Mastering the Smoke: An Exclusive with Bill Purvis of CHICKEN FRIED BBQ

With a reputation for crafting some of the most delectable barbecue delights, Bill Purvis of CHICKEN FRIED BBQ has carved a niche for himself in the competitive BBQ circuit. In this exclusive interview, we delve deep into the heart and soul of his culinary journey, exploring his passion for the craft, his secrets to success, and the stories that have shaped his BBQ legacy.

[This interview has been edited for length and clarity]
BBQ 321: We keep seeing you with the same 4 or 5 teams/Pit Masters. Do you guys tend to travel together?

BILL: In Texas, we have our own sanctioned bodies, and then KCBS covers pretty much the rest of the world. And people like Phil [Phil Breeden/LC BBQ], me, and Fred [Fred Robles/RIO VALLEY MEATS] have all been at the top of the Texas-sanctioned bodies. And we've all ventured out and scored well and done well in KCBS because basically, when COVID hit, Texas shut down, but there were still KCBS contests that were going on. So we started to travel abroad and started winning some of those contests.

BBQ 321: How did you get to the point where you are consistently winning? How do you have your finger on the pulse?

BILL: There are a lot of different elements to it. But it starts with having the right meat. When you go pick out a steak at a grocery store, they're categorized. You've got prime, you've got choice, you've got select. And they're different price points. But for ribs and pork, they're just all in a big bin. There's no category, and I've had different meat markets that have sponsored me at different times, even butchers, and they can't consistently pick out the kind of meat that I'm looking for…that comes with experience.

BBQ 321: When you start planning your year, what else do you have left to accomplish this year, and what are you looking at for next year?

BILL: I want to win a major. I won San Antonio Rodeo, which was close to 300 teams, and most people consider that a major or a world championship, and it was a big win, but my goal is to win the Jack or Houston or the Royal.

For more stories, insights, and competition barbecue tips from Chicken Fried BBQ, check out the BBQ 321 Pit Master Interviews Episode 8 podcast.