Matt and Sarah Walker have been on a hot streak this season, but as they head into the American Royal, Matt isn’t letting the strength of Boomerang BBQ’s performance this year go to his head.
Matt is keeping his eyes on a bright light in the distance: the spotlight of a world championship title.
“I want to win, I want to be a world champion,” he said about competing in the 2018 American Royal World Series of Barbecue with his teammate and wife Sarah. “That would be legit.”
The Team B&B Charcoal ambassadors from Lubbock, Texas, have made big waves after debuting on the competition scene in 2016 as Boomerang BBQ. They’ve been tearing through the circuit ever since. Boomerang BBQ is currently ranked #2 in the KCBS rankings, out of a field of more than 4,000 teams in the Kansas City Barbeque Society.
Matt has channeled his addictive personality — a trait shared by many perfectionists — into positive directions by focusing it on perfecting his craft.
“You get addicted to something and you put everything in there,” he said.
“Did I know that after my first cook that we would spend some time on the road going after it? Yes. Did I know we’d be winning? No. I thought it would take a lot longer to get there and start winning.”
Once Sarah joined him, Matt knew he’d found the secret to success.
“As soon as my wife got involved as she has, I was like, ‘yeah, this is going to happen.’ I knew we’d be on the road every weekend at some point.”
All the time and hard work in the last two years is paying off and the team is making a big impression.
“They’ve had a phenomenal last couple of years,” said Joey Machado, marketing and sales director for B&B Charcoal. “I still remember the Matt Walker just three years ago … we were on the phone every other night because he was just trying to figure out how to cook. Not that I gave him all the answers, that’s for sure. But this guy has just dedicated himself to this sport and he’s mastered it.
“We’re very proud of him. And very proud we’re going to support him at the Jack (Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue) this year and the Royal.”
Matt and Sarah have been keeping busy.
In the first weekend of September during the Bedford Blues and BBQ Festival in Texas, Boomerang BBQ cooked in a Steak Cookoff Association event on Friday; won a 5th place brisket call during an International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA) cookoff on Saturday; and ended up winning Reserve Grand Champion in that Sunday’s KCBS competition.
It was a shared effort, like everything Boomerang does. A successful marriage is often about splitting responsibilities — and it’s the same with competition cooking. In the Bedford Blues and BBQ KCBS event, the pair won 1st place in Pork and also 1st in the Beans and Dessert category, along with strong showings in many other categories, including 2nd place in Chicken.
It’s Sarah’s desserts, drinks and sides — like her award-winning beans — that really give Boomerang BBQ their special flair, Matt said. He’s a proud husband.
“She’s like the queen of dessert and sides,” Matt said.
Sarah puts so much energy into perfecting her competition desserts that her recipes are a closely guarded secret. At the 2017 American Royal World Series of Barbecue, Sarah’s dessert entry — made using B&B Pecan Pellets — placed sixth out of about 300 entries.
She definitely has a sweet touch when it comes to sweets. Sarah has picked up a number of perfect 180 scores for her desserts.
Other big wins this year for Boomerang BBQ include:
- Overall Grand Champions at the Kansas BBQ Shootout.
- Grand Champions at the Raider Red Meats BBQ and Ribeye Competition.
- Grand Champion (Day 1) and Reserve Champion (Day 2) at Red, White and Bar-B-Q.
- Reserve Grand Champion at the FireLake BBQ Cookoff.
That’s just the beginning when it comes to Boomerang BBQ’s achievements so far.
Boomerang BBQ aims to make barbecue “so good, you’ll come back for more.” Their continuous dedication to all-things-cooking will also swing back around to help them in future competition seasons.
Just like a boomerang.