Mr. McKinney Wins California State BBQ Championship


Helix’s very own ITSS Teacher, Brett McKinney, and his team won the California State BBQ Championship in Indio, California on the weekend of Nov. 3rd. The two-day competition included 33 of the best barbeque teams in California and three of the top teams in the country.

Contrary to assumptions based on this win, McKinney has only been cooking for three years.

His love of barbecue started after he took a class about how to judge competitions, how to eat it, and what to look for. Walking around competitions, he also saw the creative smokers in which barbeque is cooked. After taking the class, he continued to judge for three more years, but soon grew tired of it and wanted to be the chef behind the smoker.

McKinney even created his own catering business called BMack & BBQ. Although he loves barbecue and his catering business, he loves teaching too much to pursue his hobby full time.

That said, with this victory, McKinney and team have been invited to the American Royal World Series of BBQ in Kansas City in Sep. 2019, which he calls, “one of the homes of BBQ.” McKinney referred to the competition as, “one of the three top bucket list BBQ places you can cook in.”


For a recent hobby, “this weekend was kind of like the pinnacle of I made it to the top, it’s kind of like a dream,” states McKinney.


Although McKinney is always around barbecue, he hardly eats it and instead brings the leftovers to his students and teachers. When he does eat barbecue, Coop’s West Texas BBQ in Lemon Grove and Grand Ole BBQ y Asado in North Park are highly recommended. McKinney highly advises to stay away from Phil’s BBQ, but to go, “for the authentic, good stuff.”


If you’re lucky enough to have McKinney as your ITSS Teacher, try to get a taste of his award-winning BBQ!