High school BBQ competitions growing in popularity

No matter how you cut it there are several ways to cook barbecue. 

Some say it’s the rub. Others claim it’s the type of wood. But the key to success for one team from Temple High School is the heat according to their mentor, Joe Medrano.

"When you learn to manage fire and learn to manage temperatures on a pit, that's where the real magic happens," said Medrano.

Medrano is Chief Investigator for the Bell County Attorney's Office and is also known for his work on the grill. That’s why the high school Culinary Arts Director, Margaret Fyffe, wanted him to mentor the Temple Pitmasters, Temple High's new barbecue competition team.

"And I say, well, heck yeah, I've been waiting for someone to call me back," said Medrano.

Team members are Reece Medrano, Jordan Magana, Anthony Rangel, Erandy Perez, and Will Hardin. The team has spent the past several months learning how to cook beyond a microwave.

"Well, I think it's a lost art," said Medrano.

They now know how to select the meat. Prep the cuts and control the cooking temperature. Medrano’s wife, Allison and Corey Mikes have provided help with the team. Several donations from the community have also come in.  Their first competition is set for early December.

"So what's difficult going to be for me is I've got to be outside a barrier, so I'm able to instruct them, but I cannot be in that barrier. They have to do everything from lighting the pit to seasoning to I mean, everything. So that's going to be hard for me, but it's going to be fun," said Medrano.

Medrano believes there a few Pit Masters on the team and more will follow as the competitions grow in popularity.

"Just to see the smile on their face when they pull up in my driveway ready to learn. I mean, that's what keeps it going. That's what keeps me going. And that I think barbecue is a great outlet. It's a great thing for the high schools to be involved with," said Medrano.

The Temple team is part of the National High School BBQ Association. That organization had its world championships this past weekend. 

A team from Navarro High School in North Austin won 3rd place in the Brisket category. FOX 7 Austin contacted the team and coach, but they were not available Monday to talk about the win.