time to free her up to pursue BBQ
  • She only does catering – she is not a BBQ restaurant
    • She picks and chooses her own jobs and typically works 150 – 500 ppl organisations
    • She takes on a handful of events per year and the rest of her business is made up of rubs
  • She promotes her business as being sauceless meat
    • She prefers to allow people to sauce the meat themselves and allows the focus to be on the meat
    • Sauce is used to cover up bad meat
  • In 2015 she was in Guy Fieri’s Grocery Games
    • Guy is awesome
    • She was pushed to nominate herself by a friend
    • She initially thought it was a prank so her friend pretended to be her and did it on her behalf
    • Her friend didn’t tell her until it was time for ‘the phone call’ and then she told Kathy
    • She is a domestic violence survivor and does a lot of charity work for other survivors now
    • She works in BBQ, a traditionally men’s world, to show that not all men are bad
  • She was cooking for a local TV station dinner when she got pulled onto a live segment 
    • As a result, she’s become a regular
  • Her rubs are now in HEB grocery stores
    • The journey has been rocky over the last three years
    • A friend of hers tasted her rubs and offered to help get in into HEB
    • She didn’t believe him and then sure enough his son was an executive at HEB
    • She had 45 minutes notice to get to the meeting and turned up with purple hair for Domestic Violence month
  • Her personal networks continually lead her to these opportunities
  • Her rubs
    • Marketed as gluten free, low sodium, low MSG, all natural etc
    • She had a catering client who had to regulate his sodium so she had to come up with alternatives to salt
    • When competing, she blends with other rubs to hit the judges but her rubs are pitched to a particular niche
  • In the future:
    • She’s cooking at the World Food Championships
    • 1600 chefs throwing down, having to cook with ingredients given to them
  • Sponsorship is per event
    • It’s help on an event-by-event basis
    • Might be product, or cash
    • In exchange you can offer their logo on her tablecloths, her website, and mentioning them on TV
  • Brand Ambassadorship is usually cash-based
    • She gets paid monthly in exchange for TV mentions / inclusions in segments, # of social media shoutouts etc
    • The relationship is regular, not one-off
  • When looking for a partnership
    • You must like the brand first and foremost
      • You’ve got to be confident when talking about the products
      • Her sauce company reminds her of her childhood
    • B&B Charcoal
      • She’d always been a Kingsford girl
      • Joey Machado gave her some and she fell in love with it
      • It burns hotter and longer – she doesn’t have to use as much of it
      • They have lump and briquettes as well as logs, pellets and chips
    • Pit Barrel
      • Joey gave Kathy and Saffron a Pit Barrel to cook on for an event and they both fell in love with it
      • Now she earns commissions from them based on how many leads she gives them using a referral link – affiliate marketing
      • They allow for the fact that her public appearances and TV appearances won’t be trackable and make adjustments for that
    • Hasselback Cattle Company
      • They found her through social media
      • The owner was looking to get his name out in Texas and chose to work with Kathy as she’s well known in Texas
  • When you’ve found a company you like, how to approach:
    • Go direct to the owner, or the marketing director
    • Show them what you can offer them
    • Show them your value
    • Make sure you’re talking to the right person
    • Make sure the agreement benefits both parties and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
    • If you don’t ask, you’re not going to get what you want
  • Should lawyers be involved? 
    • It depends on the company
    • Could be handshakes, or contracts
  • How to handle disagreements
    • Talk it out and find out what went wrong
    • Communication is key
    • Make sure you have redundancies – have their logo on your shirt in case you forget to mention them on a TV spot for example
  • Does she keep a record of mentions, etc? 
    • Not really, no
    • She gets a copy of the segments from the TV stations
    • She has to remember to tag the different companies in the social media posts
  • Top Three Tips
    • Know Your Value
    • Be Confident
    • Ask
  •  Favourite cut of steak: Tenessee Strip
  • Direct Sear
  • Nay to Lighter Fluid
  • Celcius or Farenheit – Farenheit
  • Biggest Influence – Diva Q
  • Money Muscle – Fantastic
  • Proudest Moment – being selected for Guy’s Grocery Games
  • One tip or trick: Chimney Starters
  • Next trend in BBQ: Turkey
  • Fantasy BBQ League: Diva Q, Tuffy Stone, Ty Machado, Sevantes, & Karl Lewis



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