Victoria native cooks up BBQ championship

Ernest Ramirez turns in his entry at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo World's championship Bar-B-Que contest. Ramirez and his team, Drillin' & Grillin' took top honors at the event.

Year after year, Ernest Ramirez entered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo World's Championship Bar-B-Que contest.

This year, it finally paid off.

Ramirez, a Victoria native living in Houston, won the grand champion overall prize and champion ribs prize with his team Drillin' & Grillin.' The team beat 250 other teams and 396 entries.

"I was ecstatic. We only entered into the rib category so we had to make our entry shine," he said. "Cooking in these competitions can be real, real stressful; you really feel the pressure. But when you do win an award, it's a big relief."

Ramirez and his team will now move on to the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational BBQ, held in Lynchburg, Tenn., in October. Although it's months away, Ramirez is already preparing a game plan.

"You have to mentally prepare," he said. "I'm looking forward to it, and I'm confident we'll come home with something. I've been cooking a long, long time, and this is a great opportunity for me."

Although by day he is a union piper, during his down time, Ramirez does catering and he said he hopes one day to open up his own barbecue place around Victoria.