02 Jun Under The Tent with CHIBI-Q
Today we go under the tent with Michael St. Cyr from CHIBI-Q in Ft. Collins CO – You can follow CHIBI-Q on facebook by liking his team
What in the world does Chibi-Q mean? How did you come up with that name? Who is all on your team?
Long story hopefully I can shorten. When I started at my job (Sams Club) a long time ago there was a guy I worked with that always watched the Discovery network. He came in to work after I was working there only 2 days and told me about the show he had watched on Discovery the night before. It was about some ducks that had been in Korea and for some reason it was a big deal. These ducks were followed by a camera crew for a long time, through mating season and hatching new ducklings. Well the Koreans named each duckling and there was always the runt of the bunch that was always just following the rest of the pack doing what they do not really knowing what was going on.They called this runt the CHIBI. (Korean slang term for runt) Well the guy that watched the show called me CHIBI because I was like the runt duckling on the show, always following what everyone else does and not really going on my own. It has stuck to this day, 20 years later and still people call me CHIBI at work. So when I entered my first comp I of course needed a name and time was running out on entering the comp and I had no clue as to what to call our team, my wife said lets use CHIBI-Q. We were a new team not having a clue as to what is going on in the BBQ world of comps, we were just following everyone else. I was going to change the name after the first comp but after I heard it called in brisket that first comp – I liked it.
My team is myself,Michael (CHIBI),wife Jennifer,son Mathew(6),daughter Courtney(8). The kids really love to go to the comps and see all their friends. I think they get more excited when it is comp time than myself.
At a couple comps I do have more help. My Mother Jean, Mickey Weirich, Gary Harper all come to help and support me .
What do you like to do when you’re not BBQ’n?
When I am not BBQ’n I like to work in the garden. I love to make jams and jellys. I have a pepper jelly that has become a big hit among the bbq teams. I also like to make salsa and pickles. I am a shadetree welder. I love to make different things out of metal. Smokers are a large part my welding. I always want to try new things with the designs. I Would like to make a business out of it someday. Hang out with the family.
Tell us a little about your equipment – what kind of smoker do you use? What is your favorite “gadget” item you like to use when BBQing?
I use a homemade Stumps,Superior Clone. I used ideas from both makers of smokers to come up with my own concept. I have built 2 of them “big blue” and” little red” . Big blue sits at home and I use Little Red for comps. In case you do not know the concept they are a gravity feed system. The charcoal and wood chunks go into a chute and fire is at the bottom. As the charcoal burns it feeds itself. The whole area is sealed airtight so the fire only gets so big. the cabinet is fully insulated it keeps temps fairly consistent. The benefit is that no matter what the outside temp is the smoker is set it holds temps real well. I also use a Traeger pellet smoker. I use that for chicken as I like the higher temps I can get with it and it also comes in handy for heating up breakfast torte in the mornings.
My favorite gadget has to be the BBQ Guru. The Guru controls the airflow into “little red” keeps the temp very steady which I really like to see.
Also love my new knife sharpener the “Warthog”. It sharpens quick and easy.
What BBQ accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
I feel my best accomplishment to date is from last year. At the Canon City comp I finished 3rd overall. .0002 of a point behind Johnny Trigg of Smokin Triggers, the Grandfather of BBQ.
I got to spend the weekend next to him and had a great time.
You successfully ran for the RMBBQA board last year what inspired you to run and what do you hope to accomplish as a board member?
I have never been involved in anything like a BOD before so when a couple members of the past BOD approached me with the idea I thought why not. At the time I was unsure about how the whole thing worked. Now I am in it I have a new perspective. I enjoy working with the other BOD members to make the RMBBQA a better organization.
As a member of RMBBQA for the past 3 years, I have seen some good as well as not so good things. I see the RMBBQA strive to be an organization of integrity. The RMBBQA is often looked upon by other BBQ groups as an example to follow. As an organization, we need to strive to keep the integrity of the organization and the example it has become. We need to continue to work with competition organizers to make competitions better for ALL involved from the volunteers to the cooks to the public enjoying our food!. We also need to look for new programs that will assist new teams or judges in their ventures.This all making RMBBQA an organization looked upon as a role model.
What BBQ contest is your favorite and why?
I really like all comps. It is real hard to pick just one as a favorite. I have to say that Loveland Loves BBQ would have to be my pick. That was my first ever contest that I did back in 2007. I got placed between 2 great and helpful teams, Smoke-n-the Rockies and Lizzy-Q. They were insturmental in my continuing to compete, that is why Loveland is my favorite. It always brings back the roots of my competing and reminds me how much my bbq friends mean to me.
Do you have any BBQ goals for 2011, if so what are they?
What are any teams goals? Grand Champ of course. I have been so close so many times. Really I just want to do the best I can,cook the best food I can and have fun doing it, that is my biggest goal.
Who or what has influenced how you BBQ the most and how have they influcenced you specifically.
A few years back I thought cooking good ribs was boiling them first and high heat on the grill with tons of sauce. Then I finally went to a real bbq joint that used a smoker. low and slow was there way. I was intrigued and amazed at how different the food was. So I started asking alot of questions and reading alot of books and blogs on the internet. When that bbq joint closed down I knew it was time for me to start making my own bbq. I learned a lot also by spending time with other teams and listening to what they say about things.
What is one thing you learned through the school of hard knocks that wish you knew when you first got started?
White smoke is not a good thing. More smoke does not mean better food. So I guess that amounts to good fire management. Controlling the heat of the fire to get the “sweet Blue”.
What is your favorite BBQ restuarant? What do you like to get there?
Ever since I have started to cook my own bbq I really do not go to BBQ resturants. I have tried a couple around the area to see what there flavors are but do not usally go back. I am partial to my own chicken and ribs. I can control the taste to my likeing be it sweet for the day or spicy.
If you could only BBQ or eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
If I could only only eat one thing it would have to be seafood. I love all kinds of seafood but would also have to be fresh. Not frozen, once you freeze seafood I feel it loses its natural goodness.
Wildcard is there anything you would like the readers to know about you, your team or BBQ in general that was not asked?
I will use this space to thank my family for being so supportive of my hobby. They have endoured my trial cooking, smoker buildings,trailer modifying,cold rainy days,steamy hot days,no sleeping nights…… I could go on and on. they have been there for the good and the bad. Without my family there is no CHIBI-Q.