Team GCC wins big at 2016 Smokin’ Grills Barbecue Competition
Now that Chef Paul Kerner and his top‐notch crew have emerged with trophies in every category at the 2016 Smokin’ Grills Barbecue Competition, it’s clear Team GCC has the recipe for success. Chef Paul came to the competition armed with years of culinary experience with a side of veteran BBQ competitor know‐how. The result was a piping‐ hot, fresh off the grill Grand Champion award, GCC’s second consecutive top trophy in the yearly contest. At UNO, we always have an appetite for gold, so we sat down with the multiple‐award‐winning chef instructor to find out what it takes to be great on the grill.
What made GCC enter the Smokin’ Grills Barbecue Competition?
For me, I have a love for barbecue, but it’s also to show and inspire students to try other cooking methods. It’s great because it gets the students out, and they have a lot of fun learning techniques in barbecue.
How does it feel to be back-to-back grand champions?
It’s surreal. It’s an honor to win the championship again because I always go head to head with some of the big players like Sonny Orsini from Asu, Chef Peter Duenas, Phil from Triple J.
Your team must have been really hungry for success. You won a trophy in every single category (pork, chicken, and beef!).
I give it all I got for the love of this barbecue. We were there to have fun, but I always give it all I got. It’s unreal that we won a trophy in every category.
What was the biggest factor to GCC culinary academy’s success at Smokin’ Grills?
My philosophy for getting the best product to the judges is submitting the minute it comes off the grill. It’s going hot. We do it as a TEAM. If you spell that out: Together Everyone Achieves More. And everybody played a part, even just down to washing utensils and getting things organized.
How long have you been doing BBQ?
All my life—my whole life I’ve been barbecuing. I’ve learned from the lady next door cooking red rice over an open flame, and I would watch and learn from everybody. Every year I’d get more knowledgeable at barbecuing. It’s a never‐ending experience of learning.
What were the ingredients for your different recipes?
For the chicken, I used a Japanese‐Chamorro marination that I fused together. I took miso paste and I made misoyaki with some rice vinegar, brown sugar, sake, mirin, and then I fused it with a mango dinanche. The pork was straightforward. I made a roasted pork char su. For the beef short ribs I did a horseradish mustard with a dry rub, and I slow cooked it for like six hours [total]. I put a little margarine on the ribs until the last four hours, and then I used a Jack Daniel’s molasses mop. The mop is like a marinade. I kept mopping the ribs and dabbing it with the Jack Daniel’s molasses. I put a little vanilla extract and brown sugar in there too.
Which of your recipes is your personal favorite?
It was the chicken because I created that sauce and it was a winner. I enjoyed it, my friends enjoyed it! I talked to another chef and he goes, “Why change it? If it’s winning why change it?”
What’s the secret to good BBQ?
Patience and consistency. And on top of that is to really enjoy the food and have fun cooking.
What cooking fuel do you think creates the best flavor in BBQ?
My favorite right now is caimito wood and cherry. And I love the flavor and smoke of tangantangan.
What is your advice for people who want to get better at BBQ?
Practice, practice, practice. If you’re going to enter a competition, whatever recipe that you want to submit, practice that recipe at home first. That’s most important, you have to practice your dishes. And don’t try to change something at the last minute. A lot of people will change their mind and try something new—don’t do that. Stay with what you practiced.
So what’s the first thing you’re going to cook on the new grills you won?
I was thinking of cooking some flank steak. Or my friend has some binadu.
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