Grill and Thrill: Inside the Competitive BBQ World with Team Chupacabra

In this episode of BBQ 321, we dive deep into the world of competitive barbecue with Tim and Jackie of Team Chupacabra BBQ. The duo shares their journey into the competitive barbecue scene, from Tim's initial years learning the ropes to Jackie's meteoric rise after attending a barbecue class. They discuss their favorite meats to cook, the importance of quality, and their strategies for different categories. From the challenges of cooking in extreme weather conditions to the camaraderie and rivalry in the barbecue community, Tim and Jackie provide a candid look into the highs and lows of the competition circuit. They also touch upon their travels, their love for Wagyu meats, and their aspirations for the future. Whether you're a seasoned pit master or a barbecue enthusiast, this episode offers a wealth of insights and tips from two of the best in the business.

[This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]
BBQ 321: How did you guys get into the competitive barbecue world?
TIM: Well, it started off I was on a barbecue team for about three years... I brought in Jackie, and she'd do desserts or chef choices.

BBQ 321: So now you guys are doing it together. How do you divide duties now?
TIM: Jackie has become the head cook of Team Chupacabra... I drive the truck, purchase things, and wash dishes.

BBQ 321: So now you have a good run going. Are you guys doing this full-time or on the weekends?
TIM: This is a hobby for us. We actually have full-time jobs, and we travel as much as we can.

BBQ 321: Top tip. Ribs.
TIM: Good quality ribs. We pull the membranes... Nice, thick, meaty ribs.

BBQ 321: Top tip brisket?
TIM: We're from Texas, and brisket is king... Our go-to brisket is Snake River Farms.

BBQ 321: Do you guys tend to do all the ancillaries?
JACKIE: If there's an ancillary, I love it. You can be creative in the box... I always sear my cheesecakes on the rec tech.

BBQ 321: What advice would you give to someone starting out in BBQ competition?
JACKIE: Don't be afraid to fail, because what happens when you fail? You just get up. You know, there's always another cook-off.

For more stories, insights, and competition barbecue tips from Team Chupacabra, check out the BBQ 321 Pit Master Interviews Episode 12 podcast.