Meet Nevada Barbecue Association Team: Stevo's BBQ
Stevo's BBQ, the 2017 Nevada Barbecue Association Rookie Team of the Year, has made a big splash on the barbecue scene since starting in 2016.
But to Stephen Nieto (AKA Stevo), cooking is about more than the competition. It's his passion and has been his path to healing.
When he was young, Stevo worked at the Gold Coast Casino. The chef trained him in every area of the kitchen, including the grill, buffet, butcher shop and garde manger. He followed the casino to St. Louis to help them open up a riverboat. While there, he attended culinary school.
He joined the Army and was deployed overseas. That changed his perspective because he said he saw all different kinds of cooking, but he also saw things that changed his life.
"PTSD got the best of me for a while, sleeping on the street, depression and such, but I got my mojo back, cooking for the base and being a part of Nevada Barbecue and competing," he said. "God is good to me."
He got started in competition BBQ after he met longtime association member Barry Greer. Soon after, he became a Kansas City Barbeque Society certified judge. Stevo's BBQ includes team members Veronica and Angel Nieto and Sean Fuentes.
Before competing in his first KCBS-sanctioned BBQ competition, Stevo's BBQ tested its skills at Nevada Barbecue Association's 2017 Spring Training. Stevo's BBQ took second place overall and was named the Reserve Grand Champion.
A month later, they were up against some of the biggest names in BBQ at the 2017 Best Dam Barbecue Challenge in Boulder City, Nevada. Stevo's BBQ had its named called in pork and the team was named the Nevada Barbecue Association 2017 Rookie Team of the Year.