30 Years of History and More to Come
This week is a historic time in the United States as we inaugurate our 46th President. For over 200 years this is done every four years as we begin afresh. Sometimes it is the re-swearing in of a President to continue and some, as in this year, it’s bringing in someone new to the office. But it is historical nonetheless as our country moves through time. Although a young country, the United States has made great strides and impactful changes throughout the world. What this really says is when there is purpose then anything can be possible and achieved.
The NBBQA is also a young association which has made great strides in the history of the outdoor cooking world. 30 years ago, a group of live fire cooks got together to pen the idea of an association which celebrates smoking and grilling of food. Bringing together young and old, experienced and inexperienced, men and women to share ideas, techniques and secrets as we advance the love of outdoor cooking. 30 years of sharing business methods for restaurateurs, sauce/rub creators and cooker/accessory developers. 30 years of encouraging one another which says there is a place for everyone in BBQ, no mater your interests or skill level.
When I first stepped foot into a NBBQA conference I didn’t know anyone. I had heard of several people, like Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone but didn’t know them. As I walked the halls of the hotel we were in, I stood in awe of the welcoming atmosphere which prevailed. People I didn’t know invited me to sit with them for coffee and lunch. BBQ heavyweights included me in conversations, not knowing my experience level or lack thereof. When I cooked with legends during a BBQ Bash, I was given a job of responsibility and they had no idea if I could do it or not. They just welcomed me into the fold.
This one aspect which, for me, is at the core of the NBBQA. Since the first NBBQA conference, newbies to the association as well as to BBQ itself have always been welcomed. It never matters who you are, you are welcome. It doesn’t matter your skill level, you are welcomed. Much like America, the NBBQA is a melting pot of many people, who have one thing in common, BBQ. Then as we get to know each other on the personal level, we find we have much more than just one thing in common.
I remember hearing SCA world champion, Eric Hodson say, “I have no problem sharing with anyone what I did to become world champion.” This is another characteristic which has brought the NBBQA through 30 years of history and will carry us through another. When you attend the conference, one of the most impressive pieces is when, during the auction, major teams, like The Shed, offers to allow you to cook with them. They would share their secrets with everyone who cooks with them. Then they would take these ideas, secrets, and recipes back to their teams in their hometown to win with.
The NBBQA members will also share what they know in the education arena. We have recently begun the Webinar Wednesdays where 6-time World Champion, Mark Lambert, shared with us how to prep a whole hog for your catering gigs. Sterling Smith, Amy Jungk, and Noah Glanville shared their tips on getting products to market. Over 30 years of education opportunities sharing what they know from cooking to communication to business. This will continue as the NBBQA constantly looks for more and more educational opportunities.
Do you have any questions about BBQ? Are you struggling with starting your business? What path of outdoor cooking should you be on when you look at all the different paths there are? Are you just going through stuff, even personal stuff? This is where the NBBQA comes in. In my rolodex (do we still have this) are names and numbers for many NBBQA members I can call at a moment’s notice just to ask questions or just talk. This doesn’t even take into account those I have on my social media I could private message and then receive a word of encouragement. This isn’t to say they would just be “Yes” men or women encouraging me to do whatever. But rather, they would walk through my questions to help me see which path and then offer those words.
For over 30 years, encouragement has been like the third leg of a stool, holding up the NBBQA. This third leg is quiet yet ever present. Through this, friendships are formed with will last a lifetime. This has been the difference between giving it your all and giving up on a dream. This is where the NBBQA continues to thrive as we move into another 30 years.
As we sit through this historical week, take note of the long and impactful history of the NBBQA. If you are a member, then celebrate. If you are not, then join because there is no other organization like the NBBQA.