Craig & Deeanna Cardell
I'm an Air Traffic Manager at the Atlanta Enroute Air Traffic Control Center. I grew up around BBQ in Georgia; however, we've both lived in several different regions including Alaska, California, Arkansas, and Texas. We've picked up culinary tips in those regions and blended them to form our own unique style of Georgia BBQ.
Deeanna and I started competing four years ago to help relieve the stress associated with my job. We started with a stick burner and eventually graduated to three Backwoods Smokers, utilizing charcoal and hickory wood. We have a 36' gooseneck competition BBQ trailer with three smokers mounted on the back. We've had good success over the last few years (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Georgia State Champions) and picked up grand championships at Lake Oconee, Pigs and Peaches, Simply Southern Jubilee and Cornelia Apple Blossom Festivals (all KCBS events). We've also won several reserve grand championships, including Lake Oconee, Pigs and Peaches, and Roman Roast on the River. Also, during the last four years we've received five perfect scores; all in the brisket category.
Deeanna was raised in Texas and was transplanted to Georgia after we married. At first she believed Texas was the only form of true BBQ; however, she quickly adapted to the Georgia way of life and accepted the cold hard fact - Georgia BBQ reigns supreme! Nowadays, Deeanna runs the day-to-day operation at The Oink Joint BBQ in Zebulon, GA and is the in-house "Pitmaster." She knows her way around the pit and is fast on her feet solving issues arising at the restaurant. She understands flavor profiles and has crafted many of the creative riffs on our menu. Her 80 hour work weeks at the restaurant has honed her BBQ skills because our restaurant's concept is serving competition quality BBQ using the same injections, rubs and techniques that we use as a team on the competition circuit. Our combined vast experience has made us unstoppable on the BBQ circuit and proof that we truly have found our calling and passion in life!