Category / On The Road


Future Legends of Barbecue

The Future Legends of Barbecue cook-off is one of the most heartwarming events with which we’re involved. The brainchild of Starr Teel, pitmaster of the excellent Hubba Hubba Smokehouse in Flat Rock, North Carolina, and masterfully organized by Starr, Paige Hafner, and a stellar team of volunteers, the event is staged at various summer camps in the region.

October 2012 marked the fourth annual contest, which, along with a Camp for All Barbecue Ball & Auction, helps raise money to send less privileged children to summer camp. Camp helps children build communities, form lifelong friendships, and learn all sorts of life skills. Sounds analogous to barbecue, right?

We’ve watched these children learn and grow leaps and bounds over the past four years — both literally and in their barbecue skill set. Their eyes sparkle as they enthusiastically show us their clever, themed cook sites, explain their processes, and offer bites of food. While their barbecue is on the pit, they spend hours running, playing, and gathered around the fires, enjoying a fine fall day at the base of the gorgeous mountains. No technology. Just fresh air and the smell of smoke.

Their faces light up with joy when they hear their names called during awards. And disappointment shows if they’re not so fortunate. No poker faces with children.

I hope you’ll be inspired to support  this contest. If you live in the region, please consider forming or mentoring a team. Donate money or goods/services for the contest and auction. If you’re a big company, send money and invest in these children.

They are our future.

Future Legends of BBQ (web) from Obsidian Collective on Vimeo.


Road trippin' to the National Barbecue Association Convention

The 1-7 crew just returned from an outstanding five-day trip to Mobile, Alabama for the National Barbecue Association’s annual convention. Expertly planned by Linda Orrison and her committee {of which our own Becky Streuter was a part}, the conference is five full days of restaurant tours, educational seminars led by industry leaders, judging classes, a butcher shop seminar, and a trade show.


We plan all of our road trips around food stops and this journey was no exception. The first stop was Edley’s in Nashville, where our group enjoyed an outstanding meal. One of the owners, Will Newman, has attended several of our OnCue Consulting seminars and we have heard well-deserved rave reviews about the restaurant which has been open for a little over a year. We were sorry to miss Will, but we will return soon! The second stop was to visit our long-time friends Chris Lilly and Ken Hess at Big Bob Gibson Barbecue. From the warm welcome message on the sign to the feast presented by Chris and Ken, we were treated like royalty.

Tuesday’s kick-off tour included an exclusive look behind the scenes at the entire Beau Rivage Casino and Resort operation including the Memphis Q restaurant which Mike helped open 13 years ago this week. He was delighted to see Kristian Wade, the only kitchen crew left from the time in which he consulted on the project. Kristian is now the sous chef and he is turning out terrific barbecue. The Saucery, where The Shed bottles its extensive collection of sauces and seasonings, was fascinating. The highlight of the day was the after party where we got “fed at The Shed,” listened to a terrific band, and visited with friends. There might have been a gallon of coconut moonshine involved. {Does anyone have a glass?}

The rest of the conference was equal parts education and fun. We soaked up knowledge and new ideas during the seminars, sampled barbecue at five terrific Mobile barbecue joints. Mike and I presented several educational seminars and a few of our gang are newly minted KCBS judges. We visited with friends new and old as we sampled Mobile nightlife and restaurants, notably Felix’s, Wintzell’s Oyster House, and our perpetual late-night hangout, Veet’s, which provided us with great live music, plenty of libations, and mighty fine burgers.

Barbecue Ribs and Magic Dust Dry Rub

Mike appeared in several segments on the local FOX Studio 10 WALA channel to promote the Saturday public day which included a barbecue cook-off with 20 local teams, a trade show, People’s Choice barbecue and barbecue sauce sampling and voting which was open to the general public. Despite a little rain, the people of Mobile came out in droves to enjoy the day.

Next year’s convention will be in San Marcos, Texas. Click here to learn more or join NBBQA.