Big Green Egg Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings Big Green EggFor any big sporting event weekend, I want to smoke up chicken wings in the Big Green Egg.

  • Chicken is relatively cheap.
  • Wings cook up quickly.
  • They freeze easy, so you can have them readily on hand.
  • Chicken wings can adapt to almost any flavor you desire.

Let’s examine some best practices if you want to smoke up some tasty wings for your next sports celebration.

Storage of Chicken Wings

As I said, chicken wings, if bought in bulk, are relatively cheap.  I purchase mine in 20 lb. frozen  bags at my local warehouse club.  They are already cut into drumettes and wings.  Fresh chicken wings at my local supermarket are not cut and I don’t really feel like getting a cleaver out and going crazy cutting through the bone.

I bring home the BIG bag and start dividing for smaller portions – #cookingfortwo


FoodSaver FM2000-FFP Vacuum Sealing System with Starter Bag/Roll Set, Black

Using my trusty Food Saver, I package up 10-12 wings per bag, leaving plenty of room at the seal of the bag.  For easy storage, the wings/drumettes will be in one, flat layer, so I can store them upright in the deep freezer.

This is the basic FoodSaver and comes with a starter roll of bags.  An incredible wise investment (under $100) for any family who buys food in bulk or is like me, lives 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store.

Make sure to label and date your packaged food before placing in your deep freezer.

Preparing Chicken Wings

John Henry's Sugar Maple Rub


I have found there are two good methods for thawing your chicken wings; both can be done the day you decide to eat them.

  1. You can submerge your FoodSaver bag, with the wings still sealed inside, in a sink of cool water for about 25-30 minutes.  They will be thawed enough for cooking on a grill, Big Green Egg or Stump Smoker.
  2. Get a large, rimmed baking sheet; line it with aluminum foil (for easy clean up); top the baking sheet with a wire cooling rack.  Making a single layer, spread out the wings on the wire rack. Make sure to leave plenty of room around each wing.  Allow to sit at room temp for about 20 minutes, then flip them.  After 40-45 minutes, they should be thawed enough for the Egg, smoker or grill.

Regardless of which thawing method you use, make sure to pat the chicken dry, using paper towels, so your rub will adhere.

Fire Up the Big Green Egg

Fire up the Big Green Egg or whichever cooking device you prefer.

About 15-20 minutes before you are ready to smoke, apply your favorite rub.  Because I don’t care for spicy wings, we are using a sweet rub, John Henry’s Sugar Maple Rub.

Use the wire rack/sheet pan set up for applying your rub.  Make sure to coat each wing; all over.

Chicken Wings Big Green Egg

Place the wings on a clean grate, over INDIRECT heat; which means installing your Big Green Egg plate-setter, so as to disperse the heat around the edge of the grate.  Keep the wings close to the center of the grate.

Chicken Wings Big Green EggSprinkle a light coat of rub over the wings.

Control the egg to maintain 350º.  Do not leave the wings for an extended amount of time.

After about 20-25 minutes, the wings should be ready to flip over.

Wings are done when they appear to have a  dark mahogany color and look crisp.

Verify an internal temperature of at least 170º. Make sure to temp several pieces.

Serving your chicken wings

Chicken Wings Big Green EggWhen the wings are done, place them on a clean wire rack, over a sheet pan.

Now is the time to sauce if you want to sauce your wings.  Because we used John Henry’s Sugar Maple Rub, the wings already have a sticky, saucy texture – no additional sauce is necessary.

After you sauce, place the wings back on the wire rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Serve accompanied by celery, blue cheese dressing and french fries.  -YUMMY!

Let us know how you smoke your chicken wings!




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Stump Smoker Cooks a Green Ham

Entertaining for a large crowd can be overwhelming, but not when you own a Stump Smoker.

Hosting a family gathering for about 25 people, we didn’t want to smoke the same ol’ pulled pork – although our family loves our version.

