Team Captain: Greg Shepard

Qualifying Event: Great Lenexa BBQ Battle

Favorite Category: Pork butt

Hometown: Kansas City, Kan.

Biography: After unsuccessful attempts on the competitive scrapbooking and synchronized swimming circuits, eight guys from Kansas City finally decided to try their hand at barbecue. Bred in the barbecue capital of the world, the Shawnee Mission Northwest High School buddies had always been great at finding and eating outstanding barbecue. In 2005, they decided it might be easier and more fun to just make it themselves. So, using the same custom-built smoker (aka Mindy) used by their team captain’s father to win several national titles in the 90s, brothers Greg and Grant Shepard held rigorous tryouts to hand select the finest pitmasters Kansas City had to offer. When that failed miserably, they asked a few friends from their softball team to drink beer with them a few weekends a year…and Pork N’ Mindy was born.

In addition to Greg and Grant, PNM’s line-up includes Coby “Silver Fox” Hess, Sous Chef Steve Laurenzo, the self-proclaimed Dr. BBQ Ryan Rodenburg, Big Brett Mattson, and brothers Jon and Evan Whitefield. At contests, Team PNM has been known to down a pink sunrise, slap a bag of wine, and create “an aftermath.” One of their many mottos – Good For You (GFY) – truly exemplifies their positive approach. In fact, team members can often be heard exclaiming “GFY!” at each other throughout a contest to keep up team spirit and offer encouragement. Team PNM knows that life is a picnic table, one filled with fried chicken, generic chips and maybe even a cob of corn. PNM’s unorthodox approach to competitive barbecue has created a blueprint for success that few understand and even fewer will want to emulate. But, when given two choices, PNM will flip that box and turn in that meat with the best of them (unless they can’t find the judge’s tent and end up last in chicken…Evan).

Recent PNM accomplishments include Grand Champion at the 2013 Great Lenexa BBQ Battle and successfully convincing their wives that barbecuing is a real thing, not just a two-day bender.