Meet the BBQ Pro – Alan Bowman

NAME: Alan Bowman

 

TEAM NAME:  I started cooking at Canadian Bakin’ as an homage to my Canadian roots and to my Ontario born wife.  In 2014, the boys at Code 3 Spices (team name Smokin’ Sirens) and I combined to form the Code 3 Spices BBQ Team

 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH BBQ:  about 3 Years

 

WHO DO YOU COOK WITH, HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON YOUR TEAM:  We have 4 to 6 team members, depending on the size of the competition.  Each person cooks 1 of the 4 basic meats…chicken, ribs, pork and brisket.

 

HOW MANY COMPETITIONS HAVE YOU COOKED IN: I’ve cooked in around 30 competitions

 

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN BBQ:  To my family, anything with bbq sauce on it was ‘bbq’.  Mostly, this meant hamburgers, hot dogs and the occasional pork steak.  I ate at Super Smokers one day and marveled at the tender, juicy, smoky ribs.  I did some research and learned what I called bbq was really….at best…grilling.  During my research I stumbled upon a TV show called BBQ Pitmasters which opened my eyes to the world of competition bbq.  It looked pretty simple so I signed up for a local backyard competition and have been hooked every since.

 

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT YOUR FIRST COMPETITION:  My wife and I cooked the World Pork Steak Championship at Schlafly Bottleworks.  We had 1 weber grill, an EZ Up and about 10 plastic grocery store bags to carry our various ‘bbq’ items.  I was extremely nervous!!!  Playing in sports my whole life I’m very competitive and didn’t want to make a fool of myself.  I expected the other teams to be secretive and look at us like we were ‘outsiders’.  People could see we had no idea what we were doing and upon our arrival came to our aid setting up the canopy and loading/unloading our vehicle.  The team next to us even shared their breakfast with us!  Despite the competitive nature of bbq events, this generosity continues to this day with most teams the the competition bbq world.  We finished 5th in appetizers and middle of the pack in pork steaks….and had a GREAT time!

 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR NEW COOKS:  

1 . Don’t over-smoke.  Start light with your wood and build up from there.  Nothing kills the flavor of your meat faster than the harsh taste of creosote.

  1.  Practice.  Allen Iverson was wrong, practice just like you are at a comp.  At home, take everything you think you need outside and make a list of everything you brought out.  If you need to go back inside for something, add it to the list.  Do an entire cook just like you were on a comp site.  If you don’t use something, take it back inside and cross it off the list.  In the end, whatever you have on your final list is what you take to your next comp.
  2.  As you can see, I’m a fan of lists.  List out step-by-step instructions from prep to cooking to boxing.   Make a list of items you need to take to the comp.  Follow your lists and everything will work out fine.
  3.  Above all, have fun!  Share in fellowship with the teams around you.  We can’t all win every time but we can have fun every time!

 

WHAT IS YOUR COOKING STYLE AND COOKER OF CHOICE:  I cook medium fast between 270 and 300.  I think this is a good cross between grilling and smoking, giving me the best of both methods.  We cook on what is known as the St. Louis Set-up….a Rebel 17 and a Gateway Drum Smoker, both regulated with Pitmaster IQ 120’s.

 

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET WEAPON AT A COMPETITION:  Code 3 Spices !!

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COMPETITION MEAT? WHAT POINTERS DO YOU HAVE FOR COOKING IT:  I love cooking pork because it gives me the most flexibility to be creative especially with my boxing.  Pulled, chopped, chunks, plugs, money muscle…all can be presented in any number of ways.

Tip:  Whether I’m cooking at home or in competition, I always inject my pork with a mixture containing apple juice.  Injections get deep into the pork butt where rubs cannot penetrate.  And of course, apples and pork go well together.

 

FAVORITE ST. LOUIS BBQ SOCIETY EVENT:  Ironically, The Wildwood BBQ Bash is both my favorite and least favorite event.  I LOVE the challenge of cooking 8 categories over a 2 day period.  But,  the stress of vending and the week of prep work it takes to get ready for the event makes it quite difficult.

 

BBQ ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF:  I’ve won 3 GC’s, one using only a single 18.5 WSM for all 4 meats, I won the STL version of the Travel Channel show American Grilled and Ive been to the American Royal twice.   But I have two that far and away blow away any of my other accomplishments.  I had tears in my eyes both times…

  1. My wife getting a perfect-perfect score in Dessert at the 2014 Bash.  We were just hoping for a top 50% and she showed us all how dessert is supposed to be made
  2. My daughter winning her first ever Kids-Q at Jakey in June in 2013 at the age of 6.  She did all the prep work all the cooking and made me one proud Daddy that day

 

WHAT DOES YOUR BBQ FUTURE HOLD:  From a team perspective, we hope to build on our success.  This year our goal is to win at least one GC, win Bash and get a call at The American Royal.  Personally, I hope to utilize my recent TV appearance to gain a foothold in the bbq community.

 

HOW DO WE GET A HOLD OF YOU:

Twitter: @CABAkin and @code3spices

Facebook:  Code 3 Spices – www.code3spices.com

Website:  http://www.code3spices.com/

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