While Rob-a-Que continues to build a successful and delectable catering business in the Louisville area of Kentucky, Rob Bailey, originally wanted to start smoking to participate in competitions. It was an honor for me (his niece) to tag along to photograph his very first BBQ cook-off, the 7th Annual Chesapeake Jubilee in Chesapeake, Virginia last weekend.
This event is not for the faint of heart. It is in the major leagues of competitive cooking and sanctioned by the world famous Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). I had no idea what I was in for when I offered to go along to help with the competition, photograph the event, keep RBQ’s Facebook up-to-date for fans, and now write this blog. One of my ulterior motives was to sneak in a visit with his daughter, my cousin, Sarah, who now lives in VA Beach. It proved to be a hectic and exhausting weekend…but an amazing one! I learned so much by getting this behind-the-scene view of the competitive smoking community. They truly are a community. Considering the prize at stake, I firmly believed we would be going to an event where competition would be the only thing on everyone’s mind and winning would get in the way of learning, socializing, or interacting. It was quite the opposite. Once the other competitors learned that it was our team’s first competition, they offered to help in any way possible, answered any questions we had, and wished us the best of luck!
Robert Bailey Jr., The Pitmaster
Rob has always enjoyed grilling and received his first smoker about two years ago as a Christmas gift. It was an electric smoker, and it gave him a taste for smoking meat. He later acquired a wood smoker, which inspired him to experiment even more. He was actively trying new techniques and initiating conversations to gain knowledge from others who had smokers.
Then, last summer he attended a smoking competition in Jefferson, Indiana as a spectator. This fed his appetite for the world of competitive smoking. He also encountered his first Jambo, which solidified his desire to compete. A Jambo is a world renown smoker, custom built by Jamie Geer. Jamie’s company is called Jambopits and is located in Texas. According to The BBQ Guy, Brian Pearcy, “Some of the best BBQ teams in the country cook on [Jambos] and just about everyone else wishes they did.”
Rob made the decision to purchase a Jambo (with the help of his sponsors: Milwaukee Electric Tool, DeWALT, IRWIN, Diamond Products, Louisville Ladder, and 3M) in order to start competing as a hobby. However, soon after the purchase, another life changing event occurred. He made the challenging decision to leave the family company, Bailey Tools. This compelled him to dive into catering as a new career. He researched, practiced, and became versed in the business and is now booking several events a week. In March of 2012, he attended a smoking class, along with his wife and smoking partner, Alonna. It was taught by Chris Marks, 8-time Grand Champion of the American Royal BBQ Cookoff. From Kansas City, Marks is the winner of over 40 National BBQ Contests and has been featured on Food Network along with several other cooking shows.
Rob recently purchased yet another smoker that is specifically built for catering larger amounts of BBQ, unlike his Jambo, which is designed to be a competition smoker. Rob-a-Que’s food is extremely tasty and is now AWARD WINNING! Rob-a-Que took home 5th place, a trophy, and $150 cash prize in the “Chicken” category. They also received 6th place, a ribbon, and a $50 cash prize in the “Pulled Pork.” This was impressive since this was their first BBQ competition and they were facing off with 25 other teams! If you live in the Louisville, KY area, you should consider Rob-a-Que for your next event. Make sure you check out Rob-a-Que on Facebook and become a fan in order to follow along with his next BBQ adventure!
Rob’s Red Hot Recipe for the 7th Annual Chesapeake Jubilee BBQ Cook-Off
Prep Time: Buying supplies on Thursday: Meat, Parsley, Lettuce, etc.
Setting up Friday morning, starting at 9:00 AM. KCBS’ official inspection of the meat
before proceeding with any preparations or cooking. Getting the meat ready for smoking:
trimming, injecting, and applying rubs throughout the day.
Cook Time: Starting the fire at about 10:00 PM Friday night and putting meats on the
smoker at different intervals throughout the night.
Total Time: 3 days plus two days of travel
Yield: Lots of yummy smoked goodness and two awards!
Potato Salad- Turn in 11:30 AM (a BONUS Category!)