We decided to smoke a “green-ham.”  Which is a ham, usually the entire hind leg section of a pig, NOT cured, nor pre-cooked.

Typically, a green-ham is placed in a brine for an extended period of time; however, due to the difficulty of locating a green-ham (it took us two days), we injected our pork.

After visiting Vaughn Packing Company, we hopefully have found a new competition meat supplier. With a huge selection of beef and pork, we will be able to pre-order anything we need for competitions.

Injecting a Green Ham

After much research for ham injections, we discovered it was ideal, to treat a green ham, much like you prepare and smoke a pork shoulder.  This is enough for an 18 1/2 lb ham.

Injection Recipe:
2 cups apple juice
2 cups water
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup table salt
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

After purchasing the ham, it was placed in a cooler with ice.

The evening of the cook, the ham was removed from the cooler and injected around  7 PM.

After injecting, the ham was covered with foil, placed in a tray and left sitting outside. It was 30º outside.

Meanwhile, the Stump Smoker was started….see Doug’s FaceBook Live broadcast

Click for video

Dry Rub for the Green Ham

Since our family is familiar with our “home-cook” pulled pork, we used our Butt Rub Improved recipe.  Which is commercially available Butt Rub with a few added ingredients, courtesy of Smokin J’s Barbeque;  a good mix of heat and sweetness.

The rub was applied at approximately 9 PM.

See Doug’s FaceBook Live broadcast of applying the rub to the ham

The reliable Stump Smoker was heated to 235ºF. for two hours.

After putting in the ham in the smoker; peach wood and one yellow onion was added to the ash tray, at 10:50 PM.

The smoker remained at a consistent temperature all night long.

At 5:30 AM, after smoking for approximately 6 1/2 hours, the ham was removed and wrapped in aluminum foil.  The ham had a beautiful bronze color.

The ham was placed back in the smoker and was not removed until 1 PM.   After  approximately 14+  hours of cooking, it reached 190ºF.

The ham was removed from the smoker; the foil was pulled slightly back, to allow steam to escape and was placed in an insulated cooler to rest for an hour.  Ideally, it should have rested for an additional 1/2 hour.

Delicious Green Ham Results

The ham was brought inside; sliced and some shredded, much like a picnic butt.

Green Ham Stump Smokers Cooked ham Stump Smoker

Smoked Ham Stump SmokersChopped ham stump smokerWe could not believe the intense smoke ring on the ham.

The meat was tender and retained some moisture from the long cook.


Pig bowls Cooked ham Smokin J's Barbeque

We served the ham in our new “piggy” ceramic bowls. They were a hit!

If you would like more details about planning a large crowd dinner party, like what we did…check out JoAnn’s Food Bites article: A Dinner Party Strategy


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Smokin J’s Barbeque Welcomes Dixie Crystals

Smokin J’s Barbeque welcomes Dixie Crystals as a sponsor to our barbecue family.

In professional barbecue competitions, especially in the south, we use a lot of brown sugar and Dixie Crystals is helping us out by providing coupons for us to purchase their pure cane brown sugar, which  is non-GMO product and provides consistently delicious results.

Dixie Crystals

Dixie Crystals has a wide variety of products:

Why Smokin J’s Barbeque Uses Dixie Crystals

Our style of barbecue is on the sweet side; therefore, using a quality brown sugar is crucial to our success.

When heated, the sugars caramelize and become the brown crust of deliciousness you love. However, sugar can quickly change from buttery, or a butterscotch flavor – to – a bitter or burnt taste.  Part of the learning curve, is determining the exact temperature this change happens.  Of course, it depends on your cooking method; type of sugar and protein your using.

Dixie CrystalsWe love that Dixie Crystals is a high-quality sweetener, which contains no-GMO products and is gluten-free.  If you follow team member, JoAnn’s blog, JoAnn’s Food Bites, you will discover she is strongly opposed of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in any food!

Because we are preparing competition barbecue for a panel of judges, it is important, none of our ingredients could instigate any common food allergic reactions.  Dixie Crystal sugar contains NONE of the eight FDA listed major food allergens.

