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Ready to meet a 14-year-old pitmaster?

By: Kell Phelps
National Barbecue News Publisher

Barbecue is a very gracious sport, hobby, and life tyle. It has very few boundaries and has no age limits. Texas is known for its ability to incorporate kids of all ages into their sanctioned events, and this has sparked a whole new generation of Texas pitmasters. One of these kids leading the way for the next generation is 14-year-old Ty Machado from Seguin, Texas.
Ty was kind enough to do a question and answer session in order to share his story with the barbecue world. We are truly honored to have you meet this amazing young man through this interview.

Photo courtesy of Guadalupe BBQ Co.
Fourteen-year-old pitmaster Ty Machado is taking competition barbecue by storm.

Tell us more about Ty Machado.
"I am 14 years old, live in Seguin, Texas, and I am currently a freshman at Navarro High School. I've been around barbecue all my life, as my dad has competed for over 15 years while having me always help out. About four years ago, I started on my own cooking non-sanctioned barbecue events and started to do really well."
"During this time, my dad was posting my successes on social media and got some interest from Yoder Smokers. They were kind enough to write an article about me on their blog since I was using their YS640 model. Soon after that, I had an opportunity to be on Food Network Kids Barbecue Championship in their first season and made it through four of the six episodes. Afterwards, I jumped into IBCA (International Barbeque Cookers Association) sanctioned cook offs with a bunch of great sponsors, a new trailer, and now it's a new adventure every weekend."

Photo courtesy of Guadalupe BBQ Co.
Ty checks on his ribs.

What drives your passion?
"Being able to make great food and having lots of support from friends, family, and barbecue brothers and sisters makes it all worth it. Also being able to compete with lots of great names in the Texas barbecue scene is just icing on the cake."

Tell us more about your competition success.
"In unsanctioned events, I have won several Grand Championships and Reserves. Last year I started cooking IBCA sanctioned events, and it was a whole new ballgame. Luckily with the help and support of my dad and several other great competition cooks, I was able to get up to speed quickly and earned several top-five finishes. I was trying hard to get a Reserve or a Grand before the end of the 2016 season but was tied on points and got edged out by a brisket call for my first sanctioned Reserve Grand. On September 3, 2016, which was the first cook of the 2017 IBCA season, I was able to get my first sanctioned IBCA Grand Championship in Sergeant, Texas. I cooked 12 events in 2016 and had some great calls, but there's no feeling like a Grand Champion walk, so I guess that is my best finish so far. I'm looking for more this coming year."

Have you gotten any negative reactions?
"One of the reasons I stopped cooking non-sanctioned events was due to some reactions when learning they were beaten by a 13-year-old and would make negative comments. In IBCA things are much different, and I think the Food Network appearances demonstrated that I can cook barbecue. They make it more fun because of the support they all offer, and it's a lot easier to make friends in that BBQ circuit. "

Photo courtesy of Guadalupe BBQ Co.
Ty slices his brisket entry.

Any setbacks to success at a young age?
"One setback so far has been the opportunity for another appearance on a big time TV show. I think the reason for this is I'm a little older than what they are looking for. I'll be 15 in a month, and I think for a kid's cook, 13 is about the limit. It doesn't bother me too much because soon I will be ready for the big leagues to be in front of Myron, Brad, and Moe on Smoked! Wouldn't that be something?
I guess the last setback is I'm not old enough to get my own checks, so my dad has to go get them with me. You have to be 18 to collect a check or get points in IBCA, so technically my dad is head cook on paper, but everybody knows what's happening and we are working more as a team anyway, but the truth is I am the real head cook.  
IBCA executive director Craig Sharry told National Barbecue News, "I am impressed with how Ty and his dad Joey have competed in the IBCA, and we really expect to see big things in the near future from their team. It's also great to see a father and son support each other and to have success while doing it."

Photo courtesy of Guadalupe BBQ Co.
Ty cooking on his Yoder Smoker

Who all has helped you get to where you are now?
I have been lucky enough to have some great sponsors who believe in me. I am grateful for their support and believing what I can do for the future of competition barbecue. Yoder Smokers has supplied me with some great pits. B&B Charcoal Products keeps me in wood, pellets, and charcoal products. Frio Ice Chests keeps my competition meats cold on the way to the events and hot when they come off the pit. Uncle Bob's Country Seasonings, Texas Angel Oil , and STOK grills also help keep me in the winners circle, and our newest sponsor, Vara Chevrolet, helps us get there. My dad runs me all over Texas, and my mom and sister help out where they can. No doubt it's turned out to be a family affair, and without them I could not to do what I love."

What are some of your goals?
"So far my goals are to balance school and barbecue first! My dad and I are planning on opening a barbecue restaurant soon by starting with a catering trailer he built several years back and see how that goes. I had a chance to go to the Q in the Lou event in St. Louis this year with our great friends from Ubon's Barbecue.  I really fell in love with barbecue festivals and the atmosphere surrounding them. It was so much fun, and we don't have anything like that in Texas. I hope to be part of the festival scene one day. I plan on going to Memphis in May, The Jack, and The Royal if possible in 2017."

Photo courtesy of Guadalupe BBQ Co.

What are your future plans and events?
"My current plans involve getting through the school year, as my freshman year has been tough so far. I'm done competing for 2016 and just now gearing up for the 2017 season. I'm really excited about being able to cook in some really great events this year.  I know I need to focus on consistency and timing for the 2017 barbecue season. I want to keep my sponsors happy by increasing my competition success. I think if I can do that, everything else will fall into place. We want to have the barbecue restaurant up and running by summer at the latest but plan to keep some weekends open for festivals and barbecue competitions along the way."
"Coming up this new year will be the San Antonio Rodeo Cook-Off which will be my biggest event yet. That event will host over 325 teams!  I'm really excited and honored to be able to be a part of the 2017 NBBQA (National Barbecue and Grilling Association) barbecue bash in Fort Worth coming in March. I can't believe just a year ago I was watching my barbecue idols on TV, and I never dreamed I would be lucky enough to cook side-by-side with them. This will be such an honor."
"I also hope in the future to be able to help more with OBR (Operation BBQ Relief). I have tried to promote them this year, but I really want to make a bigger impact for that organization in 2017. I think it's important for people to support and understand what they do."

What's The one thing Ty would love to accomplish in his life?
"I would love to be able to make a great living doing what I love and continue to learn as much as I can so that one day I will be able to pass along that gift as I get older. Mentoring is very important to me, and I hope to pay it forward in the future because I would not be where I am today without the help I have gotten along the way. To me barbecue is not just a hobby, but it is a way of life and I love it!"




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