For two years in a row, Dub and Jules Siegel of Sublime BBQ were reserve grand champions — also known as second place — at The Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle, but they hadn’t yet taken home the grand championship.
This year, that all changed.
Dub has been going to watch the BBQ battle every year since he was a teen. He remembers great teams like Slaughterhouse Five achieving the highest accolades in the local competition.
Now, his team is one of them.
“For me, it was like a bucket list item, one of those contests I had to win at some point,” he said. “It’s just amazing to finally get this one.”
The Siegels, alongside their two sons, Ronan and Liam, and family friend Cody Farmer, all had a hand in the 38th annual barbecue competition. As a result, the Olathe family made top marks in chicken, pork ribs, pork and brisket.
“Both of our sons were there helping, and having us all together there to win, they know what a big deal it is,” Jules Siegel said. “Both of them getting to be there with us and celebrate was a lot of fun.
“It’s a great community; we have a lot of friends that make it a lot of fun to go out and do it year after year. We call them barbecue family.”
The Siegels have been competing in The Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle for the past six years. At first, Jules wasn’t really interested, but after the first competition, she began leaning into it more and took a barbecue class. The very next year, they ranked in the top 10.
“This was our hobby. A lot of people go to the lake or they do other things besides sit in parking lots and cook barbecue,” Dub said. “I grew up around barbecue here in Kansas City, so it’s something I knew that I wanted to do.”
Jules said they started to have “real success” when Dub began building the smokers they compete on. He built the grand championship smoker in two weeks before competing in the American Royal World Series of Barbecue last year. He has built smokers for other teams as well.
“You put in all this hard work and labor to mold something from the raw materials into a finished product, and you get to go out there and use it,” Dub Siegel said. “You’ve got people telling you how nice it looks and all that, and then you get to show them how well it actually functions.”
Winning the grand championship was also a bittersweet moment for Dub.
“The bitter part was just falling short of winning the contest the last two years, and the sweet was persevering through to the win,” he said. “It takes a lot of time and dedication from the moment you start planning and preparing for a contest all the way down to the turn ins for the four main KCBS categories.”