8th Place Finish

Shannon Turner

Muttley Crew BBQ
Final Score
89.2573932
KCBS Score
671.3028
WFC Score
85.875

We've had some really consistent cooks among our meats all year, and we keep trying to improve. It can be frustrating, but it's exciting, too!

There had better be a pretty special reason for Shannon Turner and her husband Brian to make the 10-hour drive from Apex, NC to Orange Beach, AL with a huge fifth wheel trailer dragging behind them. And there was, evidenced by the contents of that trailer: all manner of smokers, refrigerators, prep tables and other implements of barbecue artistry. You see, the Turners were headed to the World Food Championships last November to compete in the finals of the inaugural Cowboy Charcoal Fire & Ice Women's Barbecue Championship Series as the Muttley Crew BBQ competition cook team.

Turner cooked in about 20 events during 2016 to earn her spot in the finals of the Fire & Ice event where she was "pitted" against nine other female pitmasters for the chance to earn a share of $15,000 in gift certificates from Manning Jewelry. During the week Turner works for a pharmaceutical company, but her weekends are occupied by cooking competitions and perfecting her craft.

Traveling the Kansas City Barbeque Society's competitive circuit together, Shannon and Brian work as a team, but she is the official pitmaster of record. "We like to travel," notes Shannon, "and not many couples have a hobby where they can do it together like we do." Each of them has their strongest talents, and they split up the duties accordingly. "I have no patience for prepping chicken, so I let him do that."

2016 was their third trip to the WFC, once as a member of another competitive team and once before as Muttley Crew BBQ. But this was the first time that Turner had competed against an all-female field. "You never meet a bad person in barbecue, but this was an especially great bunch of girls!"

The Fire & Ice finals were a two-day affair, kicking off with a grilling competition where the lady pitmasters had two hours to prepare a dish for a panel of judges using Cowboy Charcoal and a Bull Outdoor grill. Even though her forte is cooking low and slow on a smoker, Turner was not intimidated by the challenge. "I'm pretty comfortable around a grill. I've been cooking on one my whole life." She made a dish she had prepared several times in the past, a scallop-stuffed shrimp wrapped with prosciutto and sprinkled with manchego cheese, much to the delight of the judges.

The second round was a more traditional barbecue competition with the contestants preparing the four standard KCBS meats over the course of several hours. Chicken, pork, ribs and beef brisket were each turned in a half hour apart and judged to determine an overall score. "Round two went pretty well," recalls Turner. "Our score was about where we live in these contests. We've had some really consistent cooks among our meats all year, and we keep trying to improve. It can be frustrating, but it's exciting, too!"

Although her final score did not put her in one of the top two spots in the Fire & Ice finals, Turner did win a $1000 gift certificate from Manning, which she traded in for a pair of diamond stud earrings (or Ice, as the series referred to them). Even better, she returned home with some fond memories and a new group of friends. "We had a fun time overall. I thought the location was great, and I really enjoyed being able to see all the different categories competing in the WFC. It was exciting to be around all that talent." Turner should definitely count herself as part of that talent.