Big Creek BBQ has been competing for nearly six years, although Chief Cook Jeff Stith has been cooking barbeque for close to 20 years. Jeff visited friends from a forum at which he spends a lot of time (www.bbq-brethren.com) who were competing at an event and he was instantly hooked on barbeque competitions. Big Creek's first contest was the American Royal in 2005 where they finished 400th out of 475 teams. Two weeks later, they finished middle of the pack in a 30 team event. In 2006, Big Creek BBQ took big steps forward. Highlights included a first place in chicken in an 76 team event, first place in brisket in a 35 team event and a 2nd place in pork in a 35 team event. In eleven competitions in 2006, our first full season, Big Creek BBQ had five top ten overall finishes. Since then, various category championships, a reserve grand championship and a grand championship (cooking as Sloppy Creek BBQ) have highlighted our history up until 2010 when we found ourselves in the hunt for the national Team of the Year! Big Creek finished 5th overall out of 5,275 teams, winning six Grand Championships and four Reserve Grand Championships.
Jeff is a lifelong Missouri resident and besides barbeque, he enjoys fishing, genealogy and sports. He has served on the local Park Board for the past four years where he is currently President. Jeff's wife Tammy is the other central figure on the team. Tammy is responsible for our ribs category, builds the turn-in boxes and runs boxes to turn in entries. She also supervises our daughter in her Kids Q competitions. Her favorite part of competitions, however, is the time around 4 AM when it's still dark and quiet. Tammy wakes up and puts on a 42 cup pot of coffee to share with all of Big Creek's neighbors and friends who stop by for a visit and a cup of hot coffee before the work and stress really get going. Tammy is originally from southwest Michigan and has lived in Missouri for over 12 years. Big Creek was also joined by Stan Hays, also of Pleasant Hill, Missouri through 209. Stan is a long-time home barbequer who jumped right in and has provided a great assistance to Big Creek BBQ since he joined us in 2007. Stan cooked a championship brisket at Garden City, Missouri in 2007. In 2011, Stan and his wife, Amy, embark upon a new adventure as they branch off and start their own competition barbecue team, County Line Smokers.
Jeff and Tammy's nine year old daughter Taylor is herself an accomplished, award-winning cook. Taylor has competed in numerous Kids Q events and has three grand championships to show for her efforts. In 2006, she was the Kids Q Grand Champion for the 5 to 10 year olds at the Hillbilly BBQ Cook-Off in Laurie, Missouri. In 2007, she repeated that feat by winning the grand championship at the Missouri Barbeque and Blues Festival in Sedalia, Missouri, followed by Grand Champion at the 2008 Johnson County Fair BBQ Contest in Warrensburg, Missouri. In 2009, she repeated as Kids Q Champion at Sedalia, Missouri, taking first in both categories. Another highlight for Taylor was finishing third overall out of 42 kids at the Great American BBQ in Kansas City, Kansas during the 2008 season.
Big Creek BBQ is involved in barbecue in several other ways. Jeff and Tammy are Certified BBQ Judges. Jeff is an organizer for the Smokin' on Big Creek BBQ Contest for the United Way in Pleasant Hill. In the fall of 2009, Jeff made a run for the KCBS Board of Directors, falling just 50 votes short of a seat in the January, 2010 election. Big Creek BBQ does limited catering and have donated their barbecue talents to various local charities and organizations such as the "Sharing of the Green" Lay Clergy Council fundraiser and various Pleasant Hill High School organizations.
The Stiths compete on the KCBS barbeque circuit together as a family and enjoy the many great people they have gotten to know over the past six years. "We have many friends in barbeque that we've known a relatively short amount of time but yet they're as good of friends as we have anywhere. We feel like we've known many of them forever," says Jeff. "I think we'd be lost without barbeque competitions. There are some really great people out here."