How to Go from Novice to Become a True BBQ Pitmaster | FTE Episode 106

Chiles Cridlin

Today’s Featured Guest Chiles Cridlin.

Want to become a master of grilled meats? A sultan of the smoked arts? A renowned pit master? Well then today’s interview with Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s BBQ Revenge is for you.

Over the past decade, Chiles has gone from newbie with nothing no more than a casual knowledge of barbecue to becoming an up-and-coming team in the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) rankings, which is the largest organization of grilling enthusiasts in the world with over 20,000 members.

So what is Chile’s secret to becoming a regarded by his peers as a pitmaster in such a short time period? Well, like most skill sets, there really is no secret. Chiles has dedicated himself to becoming a true student of the barbeque arts. In 2016, Chiles attended six classes on the topic in addition to participating in over 20 different competitive events. Join me in welcoming Chiles to the program!

What You’ll Learn

  • The importance of studying and being an on-going student if you want to reach the top of your craft.
  • Some of the regional nuances of BBQ. What they do in Florida might be a little bit different than what they do in Georgia or Tennessee.
  • The importance of understanding what judges are looking for and like when participating in a cooking competition.
  • The importance of mastering the cooking of a chicken breast in competition. It can be difficult to grill juicy and tender white-meat chicken breasts.
  • The importance of not just being an exceptional cook, but having a good personality when attending a BBQ competition.
  • Learn how to find your own signature flavors and style of BBQ. Also, get an understanding of the different BBQ cooking scenarios: competition BBQ, catering, or for friends and family.
  • Tips for finding spices, rubs and other BBQ products even if you’re just a beginner.
  • When it comes to finding the right wood, you should go with something that is local, fresh and easy to get. Chiles likes hickory when available for an additional punch.
  • Why a thermal pin is one of the best tools you can keep nearby when cooking meats.
  • Why Chiles recommends getting signed up as a just through the Kansas City Barbeque Society as a judge to get a fast and cheap education on cooking great BBQ.

 

smoked ribs

Finger lickin’ ribs from Wolf’s Revenge BBQ.

Quotes From The Show

It’s a lot of work, but man it’s a lot of fun. – Chiles Cridlin on being a competitive BBQ contender.  

When I first got started, I had no idea what competition barbeque was like. Most people think barbeque is what they grew up on. If you grew up in North Carolina you’re used to this, if you grew up in Memphis you’re used to that. – Chiles Cridlin on how barbeque styles differ depending on region. 

At a class you get to say “hi” to everybody, you get to be social. Somebody else is in charge, you’re not nervous. A class is less expensive than a competition. A competition is going to run you about $1,000 by the time you take the day off work, buy all your meats and travel.  – Chiles on the benefits and ease of taking a class to grow your skills. 

Judges know the chew they’re looking for. They’re looking for that pork taste. They’re looking for moisture so if it takes more than 2 or 3 bites to dissolve in their mouth then maybe it’s not done enough. – Chiles on just a few of the specific elements a judge will evaluate on your meats. 

Mentioned in the Podcast

Wolf’s Revenge BBQ – Competitive BBQ team of today’s featured guest Chiles Cridlin. Listen to Chile’s previous interview on our podcast here.

Custom Concessions USAcustom concessions – This is where Chiles went to have his BBQ trailer manufactured. This company comes highly recommended by Chiles.

Myron Mixon BBQ Cooking School – This is the first class BBQ Chiles ever took. This class covered topics like how to cook a whole hog, different types of contests, and different sauces and rubs you can use. After taking this class, Chiles went from middle of the pack in competition BBQ contest to getting second place in his next competition by applying what he learned.

Johnny Trigg – Often referred to as the “Godfather of BBQ.” This is another pitmaster that Chiles has learned from through a class.

Victory Lane BBQ – Heath Riles of Victory Lane BBQ is another team that is highly respected on the competitive circuit.

Checkered Flag 500 BBQ Team – Chiles also took this class from Mark Gibbs and recommended it to anyone that wants to improve their BBQ skills.

Wicked Good Barbecue – You can pick this book up for under $20 on Amazon.com. Chiles used one of the recipes out of this book at a big competition in North Carolina and placed in the top five with it.