Over twenty cooking teams took their smokers, grills, and BBQ pits to Texas Tech campus over the weekend to earn the title of best ribs, chicken, brisket, and beans. And it was all for a good cause. Thomas Rodriguez was one of the competitors and has over three decades of cooking experience.
"About 30 years, yes sir. We really enjoy it, we have a good time," Rodriguez said. "Fellowship, the family comes out and we just love to cook and have a good time."
"Well we just enjoy the competition, enjoy cooking for one. This is a good event too to support the college and the students too," Mike Hall, another cook off participant said.
The third annual Raider Red Meats barbecue cook off was off to a great start as the pits were fired up, and meat was being seasoned for that perfect taste before being thrown onto the pit to cook. There were cookers of all shapes and sizes at the event, and Bob Huseman told us about the cooker he custom built himself.
"Well my cooker I built a couple of years ago, used a piece of propane tank for the bottom, boxed it in give it more cooking space. I built the trailer and put the stuff on," Huseman said.
Everybody has a specialty whether it be making good ribs or brisket or chicken. But for the Texas Tornadoes cooking team, which has been together for the last ten years, each member of the team brings something different to the table.
"Ribs, I love to cook ribs," Rodriguez said. "My nephew over there is the chicken man. Dave is the chicken man he can cook good chicken and Lou, he's a brisket man. So we kind of have our assigned stuff that we like to cook."
Of course when it comes to barbecue it takes a lot of time and trial and error to get the right recipe. And for some it has been a long time in the making.
"It's been years, we've been trying to do the same thing for probably the last 12, or 15 years," Mike Hall said.
"His dad was a real good cook and gave us a lot of influence," Craig Hall said. "And I had an older brother that did the same for me and we just kind of picked it up and have been trying to perfect it like he said for about 10 to 12 years."
Now of course a barbecue competition you want to compete well in, but at the end of the day it's about the fellowship between friends and family that you get to enjoy the most.
"We just like to cook and hang out and then our families come out, it's just a big fellowship to us," Rodriguez said. "We're a Christian family and we just enjoy doing it."
"Also it's visiting the people I know from other cook-offs. We visit and catch up you know with friends that we only see a couple times a year," Huseman said.
A lot of these cooks hope they can continue testing their cooking skills and building new friendships each year at the Raider Red Meats cook off at Texas Tech as they hope that it continues for years to come.