It's often said the barbecue community is like a family. Passionate about their craft and respectful of tradition, pitmasters often find themselves running in similar circles—at cookoffs, competitions and other gatherings that attract the best in 'cue. The low-and-slow nature of their art leaves plenty of time to build friendships with their brothers and sisters who share their love of smoke and meat.
One such reunion is Jack Daniel's World Barbecue Invitational, at Jack Daniel’s BBQ Hill in Lynchburg, Tenn., widely regarded as the top competition in this culinary realm. Big Jim Stancil of Bareknuckles BBQ in Atlanta, and Craig Verhage, the BBQ Ninja from Ubon’s BBQ in Yazoo City, Miss., served Certified Angus Beef ® brand brisket to more than 400 competitors, guests and legends, while Chef Rick Tramonto, from Restaurant R’Evolution near New Orleans, and Diana Clark, meat scientist of the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, served as judges.
Some of the same familiar faces are among the 30 leading pitmasters heading to the brand's Culinary Center in Wooster, Ohio, for the Barbecue Summit: an event full of idea sharing, culinary exploration and, of course, catching up over some amazing dishes. Participants will work with Clark on fabrication of cuts that go beyond brisket, explore meat science topics, share ideas for creative sausage making and even visit a local Angus farm to understand how quality beef gets its start.