Kevin Bludso has the name and the fame along with plenty of BBQ cookbooks, restaurants, and healthy endorsements from mega-barbecue brands like Kingsford. But despite all of the hype, is Bludso really the genuine Pitmaster that he claims to be?
Let’s dive deep into what shaped the man behind the BBQ myths.
Where it all started
Kevin Bludso was born in Compton to parents that seemed to be on opposite sides of the coin. Kevin’s father was a police officer yet his mother was openly a Black Panther supporter. Kevin’s father was born in Texas where his mother worked as a waitress in a Dallas-based cafe, but sadly, was the victim of a crime of passion when she was shot by a white woman claiming that she slept with her husband.
This caused his father to move out to Compton, California where he eventually met a woman who would eventually become Kevin’s mother. By the time Kevin was 9, he started making trips back to Texas to meet with his Dad’s sister each summer. She was the last member of his Texas-based family who was running an illegal BBQ stand. His Dad’s sister- Willie May who Kevin called Granny’ wasn’t really his Grandmother, but he felt she was to him. Often Kevin would assist her with making BBQ goodies.
While these trips took place every summer, every time Kevin went to visit ‘Granny’, it was by chance that his Dad’s sister was the only one she trusted to help smoke her legendary briskets. To this day, Kevin still feels that his smoked brisket isn’t as good as Grannies, yet growing up around Texas BBQ at such a young age was undeniably his early training that would define his BBQ skills.
By the time Kevin was old enough after graduating high school, he attended Bishop College in Dallas. He also played football for the next 4-years playing defensive end and got good at his game. He even got a shot in the NFL and has a tryout for the Oilers. This proved to not be his passion since he was mainly studying business. When he graduated with a business degree, he then found work at the department of corrections.
This is where Kevin spent the next 13 years working as a corrections officer. This wasn’t exactly the same line of work that his father did, yet towards the end, he did serve as a parole agent. Eventually, he needed to look for a new job when he was terminated due to budget cutbacks. Yet, after this Kevin needed to think quick and worked anything he could manage, which was often off-the-books to get by.
He worked as a DJ and also as a caterer and sometimes went back to cook brisket for his Granny. This helped keep him going until she told him that his brisket was the only meat that she wanted to eat, despite him insisting that her version was better. But it gave Kevin a good idea and saved up enough when he returned to Compton. He decided to start a BBQ catering company since he had the talent for BBQ in his blood.
He even convinced his Granny to sell her smoker Klose pit and started making Texas-style BBQ for folks in Compton. He used his degree in business to put some info on Chowhound about his new business and it got rated #99 on the essential food in Los Angeles. It started to snowball by the time Zagat rated his BBQ at #2 for the best BBQ in LA. What kept customers coming back were the inspirational stories he told about Texas and his Granny.
It didn’t take too much time before Kevin was offered book deals and TV show appearances. He’s a real showman who likes to talk about his life and good BBQ. The media loves his flair and was even asked to host the newest Netflix series The American BBQ Showdown. He has also lent his famous name to a slew of upscale BBQ joints in the US and even in Australia. Now he spends most of his time enjoying fame and fortune back in Corsicana, Texas where he spent many summers with his BBQ Granny.