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Shady Side Couple Impresses at PA Barbecue Competition

Shady Side's Joel and Erin Matteson cook barbecue as a hobby, but soon could be making a business out of it.

A Shady Side couple took second place at a state championship barbecue competition in Harrisburg, PA last Saturday.

Thanks to their increasingly popular brisket recipe, husband and wife duo Joel and Erin Matteson earned second at the fifth-annual Keystone Classic Barbecue State Championship in Pennsylvania.

The Mattesons, who comprise “Pepper Monkey BBQ,” both have normal day jobs working as a federal agent (Joel) and analyst (Erin). But ever since discovering their passion for barbecue, the couple began competing in regional cooking competitions. Last week’s contest, their 10th of the year, helped them earn the highest prize they’ve received so far.

“It was a pretty big deal for us. We started 10 competitions this year, which is a lot for us. It was a big competition,” Joel Matteson said.

Cooking quality barbecue is nothing more than just a hobby for Joel Matteson and his wife, who said they had to turn down several catering jobs because they don’t technically cook for profit—yet.

“We are kind of looking into transitioning into doing some catering because of all the public exposure we’ve been getting,” Joel Matteson said.

The local couple’s brisket took fourth against all other briskets, but it was their complete recipes for chicken, pork, and ribs that earned them the No. 2 spot.

Joel Matteson said he and his wife don’t plan to compete in any more competitions in 2012. But as the spring rolls around, the two will begin prepping for the next season of barbecue battles. 

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