The 59-Year-Old Barbecue Showdown Judge Kevin Bludso Is A Compton Native

Compton native Kevin Bludso was a correction officer and a parole agent at the Department of Corrections for thirteen years.

Chef, restaurateur, author, and TV personality Kevin Bludso, 59, was born and raised in Compton, California, and currently resides in Texas.

Key Takeaways

  • Kevin Bludso opened ”Bludso’s BBQ” in 2008.
  • Compton native Kevin Bludso was a correction officer and a parole agent at the Department of Corrections.
  • Kevin will host a “Huge Barbecue Festival” at Compton Airport on July 26th and 27th, 2024.

BBQ legend Kevin Bludso owns and operates Bludso’s BBQ, which he opened in 2008 and serves as its pitmaster.

Kevin’s father, David Lee Bludso, was a police officer at the Los Angeles Police Department, while his mother, Jean Bludso, was a postal service worker. Both of his parents were a Black Panther Party sympathizer.

Kevin’s father’s family lived in Corsicana until his father was 12 when they moved to Bakersfield.

On April 10, 2024, his father, David Lee, passed away at the age of 82. Before his demise, David celebrated his 82nd birthday in the presence of his beloved family members.

Moreover, Kevin’s elder brother, David Lee Bludso Sr., passed away on July 10, 2019. He was serving in the US Air Force. Kevin also has a sister named Nikki.

In 2023, Kevin Bludso’s son, Dallas K Bludso, graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with a degree in Business Psychology.

Kevin’s great aunt, Willie Mae Fields, ran a semi-legal barbecue business at a local gas station on the weekends.

Every summer, Kevin’s mother, Jean, would send him from Compton to Corsicana to stay with his aunt. There, he learned the art of smoking brisket.

Kevin Bludso, a native of Compton, worked as a correction officer and parole agent at the Department of Corrections for thirteen years.

After being terminated from the Department of Corrections, he spent a few years working as a caterer and DJ to supplement his income.

During the summers, Kevin would go to Texas to cook brisket, which was the only thing his great aunt Willie Mae Fields wanted to eat.

In 2008, he opened Bludso’s BBQ in Compton, a small walk-up stand in the city’s heart. Today, Bludso’s BBQ has multiple locations in California, Texas, and even Australia.

Kevin raised all of his kids in Compton. According to him, while Compton had a gang problem in the late ’70s and ’80s, it was still home and not a ghetto.

As a TV personality, Kevin has appeared as a judge on season 1 of the Netflix series The American Barbecue Showdown (2020) and has been featured as a chef expert on “Kings of BBQ” (2023) and “Bar Rescue” (2011).

In Case You Didn’t Know

  • Kevin Bludso is the 2023 James Beard Award Winner and three-time winner of the Hoodie Award.
  • Kevin graduated from Bishop College in Dallas with a business degree.
  • Kevin Bludso is the author of ”Bludso’s BBQ Cookbook: A Family Affair in Smoke and Soul,” and ”Family, From Compton to Corsicana.”

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