An Ashburn man who quit his job as a park ranger to open a restaurant is making quite a name for himself in the bar-be-que world. Raymond Poore has cooked competitively for years and has won a bunch of trophies with his partner.
Now Poore and Royal's team, "Rescue Smokers" applied for the Bar-be-que Pittmaster's competition before, but this year they were selected as one of 27 teams competing for a $50,000 prize. The man prepping these ribs didn't always wear the cook's clothes.
"I was working for Georgia Forestry for five years... yeah, five years. Great job, great people, great to work for. It just wasn't what I wanted to do in my life," said Poore.
Last summer he made the life altering decision to open his own business. "Several years, draw blue prints out and everything, you know, and tryin' to do it and all. Just scared to take the leap, and finally took the leap last year," said Poore.
The sweet smokey aroma billowing out of the cooker ignited his passion to compete to be the best. "We first started out, it was just for fun. You know, we'd go out and have a good time. But in 2007 we got real serious about it. And we actually started winning real big in 2007," said Poore.
He says these trophies are only about a third of what he's won with his partner Robbie Royal, the Turner County EMS Director and Fire Chief. And this year the two were accepted into the Pittmaster's competition from 8,000 applicants.
"You have to send in a written app. You have to send in an approximately five minute video via YouTube and a ton of pictures and just talk up why you think you're the best at bar-be-que," said Turner County EMS Director Competitor Robby Royal.
And before they knew it, they were preparing to go on the show. "To get the opportunity to cook on bar-be-que Pittmaster's was a dream come true. And a great ending to a fun and glorious bar-be-que competition career," said Royal.
They can't tell us how they did, but they feel happy with their performance. "I love to eat bar-be-que. Love to cook bar-be-que. No matter what, I've always wanted to be the best at it, and this right here puts us in the position to be one of the best bar-be-que teams in the nation," Royal said.
No matter the outcome, Poore's customers will surely keep coming back for more home cooking. He says the two had to spend a few days before the competition just to prep for the event. He says he and Royal formed their team the Rescue Smokers in 2007 but haven't been able to compete as often since he opened his restaurant.
You can see how the men did in the competition this Sunday night on the Destination America network.