Fans of all things barbecue come out for “Smoke, Wind & Fire”

Although Lindenbach is only in his first year of professional competition, he already has his KCBS certification. He says it’s a great way to find out exactly how each piece of meat is branded and to stay humble.

“You can try all kinds of delicious food that we obviously cook as competitors, but I just got there from a judge [perspective] to see what I’m up to at the end of the day,” says Lindenbach. “So I like competing more because I’m competitive, but I also like judging, because I can stay humble, try other people’s stuff and pick things up from the judges’ side.”

The barbecue community itself is one of the main reasons fellow countryman Darryl Mattern has continued to compete for the past three years. He says no matter the outcome, he always has fun at the competitions.

“It’s like a big barbecue family,” Mattern said. “You can enter any [team’s] try and ask for anything, but when it comes to competition, we take it seriously. It’s all for one and one for all. There are no winners or losers at barbecue as long as you have fun.

For Mattern, barbecue is something that once you try it, you won’t be able to stop.

“It’s so much fun and once you’ve made one you’re hooked forever because it’s amazing, and you have to go out and enjoy it,” Mattern explained. “Nothing like a summer day with friends and family enjoying a barbecue.”

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Edward L. Robinett