We are just 2 days away from the inaugural Rocky Mountain Freedom Festival to be held in Castle Rock CO. I thought I would feature a team from Castle Rock as we head into the event. Therefore go under the tent with Tyler Lewis of Smok’n Louie BBQ
I am confused (It does not take much)…Why do you call yourself Smok’n Louie if your name is Tyler? How did you come up with that name? Who is all on your team?
When I played football back in grade school, I had a coach that started calling me Louie because my last name is Lewis. The nickname kind of stuck with me all the way through school and I thought I would resurrect it in my BBQ team name. I answer to both which is useful because many people in the BBQ circuit think my name is Louie.
Team members include but are not limited to My wife Rebecca, my folks Jay and Karen, my sister Lindsey, and my neighbors Jim and Dawn and their son Alex. This hobby would not be possible without the support of my family and friends.
What do you like to do when you’re not BBQ’n?
I enjoy spending time with my wife, married 3 years this summer, and our two dogs Cash and Nugget. I also enjoy movies a lot, I think that I own somewhere around 1000 movies. My favorite genre is comedy, some of my favorite movies of all time are “Blazing Saddles,” “The Hangover,” and “The Dark Knight.” I even convinced my wonderful wife to let me put a movie theater in our basement. I am also really into college football if you can’t tell by the look of my team shirts ‘Hook’em Horns.’
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 have three Traeger Lil Tex smokers that I use for competition. I also have a big Traeger on my patio. I am a little indecisive on what temperature all of my competition meats should be cooked at and I really enjoy having the flexibility of different flavors of wood to use on the different meats. The one gadget that you will never see me cooking without is my Orange Thermapen, I love that thing.
What BBQ accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
I don’t know that I have any “accomplishments” as of yet in my short career in BBQ. But if forced to decide I would have to say I am very proud of the way this season has started out for us. After finishing in the middle of the pack in every contest we did last year, We have had two top ten finishes in the two RMBBQA contest we have competed in this year. I am very excited to see what the future has in store for us.
What BBQ contest is your favorite and why?
I would have to say Smokin’ Red Dirt in Enid, OK has been my favorite contest. It was great to cook there against some of the biggest names in KCBS and get a chance to see how I stacked up against them. But to be honest, I know when I get to a comp, there are going to be a lot of great people and some cold libations so every contest is a great contest.
Do you have any BBQ goals for 2011, if so what are they?
I would love to win a GC, but to be more realistic I would just like to figure out how to cook a brisket that the judges would like. If my brisket would be more consistent, maybe a two or three contest streak of top tens in brisket would be nice.
Who or what has influenced how you BBQ the most and how have they influenced you specifically?
My dad, he taught me alot of what I know now. We cook everything outside and every time we are together we always come up with some reason to fire up the smoker or grill to fix something for dinner. Since I have started competing, my source for influence has grown dramatically. I have taken things I have read from many books and online and I try to use what I think will work. The most useful book I have in my collection is “Smoke and Spice.” Although books are good, the most helpful thing that I have done for my BBQ is taking the 4 Legs Up BBQ 101 class from Kelly Wertz. It was a great class that I would recommend to anyone regardless of experience level.
What is one thing you learned through the school of hard knocks that wish you knew when you first got started?
Bring something with you to secure your ez-up to a parking lot in Western Kansas (Thanks Don). I showed up at my first contest last year with two brand new pop ups and didn’t really think about wind being a factor. We had a hell of a time until our neighbor came over to give us a hand.
Also take a class and learn from someone that has already gotten it figured out, they won’t tell you everything, but you will sure learn a thing or two.
What is your favorite BBQ restaurant? What do you like to get there?
It is a tie Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX, the best sausage on the planet and Dyers Bar-B-Que in Pampa, TX, I love their family style all the meat and fixin’s keep coming out until you say stop.
If you could only BBQ or eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
Pulled pork, it is so versatile, everything taste a little better with a little pulled pork on top. My favorite thing to have pulled pork on is nachos, I also love a good pulled pork sandwich with some Hog Wild Vinegar sauce. Both of those are a little piece of heaven in your mouth as far as I am concerned.
Wildcard is there anything you would like the readers to know about you, your team or BBQ in general that was not asked?
I am going to take this space to thank my parents for their help and support getting my team started, none of this would be possible without them. I also want to thank all of my neighbors for suffering through all of the trial runs of different recipes, I always know they will help me dispose of the leftovers. And a special thanks to my wife, she has been a great in supporting this hobby of mine.