JD BBQ Like a Local: Lynchburg vet and team compete at The Jack

Barking Pig BBQ competed in the 2018 Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Shade Tree Division as well. This year’s competition will make their third straight year. {Photo Provided}

It’s no secret that tiny Lynchburg will swell by around 40,000 visitors and nearly 150 barbecue teams this Saturday, but a couple of these teams don’t have too far to travel. Both Black Label Smokers and the Swine Time Boys from Lynchburg and Barking Pig BBQ from nearby Shebyville will most compete in the Shade Tree division.

One of the Barking Pig BBQ team members is Lynchburg Veterinary Hospital’s own Dr. Bryant Morton. He cooks with Tripp Kingree, Mike Fisher, and Brad Cleek. All of them currently live in the Flat Creek community and all are current or past members of the Flat Creek Volunteer Fire Department (FCVFD).

Dr. Morton says the crew’s been barbecuing for fun for around 10-15 years but decided to enter there first official competition in the 2017 Shade Tree Division of The Jack. Their ultimate goal is to qualify for The Jack as an invitational team for the World Championship.

“As Ryan Shupe would say, ‘If you’re gonna dream, dream big,'” jokes Dr. Morton. “We have competed five times in KCBS amateur events so far this year and have enjoyed successes and have become much more competitive in the last two years. We won a nonprofit event earlier this year in Shelbyvile at the annual Moose Lodge BBQ contest.”

The group also puts their smoking skills to good use with worthy causes. In September, the team and other members of FCVFD cooked 120 butts at their annual fund raiser. It was their largest and most successful event to date, says Dr. Morton.

Practice makes perfect

The Jack is serious business, even the Shade Tree Division, and Dr. Morton and his crew have been working hard leading up to the event.

“We have been ‘practice cooking’ a lot to get all of our times and recipes finalized for The Jack over the last couple of weeks. We attended a KCBS contest in Scottsborro, Ala. on October 12 just to ‘practice’ for the rib and chicken categories at The Jack,” Dr. Morton says. “Our last competition was in June so it was nice to get back in competition mode and work the kinks out. We were fortunate to win the People’s Choice  meat category there with BBQ butt served with Wendy’s (Dr. Morton’s wife) Signature Squealin’ Sauce.”

Barking Pig BBQ will cook in it’s third straight Shade Tree division competition at The Jack on Saturday. They finished with a third place call in ribs last year and eleventh overall out of 42 teams from nine different states. Dr. Morton says their overall goal this year is to finish in the top ten out of the 42 participating teams.

When asked what he loves about the art of barbecue he gets nostalgic.

“To me cooking barbecue is more of an homage to an American past time that I hold near and dear to my heart. As a young boy, I can remember eating with my father in some of the best barbecue joints in Eastern, NC (what I still refer to as the barbecue mecca of the world). The smell of smoked hickory or oak cooking whole hogs over cinder block pits in rural towns and small communities is something I will never forget,” he says. “I never ever thought though that as much as I liked to cook and eat barbecue that I would ever seriously consider competing in barbecue competitions. There is something almost sacred to me about cooking barbecue and I have a deep admiration and respect for anyone who takes the time and  makes the effort to make this type of good old fashioned soul food.”•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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