As an added bonus, being from the great state of Georgia, we like Dixie Crystals southern heritage.  Originally known as the Savannah Sugar Refining Corporation, but in 1997, was acquired by Imperial Sugar Company, they have stayed in Georgia, helping propel Savannah, Georgia as one of the largest raw sugar ports in the world.

Thank you Dixie Crystals for your quality product and contribution to Smokin J’s Barbeque.



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Leftover Competition Pork in this Goulash Stew

A goulash is typically a stew made with some sort of protein and seasoned with spices, then cooked for an extended amount of time.

Smokin J’s Barbeque keep the trimmings off our competition meat, for the exception of the fat; bring them home and store them in the deep freezer.

Recently, I found TWO, two gallon zip lock bags in the deep freezer.  Frustrated, I decided to develop my own goulash recipe and use one of those 2-gallon bags as my protein.

Trim the Meat

Barbecue ribs leftovers Smokin J's BarbequeAfter thawing the meat, overnight in the refrigerator; I had to trim any remaining fat off the meat.  It is difficult to remove ALL the fat.

Most of the trimmings were off our St. Louis style, larger ribs; therefore, I decided to leave most of the bones intact for added flavor.

All the chunks of fat were discarded.   The ribs were grouped in clumps of 3-4, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then placed in a large slow-cooker.

Any small remnants of meat, I cut into 1-inch by 1-inch chunks, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then placed them in the large slow-cooker.

Flavor Up the Stew

The following vegetables were added to the stew, on top of the rib meat (I did not pre-cook any of these ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 medium onions – finely chopped
  • 4 carrots finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper finely chopped


Leftover Barbecue trimmings meat pork

This is my soffritto – Italian flavor base


Other ingredients:

1 fennel bulb, stalks removed, finely chopped

Leftover barbecue pork stew28 oz. can crushed tomatoes flavored with basil

1 Tablespoon fresh, minced garlic

2 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon dried, rubbed sage

1 Tablespoon dried, ground oregano

1 Tablespoon dried, thyme

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

3/4 Tablespoon ground black pepper

1 Cup dry sherry

2 Cups low sodium chicken broth

Directions for Leftover Pork Goulash Stew

Set slow cooker to high for 2 hours; then cook on low for an additional 5 hours.

Turn off slow cooker;  allow to cool and place crock in the refrigerator overnight.

Second day: Leftover Barbecue Pork Stew

Because the leftover barbecue pork has fat attached, this second day step is necessary.

Remove crock from fridge.  Using a spoon, remove the accumulated fat from the top of the stew. Discard all fat.

leftover barbecue pork stew

Place crock back into cooker and set to low for 6 hours.

After 6 hours, remove any remaining bones.  Using two forks, shred any remaining large chunks of meat.  Remove and discard two bay leaves.

Place meat back into to slow cooker.

Serve stew over accompanying white rice or southern cornbread.

I made enough stew to freeze several portions for easy meals.

Leftover barbecue pork stew




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Judging in the Georgia Barbecue Association

Smokin J's Barbeque Georgia BBQ AssociationIf you like lip-licking, delicious barbecue prepared by some of the best competitive pit masters in the country, then you should consider registering as a judge in the Georgia Barbecue Association.

Smokin J’s Barbeque are not only a professional cook team in the GBA, but we are also certified judges, for the association.

We learned a tremendous amount during our training, which helped elevate our cooking game.

Several opportunities are approaching if you want to become a judge in the GBA. 

Prerequisites for Being a Judge

You probably should love barbecue – lol!

Like family – friendly events!

Can dedicate a few weekends a year to enjoying fellowship with other barbecue connoisseurs.

