Jim and Jan Burg of Killer B’s BBQ have been amongst the top teams in the nation the last three seasons finishing 44th (2012), 3rd (2013), and 9th (2014) in the Kansas City Barbecue Society’s Team of the Year Points race. When I heard back in late autumn of last year that they were going to be holding a class in Evans, Georgia, about two hours from where I live, I knew I had to attend. Not only are they a great team, but the cook on the same type of smoker that I will be using this season, a Deep South gravity fed cooker, which meant that I’d be ahead of the game with timelines and meat placement before my cooker is even done in two weeks.
Arriving at the class location, A B Beverage’s Evans location, there was an immediate buzz evident and Jim and quite of a few of the people attending the class were gathered around three Deep South smokers getting an early start on the class. Upon entering the actual class room, it was quickly apparent how excited people were: as every seat was filled and pens and notebooks were at the ready for Jim to dispense his vast knowledge of all things barbecue Jim was on a raised platform with three work tables and most importantly a well placed camera with a live video feed to a large screen at the front of the room. The classroom itself was large and accommodating with convenient bathrooms and snacks and drinks including Jan’s famous pimento cheese! I never felt cramped even though there was a full house for the class.
Jim began promptly at noon and covered all the basics of how he trims his meat and covered some other aspects of his recipes as well. There were a few well placed breaks that allowed us plenty of time to gather our thoughts and mingle with our friends and classmates. Having covered all the necessary material to get us ready for the actual cook, dinner was around six and was a low country boil. The night didn’t end there as quite a few of us headed over to Big Daddy’s Bar and Grill, one of Jim’s sponsors and longtime friend. As competitive as we competition bbqers can be it is still all (mostly?) about the camaraderie isn’t it?
Saturday morning started early and covered the cooking and finishing process and everybody’s favorite moment, eating some great ‘que, came as Jim and Jan enacted KCBS turn-ins in real-time. Jim had on hand a master judge, Mitchell Bedwell, to give feedback on each entry and let’s just say that it was in line with Jim’s rankings the past few years! Everyone received a sample or three of each category and it didn’t disappoint. The flavors Jim utilizes melded together to create an amazing blend on each piece of meat.
After “turn-ins” Jim and Jan did a recap of the class material and then answered every single question people had…some more than once! Most people stuck around for a few minutes to talk to and thank Jim and hang out before embarking to their various destinations, goody bag in hand, ready to fire up their cookers. It was great to not only get some top notch material, but to meet some great teams from all over the southeast.
This was the second full coverage, tell-all KCBS class I’ve taken and it ranks right up there with the first, Rod Gray’s Pellet Envy class that is offered a few times a year and hopefully in Georgia again later this year. Both Jim and Rod provide not only recipes and techniques, but an overall approach to competition barbecue that is needed to be consistent and successful. Take the techniques and recipes out of the equation and it would still be worth attending either of these classes due to the mindset they teach. Throw those back into the mix and its a no brainer to take either of these classes. Thanks Jim and Jan for a great time and I can’t wait to fire up my Deep South smoker when its done in about two weeks and start tuning up for what I hope is a great season of competition barbecue.