Dustey Walley is Sr. VP of Commercial Lending at The First Bank in Ocean Springs by day, but in his spare time, he is racking up ribs - and accolades, as a championship barbecue cook. Dustey and Noel's Hometown BBQ will be cooking up an award winning lineup of dishes in the VIP Village at Ocean Springs LIVE this Saturday.
Guests who opt to pay for reserved seating and a shade lounge will be treated to complimentary beverages and an all star buffet hot off Dustey and Noel's smoker. On the menu: Smoked tuna dip, pulled pork, chicken wings, smoked chicken legs, shrimp and sausage jambalaya, baked beans, potato salad and pecan pie.
Dustey sat down for "10 questions with Ocean Springs LIVE" today, and even shared a jambalaya recipe for readers to try at home.
Ocean Springs LIVE: How did you get your start in the barbecue business?
I approached the company I worked for at the time with, the idea that if we built a nice BBQ pit that we could use it for marketing and charity functions. Once we built the pit, we started entering local competitions along the Coast. I was successful in winning several, one of those competitions was BBQ Under the Oaks. Noel and I competed against one another. After several years of competition in that event we decided to help each other out with a couple of catering and local fund raising events. That was the beginning of Dusty and Noel's Hometown BBQ.
Ocean Springs LIVE:What’s your favorite food item to prepare and why? What is the most POPULAR menu item?
Burnt-end brisket is my favorite thing to prepare because it's challenging to cook, and easy to overcook. But, our ribs are our most popular item.
Ocean Springs LIVE:What’s the most satisfying part about competitive cooking? What awards have you won? Which are you most proud of and why?
Even better than winning is meeting all the competitors. The camaraderie between the teams unbelievable. I have met some of the best people who are now some of my closest friends. Most recently we won 2nd place in whole hog Mississippi State University’s Super Bulldog weekend BBQ Competition. We earned 2nd place in ribs and in brisket in the professional division at the D’Iberville Throwdown. At Biloxi’s Grillin on the Green we won 1st in Ribs, Chicken, and Brisket; The People’s Choice at BBQ under the Oaks, and The People’s Choice at Bachtobert in Pascagoula.
I am most proud of is winning Michael Diaz’s 3rd Annual Rib Cook-Off. I got to cook with good friends, Randy Wrigley and Roger Applewhite. It was a tough competition with a lot of pre-competition jawing between the competitors about who had the best ribs - at the end of the day, we had a lot of fun and won the culdesac bragging rights for the next year.
Ocean Springs LIVE: Do you prefer cooking for self or cooking for others – which one and why?
Others - I love seeing other people enjoying the food we prepare.
Ocean Springs LIVE: What’s the largest number of people you have ever served?
With the help of a lot of volunteers, we help cook for is the Back Pack Buddy’s annual charity fundraiser that averages 1250 people.
Ocean Springs LIVE:Who is your taste-tester?
Ocean Springs LIVE: What was your biggest barbecue fail and what happened?
There are many. but the biggest fail for me was at the D'Iberville Throw Down. I was turning in my chicken entry, that needed more time to cook; and lost Grand Champion. In BBQ competition, timing is everything. Each category we enter has a very small window in which we must turn our entry in, usually it 10-20 min.
Ocean Springs LIVE: If you could serve one famous person a meal who would it be?
I've had the chance to cook for some prominent people, like Governor Bryant, Sammy Kershaw, and even the USM football team. But if i could choose a famous person, it would probably be Emeril Lagasse or Myron Mixon, the king of Barbecue.
Ocean Springs LIVE:What is your prize piece of cooking equipment ?
My two BBQ trailers. The one I use for competition, by East Texas Smoker Company and a Southern Pride 500 I use for catering and fund raisers.