"How We Became to Be"

Our Origin Story

Smokin' In The Dark Championship BBQ Team

Our first competition was in May of 2000 in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, and that would be the only contest that we went to that year. There were many things that we were unprepared for.  Only one of these was the fact we were without any form of “nocturnal illumination” or… we forgot flashlights.

As we had to come up with a team name for that event, the obvious choice was “In The Dark”.  It was simply the best choice of names we could think of since we didn’t have flashlights, warm clothes, and many other necessities.  Luck was on our side fortunately that weekend though as there was a 24 hour Wal-Mart only about 15 miles away.

As fate would have it, we were also lucky enough to be setup next to a very accomplished team, that would have huge impact on the future of our success, Richard and Lynn Kancel of Smokin’ In The Boys Room.  For a couple guys that showed up with not much than an Oklahoma Joe backyard smoker, some pork butts and ribs, and a pack of cards, they were like Google for us for all things KCBS contest related.  After they saw we were only cooking in two categories, they urged us to go get a brisket and chicken, but unfortunately we didn’t have the real estate on our smoker for any other meat.  We ended up getting 4th Place Ribbons in both Pork and Ribs.  Richard and Lynn won 5th Place in Pork and Ribs.  We were flabbergasted, but happier than a pig in mud.  They eventually would go on to be a huge mentor to us and one of our inspirations of what we wanted to strive to be someday.

Our full foray into the competition circuit really began in April of 2001 in Bentonville, Arkansas.  We purchased Eleanor, an experienced (well used) Oklahoma Joe 24″ trailer mounted smoker two weeks prior to this event and spent the next two weeks getting to know her and practicing all four categories for the KCBS sanctioned contest.  We were once again lucky enough to be close to Smokin’ In the Boys Room and we absorbed their wisdom like a big sponge.  After all was said and done, we just felt lucky to get everything finished and turned in on time. Unfortunately for us, we had already starting packing everything up and ended up being late to the award presentations, and wasn’t present when our name was called.  They still gave us the award and check anyway…


We finished that contest with a 1st Place and Perfect Score in the Chicken category as well as the slightly modified team name “Smokin’ In The Dark“. 

The hook was set and there was no turning back…


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