Tim Mikeska (left) is a fifth-generation master butcher/sausage maker and CEO of Mikeska’s Bar-B-Q Inc. Raised in Taylor, Texas, and son of the dean of Texas Pitmasters, Rudy Mikeska, Tim learned to cook at an early age and grew up making sausage and catering Texas BBQ with his father. He’s served his signature menu to U.S. presidents, congressmen, Texas governors, and British royalty, appearing on Food Network’s "Food Nations" with Chef Bobby Flay and the Travel Channel with Chef Andrew Zimmern. In this interview, Tim explains why you should be at this year’s Kentucky State BBQ Festival.
Why should people go to the festival this year?
The Kentucky Barbeque Festival is an opportunity the public has to go to one event in Danville, Kentucky, and eat barbeque from pit masters from around the country. I know someone recently that’s going on a barbeque quest around the country; they’re going to be gone a month and spend thousands and thousands of dollars just to eat barbeque from different places. Here, people in Kentucky have an opportunity to be in one place and get the best barbeque from the best pit masters, people that are famous on TV, in the restaurant business, and have done a great job with their food.
During most barbeque cook-offs, the pit masters don’t vend their food. They have other vendors do that. But at this festival, the best pit masters in the country are vending their own food—that’s very unique.
What do you like about performing demonstrations at the festival?
I’m a butcher, and I see barbeque differently than a lot of people in the restaurant business do. As a fifth-generation butcher involved in wholesale distribution and a person who’s one of the largest caterers in Texas, I see different cuts and possibilities for meat. I wanted to bring that perspective to the public.
One of the things I wanted to do this year is highlight each of the pit masters who will be here, instead of doing a demo with food like I did last year. I want to talk about each pit master’s history, their products, and highlight what makes them unique.
What has been your favorite part of the festival?
The best part is the food! Also, the festival is a great time to get together. We’re all friends, and any time we get together, it’s very special. In this situation, in Danville, it’s like being home, in my case, because that area of Kentucky is a lot like Texas.
The people are so nice, they’re inquisitive, and very intelligent when it comes to food. They ask good questions. There’s always competition between the pit masters, but it’s a very friendly and honorable competition. These are some of the best pit masters in the country. They didn’t get there by accident. They got there because they have quality food, quality product. And we all know it.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about this year’s festival?
What an opportunity they have by coming to the festival. I don’t think people who stop through town and check out the festival understand what they’re able to do. People that are on barbeque quests would love to be at this festival because they can just walk down the street and eat products from pit masters from across the country.
It’s an amazing opportunity for you to go to one place, have a great time, and eat amazing barbeque from people all over the country that would normally cost thousands of dollars to travel around and see individually.
So many times when people go to these huge cook-offs all across the country, they see famous pit masters but can’t eat their barbeque because they’re in a competition. Here, you have an opportunity to enjoy these pit masters and their amazing barbeque, and I don’t think there’s enough recognition of how unique that is.
For more information on the KY State BBQ Festival, visit www.kybbqfestival.com
Danville/Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau
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