Friday, April 25, 2014

Interview: Fergolicious BBQ

Team: Fergolicious BBQ
Location: Gardner, KS
Web Page:

Since they will be featured on the April 26 BBQ Pitmasters show, I'm releasing the May interview a little early so you can find out more about one of the teams.

I'm always looking for teams to interview for my blog. Jeremy, of Fergolicious BBQ, contacted me about their team and asked if I would be interested in featuring them. After exchanging emails I was more than happy, and honored, to feature them on my blog. They've been judging and competing since 2012 and are one of the contestants on this season (season 5) of BBQ Pitmasters. Find out a little more about how they got into BBQ and how they prepared for the show.

Q4F: How did you get started doing BBQ?
Fergolicious: Like many other pit masters, we started cooking Q in our backyards as a hobby. We started to get more serious playing around with recipes and ideas at home.  Then we became KCBS Certified BBQ Judges and judged several events before cooking our first KCBS contest in 2012.  We were hooked after that.
Dub and Guss, where good Q starts.

Q4F: How did you come up with the name Fergolicious BBQ?  
Fergolicious: Richards, son Rocco, who was 6 years old at the time, came up with it in the car one day. There was a closed down restaurant in our town and we were driving by it one day and out of no where, Rocco said, "Daddy, you should buy that place and cook BBQ there and call it Fergolicious BBQ". Richard and his wife were very impressed. With the last name Fergola his high school wrestling coach nicknamed him Fergie back in the early 80's, so naturally when the song Fergolicious by Stacy Ferguson became popular, he got called that a lot.

Q4F: What was your first competition and how did you fare?  
Fergolicious: Our very first comp ever was Smoke on the Water in Topeka, KS. It was a KCBS event with the 4 main categories and a Cook's Choice category. We received a call and a walk in that contest for placing 3rd in Brisket out of 50 teams. It was the first time we had ever made a turn-in box for a competition.  It was pouring rain the whole time. They also had some People's Choice categories such as Anything Goes and BBQ Sauce. We finished 2nd in both of those categories.
A loaded smoker is a happy smoker.

Q4F: How many competitions a year do you compete in? What’s the furthest you've travelled for one?  
Fergolicious: This will be our 3rd official year competing. This will be our first year that we cook what we consider a full schedule for us thus far in this journey. We plan to hit 8-10 contests between April and October in 2014. We have cooked 6 contests so far and that includes BBQ Pitmasters, which is the furthest we have traveled to compete in BBQ.

Q4F: What is your favorite style of competition? KCBS, MB, other? Why?  
Fergolicious: We have only done KCBS and we enjoy that.  In the future, we would like to possibly try a MBN or a Texas event. Just to add some experience to our resume. We like the KCBS because of the double blind judging and it's what we are most familiar with as cooks and judges.
Winner, winner...

Q4F: Do you have any advice for those wanting to start competing in BBQ? 
Fergolicious: My first piece of advice would be to become a KCBS Certified Judge first and judge approx 5-6 contests before you start cooking. This helps develop an understanding for what the judges are looking for. Understand your process, recipes, cookers, etc. before you ever compete.  Being a professional pitmaster is not just drinking beer and smokin’ some meat, if that's all you want, then that part is easy, if you want to be successful, like anything else, it takes a lot of practice, time and money.  Be prepared for that.

Q4F: Your team was featured on a recent episode of BBQ Pitmasters, what was that like? Is cooking for the camera hard; does it interfere with what you're doing?
Fergolicious: It was an absolute roller coaster ride. We had a blast, but it wasn't easy. We had to prepare for anything and that is not easy to do. Cooking for the camera is hilarious and yes, it does interfere with what you might be used to doing. You are mic'd up, you have your own producer and cameraman and they can hear and want to hear and see everything you do. It was stressful at first, but we got use to it.  If we were to appear on the show again in a future season, we would have a different outlook. We are extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity and enjoyed cooking with some great cooks and the best part was hearing three AWESOME judges critique our BBQ. Great learning experience!

Jeremy, Richard, and Jim 

Q4F: How do you prepare differently in what you bring to a competition than what you take on Pitmasters?
Fergolicious: We had no idea what we would cook unlike a competition where we know we have the 4 meat categories, Chicken, Ribs, Pork, and Brisket and sometimes cooks choice and dessert. We can prepare and pack for competitions accordingly. For Pitmasters we were told to pack everything we may need to cook anything.  This included ingredients to make rubs, sauces, injections, etc. We packed for weeks and had an extensive inventory sheet to cover pretty much anything they threw our way.

Q4F: Do they give you an idea of what meats you'll be cooking?
Fergolicious: Nope not until you open the cooler and find out in front of the judges.
On set with the judges.

Q4F: In the premier this season they had salmon and I would want to plank smoke it but I know I wouldn't have planks for it in my outfit, so how do you prepare for the curve balls?
Fergolicious: The head wrestling coach came out in Richard as he watched film and collected data on all the previous shows. He watched every episode of Pitmasters and tried to find any trends that might lead to which foods were on the show more than others. After that we created a spreed sheet for each type of meat and what items would be needed to prepare them. One item we did not pack were wood planks for fish but we would have been able to cook it with out planks similar to a couple of the teams on the first episode.

Q4F: Can you give one piece of advice for those who want to cook BBQ?  
Fergolicious: PASSION!  As current and former wrestling coaches a lot of our daily lives revolve around passion.  We have passion for our families, our jobs and BBQ.  We love to cook outrageously awesome Q!  We love our home, Kansas City, and what it stands for in the world of BBQ.

Q4F: What is your favorite meat to cook? What is your favorite to eat?  
Fergolicious: Richards favorite meat to cook is Brisket. He absolutely loves to cook it and eat it!  Jeremy's favorites are chicken and ribs. We love to cook and eat it all! It's all BBQ!
Nice smoke ring. 
Q4F: Do you cook anything special for Memorial Day? If so what?  
Fergolicious: Well, we will be judging a contest that weekend, but then firing up our pits on that Sunday and Monday. We like having parties and people over, so the smoke will be rolling for Fergolicious that weekend, just not sure for what. We will also be preparing for a contest the following weekend in Minnesota.

Q4F: What is the strangest thing you have ever cooked on a pit?  
Fergolicious: I guess you will need to watch our episode of BBQ Pitmasters on April 26th and find out.  Lol!  We've done shrimp, crab legs, chicken, pork, beef, stuffed jalapeños, beans, bacon covered turkey, etc.  nothing too weird yet.
Stuffed jalapeños. 
If you see them at a contest stop by and say "hi" to them, as long as they're not prepping turn in boxes. And be sure to check them out on BBQ Pitmasters.