Robby Royal's BBQ Journey and the Evolving World of Barbecue Competitions

In this interview with Robby Royal, a seasoned barbecue competitor, he discusses his journey from cooking whole hogs to winning multiple championships. He shares insights into the changing landscape of barbecue competitions, emphasizing the increased level of competition due to the popularity of cooking classes. Robby also highlights the critical role judges play and the challenges faced by teams in the ever-evolving barbecue world.

[This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]
BBQ 321: Did your TV experiences give you a boost in the BBQ world?
ROBBY: Oh yeah. I've been recognized -- liked and hated since 2013.

BBQ 321: How has the BBQ world changed since you started in it?
ROBBY: I think the judging is way more critical because the judges have seen the shows, and the competitors are coming into BBQ with a 3 to 4 year learning curve because they've taken a class like mine or someone else's and it's making the competition way more stiff.

BBQ 321: What's your pork top tip?
ROBBY: Don't separate it! You see a lot of folks, separate that money muscle off. I'd rather cook an extra butt and get the internal parts where I want them. For KCBS don't overfill your box. GBA, FBA, put as much in there as you possibly can.

BBQ 321: What about any tips in general?
ROBBY: Whatever you're going to cook in competition, practice with it at home. Practice with that same meat. You may have to pay a little bit more for it, but practice with that same product And the consistency is what's going to win it for you.

BBQ 321: If you could go back in time and give yourself one tip before starting off on this BBQ journey, what would it be?
ROBBY: Try to enjoy it more at the beginning the way I do now.

For more stories, insights, and competition barbecue tips from RESCUE SMOKERS, check out the BBQ 321 Pit Master Interviews Episode 13 podcast.