David Stidham didn’t need to open a restaurant. He was vice president of marketing for the fast-food chain Culver’s — a very comfortable job, he says. But Stidham also had a passion for barbecue. He’d grown up with it in Memphis and Nashville, Tenn., and as an adult he’d honed his own recipes and techniques in his backyard.
A few years ago, he entered the barbecue-competition circuit as A Fine Swine BBQ. The awards soon piled up: in Wisconsin, where Culver’s is based; in Illinois; at national invitationals in Lynchburg, Tenn.; and Kansas City, Mo.
“Once you have your name called at one (competition), it’s addictive,” Stidham told me in a phone interview.