Let's Get Que'd With Queology

Let's Get Que'd With Queology


When you live in the South, it's impossible to escape the call of some delicious barbeque (unless you're a vegetarian, I guess). Springtime in the South should really be called "Smokertime" because that's when all the pitmasters and BBQ enthusiasts start loading up the smoker to participate in different cookoffs around the state. I recently sat down with South Carolina State BBQ Champion Russ Cornette, founder and pitmaster of Queology on Market Street, to try some of their BBQ and chat about this season's BBQ Tour. 


Queen of the Food Age: OK, Russ. So how long have you been doing this BBQ thing?

Russ Cornette: My wife and I went to a BBQ event out at Brittlebank Park in 2000, and I was addicted almost immediately. So this idea started officially as a hobby in 2001. There were a lot of late nights testing and practicing and honing the recipes. To do it right, you need to do it over and over again the same way. In BBQ competitions, consistency is key. It's all in the details. 

QotFA: Tell me more about the competitions. Are they intense?
RC: They can be. You have to remember, when it comes to having your food judged, the judges are only going to taste one or two bites, so you need to make those bites stand out. They're judging you on a scale of one to nine on appearance, taste, and tenderness, so there are a lot of factors that go into a single bite. It's complicated. How do you get your bite to stand out? 


QotFA: I tend to be more of a fan of the mustard-based sauces, but whenever I got to BBQ events, it's pretty much all red sauce.

Russ: Yeah, red sauce is king when it comes to competition. If you put a mustard sauce in front of the judges, you're going to get a low score. I'm not sure why; I've had some pretty great mustard-based sauces. But the judges just don't go for it.

QotFA: These sauces here at Queology are great, and they taste awesome on these chicken wings. 

Russ: Yeah, the chicken wings are my favorite thing here. They're hickory smoked using real wood. Nice and simple, just as it should be. I created the BBQ sauces here and the rub for the BBQ, so I think it all goes really well together. A lot of times, I get the wings dry and top them with the different BBQ sauces, rather than getting them tossed in one of the wing sauces. Although, both are great.


QotFA: Which event are you most looking forward to during this competition season?
Russ: The Southern Flame Food Festival at the Ponds in Summerville at the end of April. I helped found it in 2009 as a fundraiser for the Summerville Miracle League, so it's a cause I hold really close to my heart. I get to practice a hobby I love for a great cause. It's such a fun event. 

Russ Cornette 

Upcoming Queology BBQ Tour Dates:

April 24–25 
Summerville Southern Flame Food Festival 
The Ponds, Summerville, SC 
Southern BBQ Network    

May 22–23 
Papa Joe’s Banjobque Blue Grass Festival 
Evans, GA 
Kansas City BBQ Society

June 12–13 
Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour 
Sam’s Club, North Charleston, SC
Kansas City BBQ Society

July 10–11 
SC Festival of Discovery 
Greenwood, SC 
Kansas City BBQ Society