Granbury High School has been competing with its barbecue team since 2020 and has had much success since the start.
Brianne Langdon was the creator of the group and now serves as the head barbecue coach and as a culinary teacher. The group originally started out as just four students, and now there are three teams with about 25 members total that are run through the high school’s culinary department.
“The most important aspect of BBQ is that the kids become the best versions of themselves they can be. Character and integrity come first. BBQ comes second. We spend a LOT of time together, so learning conflict resolution and teamwork is crucial. We learn so much more than just meat in BBQ,” Langdon said. “We are learning about fire management and how weather and time impact our product, time management, flavor profiles, meat science, communication, where our food comes from and how and why to respect those proteins, safety and sanitation, camaraderie, and flexibility/adapting on the fly. It’s a lifelong skill, and food is a universal language.”
The team meets two to three times a month to both learn and practice their cooking skills, and students also practice on their own.
There are two high school barbeque leagues in Texas, and GHS competes in both all over the state.
“The categories are different, depending on which league you cook in. Categories include brisket, beans, dessert, boneless porkchop, flank steak tacos, chili, St. Louis pork ribs, and smoked half-chicken,” Langdon said.
The team competes at regionals first, then the top 10 teams compete at the state level. One of the two leagues also has a national competition in which the top 30 teams in the state compete.
With only four years competing, the team has had much success thus far including several overall Top 10 finishes as teams and in individual categories at Regional Contests. In 2022, the team was 10th overall in the state out of 82 teams and won in the beans category. In 2023, two teams advanced to the national competition.
“Each year and season have unique memories. One of my favorites is when our team won the bean category in 2022. I wasn’t able to be at the state contest because my sister was getting married, and my students FaceTimed me with the trophy, right before the wedding ceremony I was officiating. We were all crying happy tears! It was pretty amazing and definitely a lifelong memory I’ll always cherish,” Langdon said. “Some of my best memories also include little moments… no trophies, no ribbons. Conversations about life and futures, little victories and seeing a kid’s eyes light-up when their product turns out great, lifting a chin when they are sad or upset and encouraging them to never give-up, reminding them their worth is not in what judges or anyone says. Those are the best moments.”
When it comes to this season Langdon is looking forward to what is to come.
“It feels like this year is poised to be our best year yet. We are getting help and input from more mentors, getting more organized, and have so much buy-in from our students. I am really excited and can’t wait to see what our kids learn this year. We would love to get some more trophies this year too,” Langdon said.
The team’s first contest this year will take place on Nov. 4 at Granbury High School.
The team is seeking sponsorships; for more information contact Brianne Langdon at firstname.lastname@example.org.