Class attendees must first register as an association member; which can be done online anytime:

Click HERE to join the GBA

Several membership levels are available:

Family membership – 2 – $50.00 (USD)Bundle (up to 2 members)Subscription period: 1 year
Family Membership – 3 – $75.00 (USD)Bundle (up to 3 members)Subscription period: 1 year
Family Membership – 4 – $100.00 (USD)Bundle (up to 4 members)Subscription period: 1 year

After you pay your membership fee, you can register for a training class.

Training classes are only $35.00; which is a bargain!

Georgia BBQ Association Judging

What is a GBA Judging Class Like?

During a judging class, participates are educated on what constitutes professional barbecue; which is not necessarily how you like your barbecue when you sit down at home or in your neighborhood restaurant.

Judges are also trained on the scoring method used by the GBA, as well as BLIND judging practices.

Every entry is judged on appearance, taste and tenderness; after COMPARING each entry to one another an “overall impression” score is given.

When determining an overall impression, only the 5 or 6 entries on the table, at that time are compared to each other, to declare a top box.  Scoring is not determined by how good the meat in front of a judge stacks up against the bbq joint down the street.

Each training session includes a hands on experience, judging professional barbecue.

Prepared entries are brought in.  Students are then asked to judge the samples based on the class instructions;  followed by a discussion.

If you pass the class, you are a TRAINED JUDGE.

Georgia BBQ Association Judging

Judging Pork Loin Entries, photo by Greg Hoyt

Georgia BBQ Association Judging

Judging Pork Rib Entries photo by Greg Hoyt

Progressing to a Certified Judge

Once a member has received his/her TRAINED JUDGE credentials, it is time to register and judge an event.

Judging registration occurs about a month before each event.  Registration can be done at the GBA Contests/Events website.

If you are chosen to be a judge, you will be notified via email as to what time and where to report.


On contest day, judges will report for roll call and be assigned their category or categories to judge.

Categories sanctioned by the GBA include, bone-less pork loin; pork ribs; and pork butt or shoulder.

Some contests hold ancillaries, such as best dessert or best cocktail.

Once a TRAINED judge has successfully completed two contest events, he/she will receive CERTIFIED judge credentials.

Recognition for those judges who exemplify what the GBA represents, “growth and fellowship of competitive barbecue, consistency and quality in judging, and have been a positive force within the Georgia Barbecue Association,” is available through the Master Judge Program.  

Georgia BBQ Association Judging

Why the GBA?

There are many different competitive barbecue contests and organizations.  Smokin J’s Barbeque truly enjoys the camaraderie and family we have grown to love within the GBA.

Every contest is like a family reunion or a backyard picnic with loved ones.  Events are family friendly and respect between cook teams thrives.

Family, atmosphere and – as I said earlier – the best damn barbecue you will ever eat are the reasons Smokin J’s Barbeque will continue to travel from WAY out of state to compete in the Georgia Barbecue Association.


Join the Georgia BBQ Association                Register to Judge A Contest

Let me know if you have any questions about judging a GBA sanctioned contest.



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Seasoning Up a Stump Smoker

Smokin J’s Barbeque has decided to step up our BBQ competition game; we have added a new gravity fed smoker to the family – a Stump Smoker.

Stump Smokers LLC

Big Investment – Big Decision

This decision did not come easy.  During our humble beginnings of BBQ competition, we agreed we needed to stick to what we knew   – smoking on the Big Green Egg.

Doug, already an expert on the BGE, convinced wife, JoAnn to buy another Big Green Egg and we dove right in to the professional level of competitive BBQ.

Unfortunately, the Big Green Egg limits the quantity of meat you can cook simultaneously.

After 4+ years of competing, the decision was made to go bigger!

But such a huge investment would have to come slowly – so we continued to compete, hoping to win some $$$ to put back into our cook team.

Along Came a Gift

So when a hungry investor tasted our winning ribs – he made a proposition…

“I will make a large investment towards the purchase of a new smoker for Smokin J’s Barbeque – if in return, you provide smoked ribs, just like these, anytime I want?”

A deal was struck – handshakes and hugs were exchanged and the order for a new Stump Stretch Smoker was made.

