Moody Ques seek sponsor for 2016

Has your company or organization wanted to get involved in BBQ Fest, but weren’t quite sure how? The Moody Ques are seeking a sponsor for 2016.

Moody Ques 2016 Sponsor Packet

We are a well-established team that draws a lot of media coverage due to our four consecutive third or better places in Best Booth (including two first places). Your company’s logo would be integrated into the booth design to maximize publicity. We have always been known for throwing a great party, but this year we are determined to make our championship meat as well-talked-about as our booth. To that end, we have purchased a new cooker, and cooked for two fundraisers for the Memphis Farmers Market. Out pitmaster, team president, and team vice-president attended BBQ judging school in November. We did a practice cook and presentation this month and got feedback from three highly-experienced BBQ Fest judges, and we plan on entering two regional cooking contests in April.

We are not just looking for someone to write us a check and have people show up at the booth in May. We are looking for an organization that truly wants to be part of the team. The Moody Ques have suggested sponsor packages in the sponsor packet linked above, but let us emphasize: We are completely flexible and will work with you to create the best possible experience for you.

If you would like a hard copy of the sponsor packet, email and we will get one to you.

Practice presentation with three experienced, MBN-certified judges

The Moody Ques would like to extend our thanks to Frank Chin, Chuck Averwater, and Tom Conlee, three highly experienced Memphis Barbecue Network-certified judges. This past fall, the Moody Ques planned to compete in two regional events. However, both got canceled. One of our team members lamented that it was a shame; we could do practice cooks every weekend from here until BBQ Fest, but without feedback from actual judges, we had no idea if we were doing the right things to improve. Frank Chin heard about our predicament, and reached out to us. He told us that he judges, and he could get a couple of other judges together and we could walk through a simulated BBQ Fest presentation.

Pitmaster Frank Howell and cook team Clay Thompson and Erik Karlsson assembled at Frank’s house Saturday, January 9 and began preparing two competition shoulders. This would be the ultimate test of our new cooker: Temperatures were seasonable when the shoulders went on, but outdoor temps were to drop into the 30s and even the 20s by the time the judges were to arrive. Could the new smoker withstand the cold?

Indeed it could, and the shoulders were ready to eat when the judges arrived at Frank’s house at 10:30 Sunday, January 10.

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The judges were very gracious and willing to share what they knew, and stayed for two hours giving our cooks plenty of helpful advice and tips, lots of insider information on exactly what a BBQ Fest shoulder judge would want to see and hear.

“We’re going to give you plenty of pointers on what to change in your presentation, and in the look of the shoulders you present,” the judges said. “But we want you to know, the flavor of your product is right there. You have got the taste right. You are going to be able to compete. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Keep entering regionals. Keep having practice cooks. Keep tweaking your product. Keep getting familiar with your cooker. You do those things, and we predict that in about three years’ time, you are going to be one of the big dogs at Tom Lee Park.”

Of course, we brought the judges over for constructive criticism. We wanted to hear what we were doing wrong, and the judges were brutally honest. Since this is a public forum, we won’t go into specifics on here, although the cook team will discuss what was suggested at the next full team meeting. We were told that there were certain things in our presentation that judges absolutely do not want to hear, and we will be eliminating those in the future. We were told there were things we briefly touched on that judges would be interested in hearing more about. We were given insider secrets on how to get the bark that perfect color that gets a judge’s “10.”

Of all the steps the cook team has taken in the offseason to improve, this has been the most important. We cannot thank Frank, Chuck, and Tom enough for taking time out of their schedule to help us. We appreciate it very much.

We are tentatively planning a meet & greet for next month, so check back. In the meantime, here’s a photo gallery of the food preparation for the practice judging.


Plans for the spring

The cooks had a meeting on Saturday, January 2 to organize events for the spring leading up to the main event in May. Here’s the latest news about the team.

Next weekend the cook team will host three certified BBQ judges in a private event. They will prepare our championship shoulder for judges Frank Chin, Tom Conlee, and Chuck Averwater. It will be a simulation of BBQ Fest, with blind boxes, presentation, everything we would do for the actual BBQ Fest judges in May. Frank Chin and his team will give us feedback on what we’re doing right and what we need to do to improve. These guys are experienced judges, they have trained other judges, and are involved in Memphis Barbecue Network. Their comments should be most valuable.

The weekend of Saturday, April 1-2, the team will compete in the Atoka BBQ Fest at Nancy Lee Park in Atoka, TN. We are determined to get a couple of regionals under our belt before we return to Tom Lee Park, and this looked like a good one.

On April 22 and 23, we will be a part of the BBQ competition at Southaven Springfest in Snowden Grove Park in Southaven, MS. This is a festival that has been around for many years and the Moody Ques are excited to get to compete in it. With only a few weeks before BBQ Fest, this should be an excellent final tune-up for the cooks.

We plan to have a team meet & greet Saturday, February 13. The location is yet to be determined, so stay tuned for updates.

If any of you know a company that would be interested in sponsoring a BBQ team, please let us know at We have a lot we can do for a presenting sponsor who would like to fund us in the $10K range. We are currently putting together a sponsorship packet that we can get out to prospective sponsors as early as this week.

The dues for this year will be $350 individual/$500 couple. You must be a legitimate, established real-life couple to join at the couple rate.

We will have more information on the meet & greet in the coming weeks. 2016 is going to be a good year for the Moody Ques!


Moody Ques now have three trained BBQ Fest judges on the cookteam

Yesterday pitmaster Frank, team president Clay, and team vice-president Erik attended the official BBQ Fest judging school at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Memphis. All three passed the final exam and are now trained judges!

None of the three plan on actually judging, but the information provided was valuable nonetheless. The team received plenty of information on what judges look for when they come to BBQ team booths: The bark, the texture of the meat, the presentation. The Moody Ques finished less than 7% apart in score from the first-place shoulder team in 2015, and we now have lots of valuable information to narrow that gap.

Next up is a very important practice cook. On Sunday, December 20, the team will cook for Frank Chin. You may recognize that name as the photographer who does great event coverage for the Memphis Flyer and other publications. Frank Chin is also a certified Memphis in May judge. He and another certified, experienced judge have offered to attend a practice cook on the 20th, going through the presentation as if it were official BBQ Fest judging. We will receive feedback on what we did well and what we need to improve.

Here are some photos from the judging seminar.

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