Minnesota-based team on nationally televised barbecue showMore than seven years ago, Jeff Vanderlinde competed in his first barbeque event. Now, his team is the best in the world. That success has led to more opportunities for Vanderlinde and his team, Shiggin & Grinnin. At 8 p.m. Sunday night, Shiggin & Grinnin will be featured on Pit Masters.
By: Aaron Hagen, Forum News Service
WORTHINGTON — More than seven years ago, Jeff Vanderlinde competed in his first barbeque event.
Now, his team is the best in the world.
“In Kansas City, Mo., they have the American Royal, the largest barbeque contest in the whole world,” Vanderlinde said. “Last year, there were 548 teams, and we finished first. We were grand champions, which means we are the current world champions.”
That success has led to more opportunities for Vanderlinde and his team, Shiggin & Grinnin.
At 8 p.m. Sunday night, Shiggin & Grinnin will be featured on Pit Masters (Grand Forks channel 115), one of the top shows on Destination America.
A vital piece
Based in Delano, Minn., Vanderlinde and his team have been a vital piece to Worthington’s barbeque contest, held annually as part of the Turkey Day festivities.
“They had as much to do with our barbeque contest being as much of a success as it is because they were the team we first met up with when we went to the first contest,” said Brad Behrends, who is one of the organizers of the Worthington event. “They told us the keys to having a successful contest …. They’ve been really helpful all the way through it.”
In fact, Shiggin & Grinnin has been a mainstay at the Worthington event.
“It’s pretty big because there are people who follow them,” Behrends said. “Since last year, they won the American Royal, people follow how they are doing this year. They could be from California or Florida or wherever, they’re famous now basically.”
Team of best friends
Vanderlinde started in the sport by attending an event.
“It’s an interest I’ve always had, and I had a smoker,”Vanderlinde said.
The following year, he started cooking with another team. Now, he cooks with two of his best friends, Ted Moonen and Derek Schansberg.
“They will do everything that will allow me to concentrate on the contest,” Vanderlinde said. “I’m the guy that’s doing the rubs, the injecting and the cooking. But I certainly could not or would not do it without them.
“I joke it’s a dictatorship, not a democracy, but every good team needs a captain,” he said. “They really allow me to do that. Those are the only two that will put up with me, too.”
The success hasn’t come easy for Shiggin & Grinnin.
“It’s hard work, know-how and passion,” Vanderlinde said. “It’s a lot of trial and error. I’m very attentive to detail. The devil is definitely in the details.”
The team has been all over the country, including trips to Texas, Louisiana, Illinois and Iowa.
“We figure we’re only the defending champions once — we hope it’s going to be twice — but right now, we are going to enjoy the ride and the opportunities,” Vanderlinde said. “When you’re on top, there’s only one place to go and that’s down. We are going to be reigning champions for another four months, so we figure we better enjoy it.”
At the end of the day, the events are just as much about the camaraderie and time with friends and family.
“The sport of barbeque is the only one when I’m truly happy when the guy next to me wins,” Vanderlinde said. “You can walk up to any barbecuer and ask for advice. And if you need anything at these competitions, everybody is there to help you.
“If I forget brown sugar, I know I can ask the other 50 teams and 49 of them would give me what I need,” Vanderlinde said