Chicken Thighs- Turn in Noon
Pork Ribs- Turn in 12:30 PM
Pork Butt- Turn in 1:00 PM
Beef Brisket- Turn in 1:30 PM
A whole lot of PARSLEY and lettuce!!!!
One Pitmaster, Rob Bailey, Jr.
3 Assistants: Alonna Bailey, Sarah Bailey Duckworth, and myself, Heather Cundiff
Day 1: Wednesday, May 16-Travel and Arrival to Chesapeake, VA
Rob and Alonna left Louisville, in the early morning hours to then rendezvous with me in Richmond, KY. We headed straight to Virginia. My cousin, Sarah, and her husband, Josh, live in the area and served as our gracious hosts. Rob also has a brother, Mike, whose family lives nearby. We enjoyed great visits with family before diving into meaty work!
Day 2: Thursday, May 17- Acquiring the necessary supplies
Rob and I went to Central Meats to buy all the meat (3 racks of Spare Ribs, 2 Beef Briskets, 2 Pork Shoulder Butt, & 8 Chicken Thighs; plus some Secret Spices & Sauces) that would be necessary for various events of the competition. We also went shopping for a ton of parsley, lettuce, and other supplies for the weekend.
Day 3: Friday, May 18: Setup and Prep
Upon arrival, we setup the smoker, tent, and site, trying our best to not blow away. The wind was insane on Friday with a bit of an improvement Saturday but still very gusty. Friday was a busy day at times, but allowed for some “down time” to meander and introduce ourselves to the other competitors. We prepared all of the meats for smoking throughout the day.
Day 4: Saturday, May 19: Cooking and Judging
An extremely hectic day. The Loaded Potato Salad was due at 11:30 AM, followed by one dish every half hour until the last box was turned in at 1:30 PM. It was a day filled with stress, as we tried to keep hot food hot, while sharp objects flew around, and strong wind fought us constantly. There were lots of people, scrambling around not sure of what to do or how to help, and then there was me, constantly in the way, taking pictures! Somehow, no one had to go to the hospital, all the food was delicious, and Rob-a-Que received two awards & two checks. Pretty remarkable for their first competition!
Rob-A-Que NOW open for lunch starting Monday March 18th, 2013 11:00 -1:30
Come by & spread the word!!!
View Map for directions…
Alonna Bailey, Branding Impact
The customized apparel worn by Rob-a-Que’s team was created by Branding Impact. Whether you are looking for a specific item or just need branding ideas, Branding Impact is a one-stop shopping source for promotional products, business gifts, awards, incentives and rewards. From fun to traditional, you can easily shop for some of the hottest items on the market. Be sure to check out Branding Impact on Facebook as well!
About Cundiff Creative
*I am Heather Cundiff, make sure you check out the rest of this site, as well as ‘Like’ my Cundiff Creative Facebook page! Thanks for stopping by and reading! If you are interested in having your company featured on my blog, similar to this entry, please contact me for pricing info.
*I also designed Rob-a-Que’s Logo, click the link to see the blog entry related to the design. Check out From Art to Dezign to see more of my designs and contact me if you are interested in logo or other designs!
Other Sites Mentioned in this Blog Entry:
Chesapeake Jubilee Facebook Page
Chesapeake Jubilee BBQ Cook-Off
BBQ Blob: Jambo Pits
Kansas City Barbeque Society
KCBS Facebook Page
Milwaukee Electric Tool
Other Teams pictured:
Hambones by the Fire
Chix, Swine, & Bovine BBQ
Chix, Swine, & Bovine BBQ’s Facebook
Checkered Pig’s Facebook
JD’s Smokin Misfits’ Facebook
Piedmont Pit Barbeque T-shirt Sales
Piedmont Pit BBQ Team Bio
Big Day Barbeque’s Facebook
Fat Baby BBQ’s Facebook
Walk the Swine
Walk the Swine’s Facebook
Belmont House of Smoke
Belmont House of Smoke’s Facebook
Tarheel Smokers’ Facebook
Full gallery from the fun filled weekend! Click on a photo to view in a slideshow. Some images may be too graphic for younger viewers…or vegetarians!
© 2012 Cundiff Creative Photography and Graphic Design