Tom McIntosh leads the highly successful T-Mac Smokin’ Professional Competitive BBQ Team, sponsored in part by Griller’s Gold Premium BBQ Pellets. This is the second of two articles about Tom and his BBQ career.

Tom grills at home, all the time. But it’s a different, much more relaxed and basic approach than competition grilling. He doesn’t experiment with competition recipes when he’s in his own backyard. Tom said, “I personally struggle with doing the whole practice-cook thing. The time and attention at competition is hard to parallel at home. I might try some different sauces, but I don’t go to the same depth with experimenting. I’m too distracted thinking about doing something around the yard. Once I get to competition, I enjoy being focused, away from distraction.”

Of course, Tom bears in mind what he knows from competition when he’s grilling at home.

  • Tom thinks about the weather as he adapts flavors for different regions. For competitions up north, Tom says he “goes a little more sweet and spicy with flavors; for events in dry hot Southern regions, a little saltier.”
  • Tom knows what judges expect, and it’s what he strives to deliver every time he steps up to the grill. “Nail tenderness and texture, with flavors that aren’t too far out there, not overpowering, too spicy or sweet.”
  • This past Thanksgiving, the turkey was cooked on the drum, using the method Tom employs with chicken during competition.

Why a champion chooses Griller’s Gold

“I like the fact that this pellet is made in northern Wisconsin, a local product from a local team. I’ve got a hunting cabin right outside Ladysmith (where Griller’s Gold is produced),” Tom said.

Tom has used Griller’s Gold this past year, and liked his results.“The flavor is good. I’ve always felt Griller’s Gold is a clean pellet,” Tom said. He typically uses Hickory and Competition Blend—Hickory for ribs,  Competition Blend for chicken and sides. “I’ve seen non-premium pellets that leave a lot of ash in the burn pot; they’re not so clean.” Tom believes many pellets use softer wood with ‘wood flavor enhancer.’ He knows Griller’s Gold uses only 100% natural wood with no chemical additives.

At home, at the church picnic, and on the competition circuit, the same motivation ultimately drives Tom and Becky. ”We cook because we love to see people enjoy the food we make. We focus on good food that people will enjoy.” Tom’s advice: “Cook with love. Stay true to that.”

Follow Tom and the T-Mac Smoking BBQ Team on their Facebook page for exciting news and updates!

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