Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hog-It-Up Mike Lackey Bluemont Tells All What BBQ Means to Him @Hog_It_Up_BBQ

Mike Lackey Hog-It-Up
Mike Lackey, Pitmaster of Hog-it-Up BBQ Team on the Go, Photo Stolen From PeterGreen
Catching up with Mike Lackey:  What Does BBQ Mean to a Texan and an Aussie? 
I'm introducing Mike and Michelle Lackey from Bluemont, Virginia. I love the town of Bluemont, and if you blink you may just miss the old main street or General Store.  I consider the Lackey's Bluemont's best kept secret as far as barbecue goes.  Having met in Australia Mike and Michelle (she's the Aussie) moved to their own little piece of paradise on Blue Ridge Mountain overlooking the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, which Michelle refers to as "Chateau Hog-It-Up" or as her Australian Embassy where everything works a little "differently". 

They've been married for 10 years, Michelle can't believe where the time has gone! Between them they have three kids, all of who have flown the coop, three dogs with "Boomer" being the 3rd member of the BBQ Team! They also share home with some chickens who HAVEN'T flown the coop yet! Both Mike and Michelle members of KCBS and MABA.  (In case you are wondering, the MABA is the Mid Atlantic Barbecue Association, and encompasses members from the East Coast, check 'em out here.)


So Mike how did your love of BBQ Start?

"My love of BBQing came from living in Texas where we'd BBQ at family reunions, but then when I moved to Virginia where I found that there was nowhere to go and eat good BBQ, so I figured if I wanted good BBQ I was going to have to cook it myself. Family and friends raved about my BBQ over the years so I thought I'd take it to the next level and compete. Now Michelle on the other hand used to only grill in Australia but has since taken to the BBQ lifestyle like a duck to water. She really likes to think she's the boss, but really I am, ..I think?"

When did you decide to start competing?

"We started competing at Pickin' in the Panhandle's 1st backyard competition in 2007 where we placed 2nd in brisket! In 2008, when we went to enter Pickin a second time , I found that the backyard was on Sunday. I really didn't want to compete on Sunday because that's my day to sleep in and relax, so I was "forced" to enter into the pro's on Saturday so I could keep the Sunday R&R tradition alive and well. Lo and behold we got a 5th brisket that year and the rest they say is history, we were bitten by the BBQ bug!"

The Lackey's Take the Prize At Grove's Harley Davidson
The Lackey's Take the Prize at Grove's Harley Davidson Photo: Courtesy of Groves

 That's great!  Do you only compete in KCBS (Kansas City Barbeque Society) events or any contents? 

"Well typically we only do KCBS/MABA  events, but that doesn't mean we won't venture into other sanctioning bodies around the country to compete. We've even dabbled in chili cook offs recently winning first place, with my Texas Chili, at an event held by Groves Harley Davidson in Winchester VA! Michelle, we need to do more of these so we can fund our 'BBQ habit'!"

 What was your best accomplishment and why?

"Our best accomplishment by far has to be making it to the American Royal in Kansas City, in 2012, which was officially the biggest BBQ Competition in the world with 525 teams competing in the 'Open' portion of the event! We had an outstanding cook with Michelle, the Aussie "Chicken Queen" of our team, pulling a 5th place call in the Nation during the Invitational part of the Competition, which had 154 Grand Champion teams from around the country competing for the top spot. Now let's not forget our 54th placing in the Open, 525 teams, not too shabby at all!"

What is your favorite way of smoking or are you partial to any brand of smoker?

"First off. you "Don't mess with Texans! 'Cause we cook a little like this, We use a little Salt, Pepper, Cayenne and garlic, that's all ya need right there, slap it on your meat, fire up the Stumps Smoker, put some Oak in there and away you go! It don't get better that that!"

Stumps Smokers
The Lackey's must be off sleeping while the Stumps is going....

So Stumps is your pick of a smoker? 
"Our all-time favorite pit is a Classic, one of Stumps Smoker's, original competition pits and we LOVE IT! In fact we love it so much we've ordered one of Stump's newest masterpieces .. the Monster!  Stumps Smoker's build a top quality smoker for the avid home BBQ fan as well as competition teams. They truly are a "set and forget" kind of pit being fully insulated and with the best part of all..... a charcoal chute! No messing around once you light that baby. Now we get some beauty sleep! 'Cause you know ...'Stump Don't Build No Junk!'"

Tell me in a nutshell "What does BBQ mean to you?"

"Ultimately BBQ means having a great cook, producing something you can be proud of, hearing your name called last and best of all catching up with friends over a few beers. Where else can you spend tons of money to hang out with your buddies!"

Texas Australia
Who would have seen this coming?  
Anything else you want people to know?

"We are a multicultural team! Michelle is from Australia and I'm from Texas, well yes Texas is a country .. Isn't it? *wink*"

Damn Right it is.    

Mike and Michelle are great folks, and one thing I learned from this interview is that barbecue competitions aren't all about the prize money and winning. They are ways to make new friends, have something fun to do!  

I should also add that Michelle, ten years later, hasn't lost her Aussie accent.  Michelle is open to Australian companies pitching products to her. She'd love to be a spokesperson. 

Connect with them: 

More Great Things from Australia - Beef & Biltong:

A related product you should try is this Great Australian Biltong Online, They ship worldwide and use the best Australian beef for their biltong.  It's the epiphany of what we call beef jerky.  You really are missing out if you haven't tried  it.

You may also remember some time ago I gave you three recipes for Australian beef. If you haven't tried them yet you should. If you want my honest opinion, both of the above "tastes better than ours" due to the fact Australians have different quality standards including grass fed cows versus grain fed. You won't find growth hormones or rushing cows to slaughter like big beef processing plants here.  The beef whether used in brisket, beef flat, bottom round, or to make Biltong just tastes so much better. 

Read all the "What BBQ Means to Me" BBQ interviews here. 

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