Croix Valley Grillmeister Wade Brelje | September 2022
Wade is bbq grade!
Wade Brelje grew up in Henderson, MN and currently lives in Lakeville, MN. When he's not on the road competing in food sport, he's busy as the co-owner of Distinctive Design Build LLC constructing beautiful single family homes. In his free time he coaches his daughters hockey team, cooks with his wife & kids, and spends time with his family. He's also a force to be reckoned with when it comes to ancillary competitions. Let's learn a little more about Wade!
When did you get into grilling, and how often do you fire it up?
I started cooking with my mom from a very young age, and my dad got me into grilling when I was about 15 years old. I have always loved to cook. I didn't get into competition grilling until Troy Johnson contacted me about the 2020 Cougar Cookoff amateur steak competition in Lakeville, MN benefiting the Lakeville Hockey Team, in which I got 11th place. I've been hooked ever since. Now I fire up the grill at least 3-4 times a week.
Name one grilling technique you’ve learned over the years that has served you well.
There are a lot of different grilling techniques that I have learned, from cooking a steak in the SCA to cooking ribs & chicken in the KCBS or even cooking and creating ancillary items. But I have learned that a lot of it has to do with fire management, timing on how long to cook certain meats at certain temperatures, and not over seasoning or over-smoking your food.
What’s the most unique thing you’ve grilled or cooked?
The most unique things I have ever grilled are desserts. From cakes, to monkey bread, to cookies, I always feel like making desserts on the grill tastes way better than making them in the oven.
Tell us about your most memorable day around the grill.
There have been a lot of really great memories around the grill, from winning Grand Champion in the KCBS with my teammate Scott Carlisle and my wife Michelle to winning my golden tickets in both ancillary and steak. But some of my favorite memories are watching my wife win first place and watching my kids win first place and place high in the Kid's Que, because grilling is all about bringing the family together.
Last but not least, what are your favorite Croix Valley products?
That's really hard as they are all really great. Our pantry is full of all of their products. If I had to choose what I love the most, it would have to be the sauces. They have helped us win many competitions from my very first competition that I won first place using the Pineapple Habanero to helping us win in the KCBS with the Sweet and Smokey BBQ sauce.