Why a BLUE Stump Smoker?

Our granddaughter was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congentia, which meant her joints were constricted.  Unable to move her knees, arms, legs, feet, hands or hips like we do, she will require multiple surgeries over the course of her childhood to allow growth.

Blue is the signature color for AMC Awareness.

Smokin J’s Barbeque will be donating a portion of all future winnings to AMC Support.

AMC Support is a non-profit organization providing educational materials and resources to parents, or soon-to-be parents expecting a child, diagnosis with Arthrogryposis.

Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congentia

Why a Stump Smoker?

Doug likes innovators and Walter Stump has been an innovator in the BBQ competition world.

Skilled in the elements of “air movement” from his career in the heating and air-conditioning industry, Stump finally developed an innovative, cutting edge design for a new style smoker.

His newfangled, The Gravity Feed System™  was a success and after Stump won several championships, news began to circulate throughout the barbecue competition world.

“I wanted to buy from the innovator of gravity fed smokers because I know it is a good quality product and they will stand behind what they build,” said Pitmaster Doug.

Stump Smokers LLC

With customer testimonials from, Rescue Smokers, 2014 television series  BBQ Pitmasters champion, and Georgia Barbecue Association, two-time champion Sauced Hog Smoke Shack; we knew a Stump Stretch would be the perfect fit for us.

How a Gravity Feed System Works

The  The Gravity Feed System™ is based on the principal of set it and forget it.   The impressive, insulated cavity allows for consistent temperature control during low n’ slow cooking methods.

As briquette charcoal burns, it falls down the chute (hence gravity fed), creating coals in the bottom of the fire box, where flavored wood chunks can be added.

One full chute of charcoal could last up to 20 hours of cooking time (maintaining 250ºF) – so its efficiency is equally as impressive.

The fire is controlled by the amount of oxygen allowed by the ball valve, which is adjacent to the fire box.

Smoke develops and flows inside the cooking chamber, across the meat and up through the chimney.

Seasoning a Stump

The following is how we were instructed to season our new smoker;

  1. Remove all the shelves from the chamber.
  2. Remove the drip tray.
  3. Sweep out the interior chamber with a stiff brush to remove any metal debris or dust.
  4. Open the chimney, open the ball valve and fire box.
  5. Add enough charcoal for about a six hour burn.
  6. Light the fire.
  7. While the fire is getting started, use Canola Oil and spray everywhere you can reach, inside the cooking chamber.  Make sure to spray any welded areas to avoid rust.
  8. Spray the interior of the door – try to avoid the rope seal.
  9. Spray the drip tray and each of the smoking shelves, including edges. Stump Smokers
  10. Place the shelves and drip tray back into the smoker.
  11. Partially close the chimney and get smoker to 200ºF
  12. After about 45 minutes, spray the interior, shelves and door again.
  13. Adjust ball valve to reach 250º
  14. Run for about an hour, then spray the interior again.
  15. Raise temperature up to 300º; spray the interior again.
  16. Raise temperature up to 350º and maintain for four hours.
  17. After four hours, you should see the areas you sprayed change in color to denote seasoning.

Stump's Smokers LLC

We will still use one of our Big Green Eggs smokers, but will let the Stump Smoker do the heavy work.

We will have our first test cook soon and I will post the results.

Make sure to sign up for our EMAIL LIST to receive notifications of when and where we will compete.

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Today is #GivingTuesday.   Facebook and the Gates Foundations (yes, Bill Gates) have teamed up and will match ALL funds raised by Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenital Support – up to $55,000 –  for donations made through Facebook TODAY!

We know the Christmas season is finanically tight, but even a donation of $5  is very much appreciated.

Smokin J’s Barbeque has committed to donating part of our 2017-2018 winnings to this incredible charity.

If you can – please hop over to our Facebook page and donate today!  Your donation will be DOUBLE what you donate!

Thank you.

