Justin Bowman of Bull Creek BBQ in Paola celebrated his birthday in grand fashion Saturday, March 18, by winning the Olathe BBQ Championship.
The competition at Lone Elm Park in Olathe kicked off the competition season for Bull Creek BBQ, and the chilly weather was a far cry from the blazing heat of the later summer competitions.
“We have cooked some cold competitions before, but I think this one will go in the books for the coldest!,” Bull Creek BBQ posted on its Facebook page. Justin added that the weather was “miserable.”
That didn’t stop Justin and his wife Renee though from smoking some award-winning barbecue.
Justin said he didn’t try any new rubs or strategies during the competition. Instead, he focused on making the meat as tender as possible.
“Tenderness is what wins it,” Justin said.
Even though his meat thermometer was broken, Justin said he still used it to push into the meat until it felt just right.
“It’s a feel,” Justin said. “You just know when it’s right.”
The final product certainly won over the judges.
Justin and Renee took second place in chicken, second place in brisket and fifth place in ribs, and the team’s overall score of 706.8 was enough to name Bull Creek BBQ grand champion of the event and winner of the $1,500 top prize.
It was the first time the Bowmans had won the Olathe BBQ Championship, but it was the third overall championship for Bull Creek BBQ. Justin said he also has won championships in Osawatomie and Iola, and he previously won additional championships under other team names.
Local residents may be familiar with Justin and his family from their Bull Creek BBQ food truck in Paola. Bull Creek BBQ also has won the Best of Miami County award three times at the Roots Festival barbecue competition.
Justin said he tries to compete in about one competition a month, and next on the schedule is Osage City in April.
Local residents who want to try some of the award-winning barbecue can visit the Bull Creek BBQ Facebook page and sign up for location alerts to see where the food truck will be located.
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