Josh and Kristy White: Making BBQ a Family Affair

We interview Josh and Kristy White about their interesting hobby: competitive meat smoking!

TK: Your family has an interesting hobby – smoking meat competitively. Tell me how you got started with that?

Kristy: My dad, Don Gross, has smoked meat as long as I can remember. He and his buddy bought a smoker which they named “Bubba,” and they did a few competitions. My dad then introduced (husband) Josh to grilling and smoking meat, which he instantly fell in love with. We started out with a small Oklahoma Joe’s smoker, then gradually upgraded to a custom- made, pull-behind smoker.

TK: What competitions do you typically enter?

Kristy: We have competed in the Bixby BBQ and Blues festival for the past six years. We used to compete in the Art of BBQ in Tulsa but they stopped doing it. We have competed in competitions in Golden City, MO, but are always looking for new ones try to throughout Oklahoma, AR and MO. With a pop-up camper, it’s easy for us to travel to places and stay for the weekend.

TK: Tell me about the competitions.

Kristy: For example, the Bixby contest starts on Friday and goes through Saturday evening. We make a trip to Sam’s the Thursday before and get all our meat and supplies. The competition meats include: sausage, chicken, ribs, pork shoulder and brisket. We typically set up our spot Thursday night and get ready.

Friday starts the madness. Josh gets there in the morning and starts smoking a few pork butts for us to have Friday night with friends. We invite friends, family and co-workers out Friday night for pulled pork sliders or pulled pork tacos and sides.

Friday and Saturday there are local bands performing, Jupiter jumps for the kids, train rides, petting zoo, etc. There is something for the whole family! Friday is a fun night to hang out with friends and family and relax and gear up for the competition.

There is a cooks’ meeting Friday at 6 p.m. that all teams must go to. Saturday is the actual competition, including a “People’s Choice,” where people purchase a tasting kit to try all the meats.

Our kids love helping hand out the food. They are set with their painted faces from the face paint, Bubba-Q-Boys shirts and are handing out our information and trying to sell bottles of rub. The first meat to turn in starts at 11:30 and every 30 minutes a new meat is due. All teams turn in their meat in a white “to go” container on a bed of lettuce. You have to put in 6 pieces of meat for the table of judges. You’re judged on appearance, taste and tenderness.

We’ve been lucky enough to place top 10 at some point in all of the meat categories!

TK: How else are your kids involved?

Kristy: Kids are involved from start to finish. They help set up the site and the camper; they love helping rub down the meat with our BBQ rub. They put on their latex gloves and rub it all down. They help see what the temperature of the smoker is, help bring wood and charcoal to Josh and, of course, their favorite part is being the taste-testers. All three of our kids started eating ribs at the age of 1! They love them. Ribs and pulled pork are their favorite. Just last weekend we smoked meat for a party and our 2-year-old ate four ribs. Our neighbors couldn’t believe it.

TK: Do you tailgate?

Kristy: We are big football fans and typically smoke meat every Saturday for parties at our house. We are big fans of all the teams. I went to TU and Josh has grad hours from both OU and OSU, so we root for all of them.

TK: What’s your favorite meat?

Kristy: Our favorite meat to smoke is probably ribs and pulled pork. Josh’s ribs are amazing! Through trial and error the past few years, he’s got it down! They are fall-off-the-bone and delicious.

I love pulled pork and love to make new things with the leftovers – pulled pork tacos and sliders are my favorite. The tacos are the best with a small tortilla filled with pulled pork, then topped with chopped red onion, lettuce and drizzled with ranch and BBQ sauce. Yum!!!

TK: Can you share any secrets with us amateurs?

Kristy: Secrets for BBQ-ers would be to practice, practice, practice. Practice different meats, different techniques. Through trial and error, you’ll make your meat the best it can be. You can email us and we’ll give you a free secret tip!

We actually packaged our own BBQ rub last year. Our friends kept telling us how good our rub was and after winning a few awards, we thought why not! We worked with a spice company in Edmond to replicate our rub and through little tweaks here and there and back and forth, we perfected it. One of our Facebook fans helped us create the tag line of “Salty Sweet with just a Little Heat” and it’s perfect for it. We hope in the future to make a hot BBQ rub. Find it on our website

I love cooking and Josh loves smoking and we love to share that with others. It’s neat to know that we created the rub and that we’re selling something that’s unique to us.

TK: What’s the best thing about your hobby?

Kristy: The best thing about BBQ-ing with the family is that it’s a fun hobby to do together. It’s quality time. Whether it’s at our house and we have friends over for dinner or at a competition. I think the best thing at competition is we always bring our fire pit so we roast s’mores with the kids and sit around the fire just talking and enjoying the weather. It’s a great bonding time and we’re teaching our kids how fun it is to cook and how to make things.

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