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GBA Dominates the Big Pig Jig

The annual Big Pig Jig in Vienna, Georgia may attract teams from all over the nation, but this year, Georgia Barbecue Association members dominated the categories, including Grand Champion to Bubba Grills.

Smokin J’s Barbeque did not compete in the Big Pig Jig; however, Doug, our pit master, did work with 2nd place Whole Hog winner, Rescue Smokers.

We do not have whole hog experience, nor a cooker to hold a minimum 85 lb hog, so Robby Royal, whom you may have seen on television, winning the 2013 BBQ Pitmasters Competition; allowed Doug to participate on his cook team.

“It was an honor to work with a Pitmaster Champion,” said Doug.  “I learned alot about smoking a whole hog.”

Smokin J's Barbeque Rescue Smokers Smokin J's Barbeque Rescue Smokers








The Big Pig Jig is an annual event sanctioned by the MBN (Memphis Barbecue Network).  Teams can cook in as many, or as few categories as they wish, including,

  • Whole Hog
  • Chicken
  • Stew
  • Sauce
  • Ribs
  • Pork Shoulder

Whole Hog Smokin J's BarbequeMuch like the Georgia Barbecue Association, the MBN has two rounds of judging for the major categories, whole hog, ribs and pork shoulder.

First, teams must prepare a preliminary round box.  Judges will perform blind tastings, as they will not know which box belongs to which team.

For Whole Hog, samples of the ham, shoulder and loin must be in the box.  All preliminary boxes must include enough samples to feed six judges.  As an experienced cook team, we would recommend FILLING the box beyond just six portions.

Teams are narrowed down to the top three teams in each major category; therefore, nine entries will compete in the final round.

MBN – On-site Judging

Unlike the GBA, the final round of judging in the MBN is what they call, “on-site judging.”

Four judges will visit the top three whole hog, ribs and shoulder teams.  Each team will only have 15 minutes to present their cook site and their meat.  Teams are notified of what time the judges will arrive, which usually allows for about an hour for preparation.

In the final round, judges decisions are based on five criteria…

  1. Cook site organization and personal appearance of team
  2. Presentation of the smoker, as well as the meat  on the smoker
  3. Appearance of the meat being sampled
  4. Tenderness of the meat
  5. Flavor of the meat
Big Pig Jig

Final On-site judging for Rub Shakers Que

After considering these criterion, judges will give the team an overall impressions score which will eventually determine the Grand Champion of the event.

This may sound easy enough, but the presentation is nerve-racking, especially for the lead presenter, which in most cases is the pit master.  He/she must be confident, calm and knowledgeable of the entire smoke process.

“You are basically selling yourself, your food and your team, during the presentation,” said a veteran competitor.



Unique to the Big Pig Jig, many teams have purchased cook sites for just this annual event.

Click to see video of Big Pig Jig Atmosphere

Most sites are at least 40′ x 40′ and owners are responsible for the upkeep of their site.

Rescue Smokers worked diligently, over several months preparing their cook site.  Fresh paint, installing air-conditioning and adding barbecue decor, Robby and Stephanie Royal created a tribute to first responders, but maintained a rural backyard ambiance.

Rescue Smokers Big Pig Jig

GBA Dominates

Attending the Big Pig Jig for the first time, reaffirmed my belief in the Georgia Barbecue Association family.

Doug and I cannot thank Rescue Smokers enough for allowing us to share in their whole hog victory.

It was amazing how many GBA members collaborated to participate in the southeast’s largest and oldest barbecue cooking contest.

Here are just a few….

Congratulations to everyone who walked this stage this weekend.  Hope to see you next year.

Rescue Smokers Big Pig Jig

Second Place in Whole Hog at the Big Pig Jig – WOW!



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Ribs Win Grand Championship for Smokin J’s Barbeque

After four years of competing against the toughest barbecue teams in the country, we finally won our first


Our rib category entry was good enough to carry the big trophy home!

Smokin J's Barbeque rib box

Preliminary round rib box

BBQ & Brews Cadence Fair started like any other competition for us.  Arriving in our huge rig, proved to be a slight challenge for organizers.

