Interview with Justin Kyllo

Justin Kyllo has competed in Barbq competitions across Canada and the United States, Justin and his team Smoke and Bones BBQ will be competing at The first annual Cloverdale Cowboy Cook Off in conjunction with the Cloverdale Rodeo on May 20, 2012.

What got you into cooking?

I have always cooked around home. My parents believed you needed to learn basic cooking as a life skill. In 2002 after a bad accident I was forced to stay at home to recover from my injuries. With three young daughters it meant my wife went back to work full time and I became the caregiver. Planning and preparing meals was part of the routine. As always, I was never satisfied with the mundane and I ended up scouring the internet for new ideas, recipes etc. to bring good tasting food to the table. Watching the Food Network became a favourite activity when the kids were off to bed.

When did you enter your first Barbq competition and how did you do?

Our first BBQ competition was in 2007. We thought we did really good, after all we were making good barbecue at the time but we came in the middle of the pack. I tried the winning teams chicken and it was the best chicken I had ever tasted. We obviously had a lot to learn about competing.

How did you become a leader in Barbq competitions?

It takes a lot of practice, a lot of trial and error. Some of the best results have actually come from mistakes. We have won many awards in competition with our chicken, yet our formula for cooking it is was created out of a mistake.

Which Barbq competitions will you be part of this year?

We have been at the Chilliwack Big Red Barn Burner already. We will be at the Cloverdale Cowboy Cook-off, Edmonton Capital Ex. Ribfest, The Canadian National BBQ Championships, Kamloops Ribfest, and the Vancouver Ribfest at the PNE and BBQ On The Bypass  and the American Royal in Kansas City. From there we will see.

What have you learned in the world of Barbq competitions?

Attention to detail and timing are important. It is also important to try and not deviate from a successful recipe because it did not do as well as it normally does over a string of competitions. Fighting the urge to change it up after an unpleasing finish is very difficult.

What is it like competing against your daughter in this Barbq competition at the Cloverdale Rodeo this year?

I cheer her on and take pride in seeing her do well when she does. I think every parent knows that feeling of watching your child accomplish something that makes both you and them proud.

What are some of your favorite foods to grill?

I used to really like grilling steak but now I really like the flavour that you can create with something as simple as a lamb or beef burger. There are some great sausages out there as well that have just so much more to them. We also like to do a lot of planking.

What 5 Ingredients would we find in your Home pantry?

Kosher salt, peppercorns, chilli powder, molasses, honey

When eating out in restaurants what type of food do you like to eat?

Because we are always cooking for others we often end up not wanting to cook for ourselves so we do tend to eat out a fair bit.  Ethnic food gets my pick. Last night we had some Middle Eastern Chicken Shawerma with a rice/lentil pilaff that was so good. I am not sure what the seasoning in the rice but it had a hint of what was reminiscent of cinnamon. It was so good.

Have you ever owned your own restaurant?

Not yet.

What’s Next on your Culinary Journey?

We are working on a very big project that we are very close to being able to talk about. It has been an idea for over two years and hard at work on for over a year. I hope to be able to say something in the next couple of weeks.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My family plays a big part in my life. Without them I don’t have anything. I want to make something I can share with all of them. I also got a second chance at my life. I lost a career and then found another one that makes me happy.

What is your favourite food that you cook at home?

Mexican. I can say that we make some pretty awesome burritos, refried beans and salsa all from scratch

Which 3 wines or beers do you enjoy personally?

I don’t drink but my wife enjoys her red wines. This past October she visited the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley and has nothing but good thing to say about their wines.

If there was one thing you could do as a chef or Bbq champion that you have not already done, what would it be?

Grand Champion at the Jack Daniels World Championship would be my competition goal. The career goal that I want the most is being worked on right now.


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