Camp uses grilling techniques he learned in Army to land reserve champ in BBQ cookoff

PAXTON — Camp’s BBQ-Crew, headed by Paxton resident Marcus Camp, saw success in Saturday’s fifth annual Paxton Swine ‘N’ Dine BBQ Contest & Festival despite having competed in barbecue cookoffs for only the last four years.

The 34-year-old Camp, a 2001 graduate of Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School, had the best performance of his brief barbecue cookoff career Saturday by winning reserve champion honors. Using the Kansas City Barbecue Society’s points structure, a panel of judges awarded Camp’s BBQ-Crew second place in chicken with a score of 169.7144 and third in ribs with a score of 172.5716.

Like Smokin’ Walders — the team that won grand champion honors — Camp came home with plenty of trophies and cash — $900, to be exact — to show for his talents.

Camp said he and his team competes in four competitions per year — at Paxton, Arthur, Dwight and Effingham — but had never won reserve champ honors until now.

“We’ve won chicken before (in Arthur); we’ve got second in chicken before (in Paxton); and we’ve got fourth in chicken before (in Arthur),” Camp said, “but this is the best overall score and the best ribs score we’ve had.”

Last year at Paxton’s contest, Camp estimated that he won “seventh or eighth overall,” with a ninth-place finish in ribs and second-place finish in chicken.
Camp said he got interested in grilling as a hobby after getting out of the U.S. Army in 2013. It was in the Army that he “picked up a little bit of the barbecue stuff” from some of his friends.

“When I came home, me and my wife moved home, started a family, and I just kind of picked up barbecue in the
back yard — picked up on some stuff I learned in Georgia and South Carolina (where I was stationed on base),” Camp said. “I bought a smoker when we moved back here and just started cooking.”

While in the Army for nine years, Camp served as an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne as well as a drill sergeant at Fort Benning in Georgia. He was deployed to Afghanistan once, Pakistan once and Iraq twice, seeing combat on the front lines. He was also in President George W. Bush’s security team on the president’s Pakistan/India tour in 2006.

In Georgia, he and some of his Army buddies would cook out often.

“We used to hunt wild hogs and boars,” Camp said. “And then we would cook the whole boar, so I kind of picked it up from those guys. We had a guy from Hawaii who taught me a lot, as far as injecting the boar and stuff like that.

“And we used to get goats sometimes (while in Afghanistan). We’d get goats or birds. ... You got to know how to cook. We cooked a lot of good food over an open flame.”

Camp said that now that he is back in Paxton, he tries to “use some of that stuff (he learned) in the ribs and chicken” he enters in barbecue contests.

His key to success at Saturday’s contest was keeping things that had worked in the past consistent, as well as changing things that did not work in the past.

“We kept chicken the same as last year,” he said. “I make cupcake chicken. I’ve got muffin pans with holes drilled in it, and I use pork chicken broth and seasoning. I cook it in the muffin pans, then flip it over to a regular pan, and dip it in the sauce. And I make creole butter that I learned also down South and rub that on it toward the end.

“Ribs, I switched up,” Camp added. “I used my chicken sauce (on the ribs) because we’ve been placing with chicken at different competitions. So we used the chicken sauce (on the ribs), and it worked this time,” Camp said.

Camp also altered the cooking time for his ribs. Usually, Camp said, he will cook his ribs at 225 degrees for six hours, but this time he decided to cook the ribs at 275 degrees so it would be more tender. He thinks that might have helped his score improve from last year.

Camp, who has a 2-year-old son, Myles, and 5-month-old son, Weston, said he and his family host cookouts on most weekends.

“We’ll have some family over,  have some friends over, and do some chicken, some sausages, stuff like that,” Camp said.


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danny12 wrote on October 12, 2016 at 12:10 pm

With a little bit of experience and with a little bit of passion for cooking and talent you eventually get to win prizes like these ones. Some people prefer the stainless steel smoker while other prefer more rudimentary ones. The important is the result because we all live under the impression that it's easy to make a barbecue, in reality, to be successful with that one need to know plenty meat cooking rules.

tajalax wrote on December 26, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Positive site, where did u concoct the data on this posting? I'm satisfied I found it however, sick be returning soon to figure out what extra posts you incorporate. Miami FL - Scott Keever

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