Those who do not participate in competitive barbecue are not aware of the hard work, organizers and promoters endure to pull off one of these events.  Gary Lamb, Kristen Cash-Raines and the entire BBQ and Brews team work to put on the best festival event in North Georgia.  We look forward to your Spring 2018 events in Canton and Cartersville.

After getting the rig parked, Doug, our beloved pit master began setting up our cook site, while I prepare the camper for the overnight stay.

What we enjoy most, during every Georgia Barbecue Association, is socializing with our bbq family.

Seeing everyone; giving hugs; catching up on life events;  is like a family reunion of sorts.

Doug and I try to met at least one new team (although they may not be new to the GBA) at each event we attend; even if we are judging.

We welcome new to the GBA family, Native BBQ. This was their first GBA event.

And we broke bread at lunch with two other teams;

East Coast Barbecue – Joe & Cindy LaPlante


Pirates of PorkScents – Jan & Dale Wilson

We had such a great time with them.  Our waitress at Freight Kitchen and Tap was laughing with us.

By the way, if you are ever in Woodstock, Georgia and need to eat lunch or dinner, their Angus Beef Early Train burger is awesome!  They have a plethora of craft beer on tap.

After lunch, it was time to prep meat for the contest.  Then, we attend the traditional “cook’s meeting.”

Finally, dinner fellowship with Just Blowin Smoke and We Want Que.

After we finish working on the meat, we catch just a few hours of sleep, before it’s time to get up and take care of a few cooking procedures.

Then, back to sleep for just a few hours, before the real work begins. Poor Doug was a bit under the weather, but he battled through – obviously – triumphantly.

Saturday was a typical competition day for us.

Feeling insecure about our loin turn in;  feeling a bit over confident in our pulled pork entry (at least I was feeling confident); and finally, uncertain with our rib box.

My father and recent, team financial contributor (more about that in the weeks to come) arrived to sample our rib entry.

Assertively he said, “those are the best ribs, I have ever ate!”

Which gave me a hint of confidence, but then again, he could be doing the “let’s say something nice, thing.”

We were paid a visit my #bbqbestie, Renee Goddard and her husband, Bill Goddard of Rub Shakers Que.

After making her family reunion rounds,  Renee commented, “everywhere I have stood today, that team has got a 2nd call, so I am gonna stay here with you, till ribs come around.”

Well, her good mojo paid off. I was in the cook rig, probably cleaning up something, when I heard someone beating on the side of the camper, at the same time, Doug is screaming my name!

I rush outside to see, WE GOT A SECOND CALL IN RIBS!

Smokin J's Barbeque Rib Finals Smokin J's Barbeque Rib Finals








What an incredible moment!  Only the second time we have competed in finals!

Our first time..was for ribs too!

Thank goodness we prepared for a second turn in.

Most people think, you just cook meat and your done – HOLD ON – there is a second round of judging; therefore, a second round of turn ins.

Our rib “finals” turn in box was actually better than our preliminary box.  My father even agreed the second box tasted better than the first box.

We were feeling good, but EXTREMEMLY NERVOUS about the second round of judging.


All the boxes you are being compared against are GREAT, not just GOOD, but GREAT – or else they would not be in the finals.

New this season, our rib box was being compared to the BEST 3 loin boxes AND the BEST 3 pulled pork boxes AND the other 2 BEST rib boxes.

While waiting for the awards ceremony to start, we began the laborious task of cleaning up everything; packing up everything; and preparing for our long journey home.

CONGRATULATIONS to all teams whose names were called during the Cooking For Fun and the Pro categories.  Recognition for all the hard work is gratifying.

Special accolades to We Want Que (who also took home Reserve Grand Champion) and If You Smoke It, They Will Come, our rib category competitors.

When we heard Greg Sebastian announce, “in 3rd place ribs, We Want Que!”

We got very nervous.  A top two finish??? What????

