Around the Grill: Talking BBQ with Bill Gillespie of Smokin' Hoqqz BBQ
Who is Bill Gillespie & Smokin' Hoggz BBQ?
The Smokin' Hoggz BBQ team got their start in 2008. Based out of Abington, Massachusetts - a place you probably wouldn't think of when talking about delicious BBQ - founder Bill Gillespie, Shaune Gillespie, Alan Burke, and Greg Burke are proving that good BBQ is not just a southern thing. After spending a few years competing and tweaking recipes, the Smokin' Hoggz team brought it all together, winning four state championship competitions in Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire as well as the title of World Champions at the 2011 Jack Daniels BBQ Competition.
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Bill Gillespie from Smokin' Hoggz and ask him a few questions about BBQ, his team and BBQ in the Northeast.
Q&A with Bill Gillespie of Smokin' Hoggz BBQ
1) How did you get your start in the BBQ industry?
I got started cooking BBQ because of my passion for cooking and my love for ribs. I got my first smoker about 15 years ago and and have been addicted ever since.
2) You compete with the Smokin' Hoggz team in competitions. What's the best thing about cooking in the team dynamic? What is the most challenging?
The best thing about the team dynamic is everyone has an equally important role to play, from set up to organization to executing the cook to presentation, and when everyone is on the same page it is like a finely tuned machine running smoothly. The most challenging part is getting to that point where everything clicks and staying there.
3) What's the most unique thing you have grilled or cooked?
The most unique thing I've cooked on the grill is Romaine lettuce. People were like "You cooked what???" It's awesome!!
4) What is the BBQ tool you simply can't live without?
My tongs, they are an extension of my hands, from flipping burgers to moving stuff around on the grill/smoker to tending to the fire. Invaluable!
5) Are you a member of any BBQ communities online? How about offline?
6) What changes would you like to see in the BBQ community in the next 10 years?
I don't think there needs to be any major changes but I would like to see BBQ continue to grow as it has been for the last few years.
7) What do you think BBQ means to our society?
To me it's all about Friends and Family. It's a way for friends and family to get together and enjoy each others company and have some really good food.
8) Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get involved in competitive cooking?
Learn as much as you can and practice as much as you can!
9) 2011 was a big year for the Smokin' Hoggz BBQ team, with the Jack Daniels Championship, 4 state championships and a slew of other awards. What's on the horizon for your team? Any big upcoming events?
Last year(2012) we competed in 11 contests, This year we have 14 contests on the schedule, with the possibility of adding a few more. We are heading to our first contest of the season down in Maryland at Pork in the Park, they usually draw over 100 teams. We are also going back to the Roc City Rib Fest in Rochester NY to defend our title there (2011 and 2012 GC's). We are looking to stay consistent and hopefully advance to some of the big events later on in the year.
8) Besides yourself, who would you consider to be some of the best in the industry and why?
Chris Hart(Ique), Chris Lilly(Big Bob Gibsons), Tuffy Stone(Cool Smoke), Johnny Trigg(Smokin' Triggers), Myron Mixon(Jack's Old South). That's just off the top of my head. All of these guys have been cooking BBQ for years and cooking at a very high level all the time. They are the best in BBQ because they are always consistent and always finish in the top. They are also really nice people and the BBQ community is lucky to have them.
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