All eyes in the BBQ world will be on Boise as the 2017 Rock’n Brews & BBQ Festival comes to the Boise Spectrum on September 16. The event is an Officially Sanctioned event by KCBS, the Kansas City Barbeque Society; and is a State Championship whose winner will be an auto-draw for next year’s prestigious Jack Daniels National Championship. Twenty-six BBQ teams will be competing for awards in the competition. Competitors will be coming not only from Idaho, but from Colorado, Utah, Montana and Nevada.
One of the teams competing this year at the Rock’n Brews & BBQ Festival is Twisted Blue Smoke BBQ from Pocatello, Idaho. Team Captain Ryan Patterson got interested in BBQ several years ago and applied his background as a clinical microbiologist to doing research on every aspect of BBQ and many of the scientific details that affect cooking great barbeque. Ryan sat down recently with The Boise Beat to talk some barbeque and tell how he got involved in the world of BBQ competition.
Q: Ryan, what got you interested in barbeque?
A: Honestly, it was the shows on TV. I got a cooker and a little Green Mountain Grill. I love cooking outdoors, it’s something I’ve always really enjoyed, so then I just slowly started watching the shows and dipping my toe into the water and experimenting, changing and started taking detailed notes and one thing led to another. I felt like a competition would be fun to do, to see how I could do, so I entered, loved it and it was fun!
Q: Are you excited about competing in the Rock’n Brews and BBQ Festival?
A: I am excited, I’m very excited. I’m working on getting stuff honed in and getting the details patched out.
Q: Who inspired you to start barbequeing and to get into competitive barbeque?
A: My family; my mother actually. My dad, I grew up—part of the reason I got into cooking to the extent I did—because with my dad, I grew up cooking, sharing recipes and ideas. Cooking is elemental with me. Unfortunately, I really didn’t appreciate it at the time. My dad is still around, but if I could go back in time, I would have learned and cooked a lot more with my dad. So that’s where I got the cooking bug; and then the barbeque competition—I was considering doing catering and selling stuff here in town and my mom thought, ‘Why don’t I look online?’ and sure enough she found a competition in Boise and we signed up and it was a good idea. It was what planted the seed.
We’re all barbeque backyard cooks and that’s the root of it all. Then you just slowly evolve into the competition with cookers. Some people have the high-end Jambo cookers and other people go with the Weber Smoky Mountains and do really well. I enjoy the science behind barbeque, I do try to take a scientific approach to the stuff I do, just because my background in school is science. That’s also the way I approach barbeque as far as my different rubs, injections, cooking times and stuff like that. It’s a good time; and if you can get the science down you can get some pretty good barbeque too.
Q: What kind of smoker do you like?
A: Originally, what planted the BBQ seed in me was the pellet-fed smoker. The ease and the convenience of it, especially with a family. That’s originally where I started and from there I’ve gone on to diffferent smokers and the drums and that stuff. Back in the day, it was thought that anybody who had a pellet cooker wasn’t competitive. But there are certain ways you can augment and get smoke and get more somoke out of your pellet cooker. I know people thought that back in the day, but I don’t have any problem getting a good layer of smoke on my food.
Q: What’s the story behind your team name?
A: It was just kind of a name that evolved throughout the years from listening to music back in high school. My brother and I listened to certain songs, taking the ‘twisted’ and doing different things with it. I’ve always liked it, and ‘blue smoke’ is that thin blue smoke from the barbequing. I just mashed it together and made it one.
Q: Do you prefer a certain kind of meat for barbeque, or do you enjoy cooking them all?
A: A lot of people really like chicken. I don’t love it, but I will cook them all. When I cook for my family, that’s what is enjoyable, to see my family enjoy the food. If I had to choose a piece of meat that I enjoy cooking, I love beef, so I would say a big, big brisket is always fun. But in all honesty I love cooking it all; between the pork that you can do pulled pork for the family, I enjoy those recipes. Ribs are a good time too.
Q: What is your favorite non-competition meat that you like to barbeque?
A: I’ll take a chuck roast, get a good chuck roast and smoke it, then pull it, kind of like pulled pork; and I’ll make some great sandwiches with that. That’s one of my favorite things, I treat it like a brisket, I inject it, I’ll hit my certain temperature and when you pull that, it makes a great sandwich.
Q: Any cooking or barbequing story you’d care to share?
A: Well, sometimes I think it’s a miracle when I can get my wife to eat my barbeque, because she’s had it so much that anytime I get a compliment from my wife about some barbeque that I cook it’s a good day! You practice on the stuff and you feed it to your family. There’s only so much ribs that you can eat and so much brisket so your taste buds get beat up a bit, especially with competition style barbeque.
Q: You learned a lot from the TV barbeque shows. Any big inspirations from there?
A: Watching those guys, they’re pros and they don’t give all their secrets, but watching them inspired me to do my own research. That’s what’s easy about the internet now, I’ve spent plenty of hours just reading articles and blogs, what people try and how they do a certain thing and then the really important thing is that you’ve got to do it for yourself. If it’s something that you need to adapt to your cooker or your cooking temperature, there are so many different variables.
It’s amazing that nowadays the internet has so much information, the fact that anyone can learn from people like Myron Mixon and all of those others that competed in their prime. They were discovering things and they didn’t have an outlet for information, they were just doing it by trial and error. I just tended to learn from those guys, taking it upon myself through experimentation and more research, more experimentation, trying to get something dialed in that I’m comfortable with.
Q: Thanks, Ryan, and all the best for Twisted Blue Smoke BBQ to get some wins at the 2017 Rock’n Brew & BBQ Festival coming up!
The Rock’n Brews & BBQ Festival should be fun for visitor and competitor alike. The event is much more then just a barbeque competition, since there will also be food vendors and restaurants selling delicious items such as ribs and other tasty treats,as well as plenty of beer tastings from local breweries such as Edge Brewing Co., Sockeye Brewing, Payette Brewing Co., Powderhaus Brewing Co,. Meriwether Cider Co. and Boise Brewing. Admission is free to the event, however beer fans can purchase a ticket for $20 ($30 at the door) that will give them unlimited beer tasting from noon to 4:00pm.
Entertainment-wise, there will be excellent music from several live rock and blues bands including The Voltz, The 504 Plan, and Carlos Danger. There will also be plenty of cooking and BBQ demonstrations. Make sure you mark your calendar for this event, sure to be one of the best tasting events in Boise. If you’ve never been to a serious BBQ competition like this before, get ready for some wonderful smells, great tasting food and fun entertainment!
Rock’n Brews & BBQ Festival
Saturday, September 16, 2017
7709 W Overland Rd
Boise, ID 83709