Then Greg said, “in 2nd place ribs, If You Smoke It, They Will Come.”  I almost screamed!

I had to cover my mouth.  Doug dropped to the ground…he was so elated!

Finally hearing, “in 1st place ribs, Smokin J’s Barbeque!”  I started crying.  I realized, this put in a great position for the Grand.

Smokin J's Barbeque First Place Ribs

It was our first LARGE trophy in professional competition barbecue.  When we returned to our seats, my dad whispered to me, “I told you those ribs were good.”

The two most prestigious awards were left.

GBA President, Greg Sebastian says, “your Reserve Grand Champion is…WE WANT QUE!” 

Holy cow!  Husband and wife team, Michael & Stephanie Chumbley, had a great weekend of barbecue.  Winning Reserve Grand Champion is a special feat.

Now, for the big moment…

I reached over and held Doug’s hand…

Greg Sebastian says, “and now, your 2017 BBQ and Brews Cadence Fest Grand Champions…


I did scream! Cupped my hands over my mouth to try and control myself.

Doug was doing a great impression of Rick Flair with his, “WOOO – WHOO!”

Smokin J's Barbeque Grand Champion Cadence Fest BBQ & Brews

Smokin J's Barbeque Grand Champion BBQ & Brews Cadence Fest

Such jubilation!

Some GBA teams have won multiple Grand Champions.  Some teams get second calls frequently, some even double final; but this was a very special moment for Doug and I.

I wish we could personally thank everyone of our GBA family members for their congratulatory well wishes.

Smokin J's Barbeque Grand Champions

You are our peers and people we respect.  It was wonderful to share such a breathtaking moment with you guys.

And to our GBA family members who missed this stunning event…

we plan on winning again, so you had better be there!  LOL


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Smokin J’s in the GBA

Smokin J’s Barbeque has completed our FORTH year in the Georgia Barbecue Association.

Although we did not cook in any competitions this year, both of us enjoyed judging at several contest this year.

Smokin J’s Barbeque will kick off the 2017 – 2018 season by competing at Smokin Up The Mountains  in East Ellijay, Georgia, Labor Day weekend.

Smokin Up The Mountains GBA

Smokin J’s Barbeque Team

Smokin J’s Barbeque consist of husband and wife team, Doug and JoAnn Johnson.

We compete and cook exclusively on ceramic, Kamado-style vessels.

A kamado is a traditional Japanese wood or charcoal fueled cook stove.

Pit Master, Doug started cooking on this vessel after attending a cooking festival, which featured these vessels.

After buying his first vessel and honing his skills, it became routine to prepare meat and food for family events.

Competition cooking was the natural next step.

Bypassing the “Cooking For Fun” events, Doug convinced JoAnn, they should jump head first into professional cook-offs.

Smokin J’s Barbeque Joins the GBA

Since purchasing our first smoker in 2007, we have purchased three more in order to compete at a professional level.

Our first competition was in Richland, Georgia; where  we froze our butts off cooking under tents.

Our Georgia Barbecue Association education started immediately when we placed in the final round for ribs.

Smokin J's Barbeque

Our very first competition and we advanced to the final round!

Smokin J's Barbeque Richland Pig Fest

Third place trophy in our very FIRST competition!


Starting our 5th year of professional barbecue competition, we consider ourselves veterans.

Georgia Barbecue Association Family

We have met some wonderful people within the barbecue world.

Unlike other organizations, the GBA truly is a FAMILY.

This weekend was the GBA awards banquet and it was wonderful to see so many people hugging and eating together as if we were at a family reunion.

Although we did not cook this past season, we enjoyed judging many contest and celebrating the distribution of team awards.


Here are just a few photos from the banquet

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Smokin J’s has come a long way in just four years!  We look forward to the 2017-2018 season!

Smokin J's Barbeque

When we started, we had two tents and a pick up truck.

Smokin J's Barbeque

Now, we have a nice rig and a place to cook, out of the mud.


















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