Countdown to the Kingsford Invitational: Queology
November 6, 2013
This weekend, seven of the year’s top competition barbecue teams including Across the Tracks Cook-off Team, Sweet Swine O Mine, Pellet Envy, 3 Eyz BBQ, Pork N’ Mindy, Iowa’s Smokey D’s BBQ, and Cool Smoke will converge on New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for the second annual winner-takes-all Kingsford Invitational.
Rounding out the team roster is Charleston, SC-based Queology, an 11 year old team comprised of military veterans that will be competing on behalf of Folds of Honor, a veteran’s charity that provides scholarships to those who were injured or to family members of those who were lost while in action.
Today we’re catching up with Russ Cornette of Queology to get their thoughts on the contest as well as the importance of representing the armed forces this Veteran’s Day weekend.
Clint: So you all have been around the competition barbecue scene for a while now. How did team Queology get started and who makes up the team?
Russ: We’ve been around and cooking competition barbecue since 2001. Matt Gamble, our wives and I attended a local competition in 2000 and sampled much of the barbecue from the cookers and decided we could cook better barbecue. The following year we showed up with our cooker and jumped into the barbecue competition world with both feet. We cooked a whole hog at our first event but didn’t win any awards. We had a lot of fun and leaned a lot about competition barbecue. From that point forward we were hooked. Matt and I have been cooking together since the beginning. Brian joined us in 2010.
C: This weekend you all will be traveling to New York City to go head-to-head against seven of the year’s top teams at the Kingsford Invitational. How have you all prepared to compete against such an esteemed group of competitors?
Russ: We are very excited to have the opportunity to come to NYC to compete against such a quality group of barbecue teams. Queology has been successful in the past against stout competition and hopes to continue that success in New York. We’ve cooked against some of the best teams in the country with success, including some of the teams in the Kingsford Invitational, and look forward to meeting them again. We welcome the high caliber of competition, and look forward to having a great cook and presenting quality barbecue to the esteemed judges.
C: This year’s roster includes players from several different regions of barbecue and the grilling nation including Memphis, Kansas City, Texas, Virginia, Iowa, and Maryland. What sets South Carolina BBQ apart from these other regions and do you all plan to bring any of that regional flavor to the Kingsford Invitational judges table?
Russ: South Carolina is the birthplace of American barbecue. South Carolina also has the most diverse types of barbecue from one end of the state to the other with a wide variety of flavors and techniques. Queology’s barbecue is certainly influenced by the wide variety of traditional South Carolina flavors and techniques and we hope the judges enjoy the barbecue we present them to sample and judge.
C: Not only does this year’s contest occur during Veteran’s Day weekend, it also takes place on the site of the famed Intrepid aircraft carrier. As a team comprised of three military veterans and one that is competing on behalf of Folds of Honor, what does your participation in the event mean to you all personally?
Russ: Brian and I served in the US Navy. Matt served in the US Army. We are all proud and patriotic Americans and are fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the best country on the planet. We are honored and humbled to represent such a quality organization like the Folds of Honor and help their efforts in successfully achieving their goals. We are also excited to proudly represent our sponsor, Charleston Hospitality Group, and the state of South Carolina on a national barbecue stage. We understand we may be considered the underdogs in this event, but also understand that anything can happen in competition barbecue. We are all very motivated to cook the best barbecue we are capable of and are proud to represent the Folds of Honor, Charleston Hospitality Group, the state of South Carolina, as well as our friends and family in the most positive way possible. Queology’s goal is not to beat the competing teams, but to win.
C: Finally, I understand you all also operate a restaurant with the same Queology name in Charleston. What can visitors expect when they come to visit?
Russ: We don’t actually operate the restaurant on a daily basis. The Queology Barbecue competition team did inspire the creation of the restaurant, Queology, by our sponsor, Charleston Hospitality Group. I helped develop the dry rubs, sauces, and cooking techniques used in the restaurant that serves up competition quality barbecue, wings and side items that make Queology the best barbecue restaurant in Charleston, SC located at 32 North Market Street.
Thanks so much for your time and for your representation of the military at this year’s event. Best of luck and we’ll speak to you all again soon!