This past weekend the MBN held their first ever BBQ Bootcamp. And I gotta say, this was a great event and cool learning experience for new teams. I wish they would have had something like this when we were coming up.

MBN BBQ Bootcamp

Basically it was set-up as a mock contest. Teams brought their rigs, their supplies and everything else they needed to compete. Then Friday afternoon the teams got to listen to 7 pros give them some tips and had an opportunity to ask questions.

And the 7 pros they got to help out were some big names in the MBN. They had Rick Dalton from Gwatney BBQ Team (a world champion), Serial Grillers BBQ team, Heath Riles from Victory Lane BBQ, My old teammate Justin Weatherly from Brown Chicken Brown Cow, myself and One of my mentors (and one of the most knowledgeable bbq cooks I know), Chris Birmingham from Right On Que

Then after the classroom setting, each pro was assigned to 2 teams and the cooking began.

doing a butt trimming demonstration at BBQ Bootcamp

The teams were cooking pork and ribs just like they would on the Challenger Circuit of the MBN. They had turn-in times and boxes just like a regular contest, but they had a pro working with them, giving them advice and helping them along.

But the really cool thing about this BBQ Bootcamp was that on Saturday the teams turned-in their boxes … then go inside the judging area and watch a panel of certified judges actually judge and then critique their boxes…

How cool is that?

Then all teams made finals and had to do an on-site presentation to gain that experience – but their finals judges gave them feedback on that as well.

working with team Too Sauced To Pork

All the guys said they learned a lot. This is something I would like to see happen all over in all circuits to get people more involved in competition bbq and grow the sport.

I really hope that the MBN does this again because it’s a great opportunity for new teams to not only work on their flavors and their product, but to see how the judges scored their blind boxes and on-site presentations.

talking strategy with Tasty Meat BBQ

I gotta give credit to Mr. Chuck Averwater for putting this all together as well as the amazing staff and MBN crew he had helping him. These guys did a great job and really worked hard to make this BBQ Bootcamp a success.

Malcom Reed
Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
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About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

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