Cooking duo

Hudson High School seniors Reece Maddox, left, and Eli Jenkins are competing at the World Food BBQ Championships in Dallas on Saturday and Sunday.

HUDSON — Two Hudson seniors are competing at the World Food BBQ Championships in Dallas on Saturday and Sunday.

Reece Moddox and Eli Jenkins qualified for the competition after winning the State of Texas High School BBQ Championships in May.

“You don’t have a competition like this in any other UIL event or FFA event,” Reece said. “You kind of get to do your own thing. It’s stressful for some teams, but if you get good at it and you’ve got your steps down, it’s pretty laid back.”

The students will be judged on brisket, chicken, ribs, beans and dessert. They have different turn-in times for different dishes, the longest time being nine hours.

“For us, competition is usually pretty smooth,” Reece said. “We’ve done it so many times, we’ve got it down by heart. We know what we need to do.”

Team sponsor Ted Eddings said this competition is important because it is invitation-only, with the top 10 teams in the state and teams from across the U.S. competing.

“It makes them work cooperatively as a team and learn how to do that and do it well,” he said. “They proved that last year when they won state.”

Eddings said everyone at competition is always impressed with the level of teamwork the students show.

The two practice every other weekend and even cater some events. Eli said it is the time they get to spend together that makes the competition fun.

“We get to spend time with each other and hang out,” Eli said. “Hanging out with your friends is just a good time.”

They recommended trial and error to find the right method for your barbecue pit.

“We’ve used multiple different methods, and we learned what was best for us, especially in these high school competitions where we’re on a pretty tight time frame,” Reece said.

They recently competed in the adult Deep East Texas State Championship and placed fifth in brisket against 45 of the best cooks in Texas.

Both Eli and his friends and family enjoy the skills that he has learned through this competition.

“Now I have the knowledge to go cook something up for myself, so I don’t always have to depend on someone else to fix it up,” Eli said.

“It’s kind of fun when you get to eat your homework, huh?” Eddings said.

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.

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