Big T'z Q Cru Championship BBQ Team is a competitive barbeque team headquartered in Ames, Iowa. Featuring Ryan and Sonya Newstrom, Big T'z uses competitions to bring family and friends from all over the region to help out, enjoy delicious barbeque, and celebrate the team's success.
No doubt anyone attending one of their competitions can attest, Big T'z Q Cru livens up awards ceremonies with their exuberant cheering section--namely , the team's head cheerleader, Ryan's Mom--anytime the team's name is called for an award.
Many people who have never been to a BBQ competition wonder what it is all about. Big T'z Q Cru proudly competes in championships sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). Contests sanctioned by KCBS generally have the same format. That is, every team will turn-in barbeque chicken, pork ribs, pork (pulled pork), and beef brisket.
Teams typically begin cooking the Friday night before and cook all through the night preparing for turn-ins beginning at noon on Saturday. Most of the time chicken will be turned in first at noon, ribs at 12:30, pork at 1:00, and brisket at 1:30. Some competitions have auxiliary categories such as dessert that will be turned-in after the main four categories. Each entry is included in a 9x9 Styrofoam clamshell box. All KCBS contests are judged double-blind meaning the judges have no idea what teams entry they are sampling, and the teams have no idea what judge is sampling their entry.
Judges provide numerical scores from 1 to 9 (9 being the best) on three categories: Appearance, Taste, and Tenderness. Scores are tallied and the teams are ranked based on their scores in each category. The overall score is the cumulative score for the four categories. The Grand Champion of a contest is team with the highest overall score. Teams are generally given awards for placing well in each category, as well as overall. Awards consist of trophies, cash, and sometimes prizes such as a new smoker.
After winning four Grand Championships in 2009--their first year of competition--Ryan and Sonya Newstrom have already made their mark on the competitive barbeque world. A backyard and kitchen cook for years, Ryan learned the beginnings of the art of barbeque from his Father, Terry Newstrom, or as his close friends call him, "Big T". In 2008, longing to hone his skills cooking ribs on his trusty Weber Kettle, Ryan hit the World Wide Web for new recipes and techniques. It was here that he found out about competitive barbeque.
This discovery sparked a flame of more research, culminating in the creation of Big T'z Q Cru and entering the teams first competition in August of that same year. Overall, they did not do very well, but got a call for 6th Place Brisket. This was all it took for Ryan to spend the next several months sharpening his knowledge and skills in the sport.
In 2009 Big T'z Q Cru hit the ground running. They earned a top ten overall call at Minnesota in May, along with a 2nd place for their Brisket out of 70 tough teams. Three weeks later, to get more experience cooking ribs and pork, Big T'z attend the Great Pork BarbeQlossal, one of the most prestigious barbeque championships in the country. It was here against some of the best barbeque teams in the country they earned their first Grand Championship and started a streak of wins that would put Big T'z Q Cru on the map and help them to earn the distinction of the 2009 Iowa Barbeque Society Team of the Year.