Coming up on May 9th, the Queen Mary in Long Beach will host the 4th Annual West Coast BBQ Classic. Coming back to Long Beach are the 2014 West Coast BBQ Classic Grand Champions, Jet Coatings Monkey Style. I caught up with the founder of Jet Coatings Monkey Style, Mike Wheeler, last week and asked him a few questions about the upcoming BBQ competition.
Q: How does it feel to be the West Coast BBQ Classic 2014 Grand Champion and know everyone’s gunning for you?
It was truly, absolutely an amazing feeling—something that we really weren’t expecting. You always go out to a competition and kind of think you can win, but you never—–that was our first win so it was something we really didn’t expect. But it was an unbelievable feeling! Since then, its brought a lot of heat on us, a lot of teams come up to us say that now that we’re at the top, they’re worried and look for us to be in the top, so it’s kind of a good feeling.
Q: What’s the name ‘Jet Coatings Monkey Style’ signify?
Jet Coatings is our main headline sponsor and also my employer. We are a manufacturer of cement beautification, cement overlay and waterproofing of deck and balcony materials. It’s a family owned and operated business that’s been in L.A. for over 30 years now. I’m fortunate enough to work with Bob, the owner and he sponsors us, so obviously your sponsors name has to be in there with the Jet Coatings and then my personal nickname is ‘Monkey’ and it has been for a good part of my life, since I’m the head cook and things are basically done in my style, we decided to make the name ‘Jet Coatings Monkey Style’.
Q: What do you think of the Queen Mary as a venue for this event?
It’s absolutely stunning, it is probably one of the most, if not the most beautiful of the venues for an event, with the water, the bay, the harbor and then you get the most gorgeous sunset reflections off of the downtown buildings and the glass from the buildings. It’s truly an absolutely a stunning setting to be on the ocean and enjoy the barbeque!
Q: What’s your favorite meat to cook?
Brisket. Brisket is by far been my best category, I ended up 4th in the state last year for California in brisket. My first competition of the year, starting out this year, at the Guinea Pig, I took 1st place in the brisket categories. Brisket, with the help of using the Snake River Farms brisket, has usually been the number one category for me and my favorite meat for sure.
Q: What’s your favorite meat to eat when you’re cooking competition barbeque?
I really enjoy brisket first with chicken right behind that. I really enjoy the new changes I’ve done, really enjoy the new flavors I’m getting out of my chicken now.
Q: How do expect the competition to be this year?
It’s going to be bigger and better than any previous year. I don’t know how much everyone has been following the competitions but with Santa Anita, the hundred this year, it’s just amazing that the new competition as well as well as the advancements in the quality of the competition that’s come to Southern California, it’s truly amazing. I look for a super hard fight, if I think I’m going to hold the title back again this year.
Q: What is the excitement about in barbeque this year?
The quality of the competition is at Long Beach, the quality of the venue is surely top-notch, one of the best there can be……I’m looking forward to trying to defend the title this year!
The 4th Annual West Coast BBQ Classic will be held this year on May 9 from11am to 6pm at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. The competition is officially sanctioned by both the Kansas City Barbeque society and the California BBQ Association. The Pitmasters will compete for a $10,000 cash prize and the coveted title of West Coast BBQ Pitmaster Champion. General tickets for the event begin at $15.00 online for adults and $5.00 for children aged 4 to 11. VIP tickets start at $30.00 online and include 10 BBQ tasting tickets. The event parking is $13.00. In addition to the barbeque competitors, many teams will be selling samples (via tasting tickets) as well as independent vendors who will be selling barbeque, beer and other items to the guests. For the adults, there will also be several backyard games to play. There will also be live music and several arts and crafts booths at the merchant’s market. For the younger ones, Kids Country will have inflatables, children’s activites and more fun things to do.
4th Annual West Coast BBQ Classic
The Queen Mary Events Park
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802
Tickets and info: http://queenmary.com/events/west-coast-bbq-classic/