Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

R.I.P. Brent Walton, QN4U owner and barbecue champ

UPDATE: According to a media release sent out on behalf of the Walton family, there will be a celebration of Brent’s life at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds. And because people are probably wondering: QN4U will remain open with Brent’s wife Kim in charge.

ORIGINAL POST, 4/9: Brent Walton, the local barbecue champ and owner of the QN4U restaurants, passed away over the weekend. If you ever entered QN4U, you knew Walton was a decorated barbecue competitor — there were trophies everywhere. Walton had been featured on The Food Network and History Channel, plus had many other honors in the barbecue community that you can read about here.

Below is a video that TasteFresno filmed about Walton last year, as seen on

There’s a Facebook page set up in Walton’s honor and a thread of remembrances from the California BBQ Association, of which Walton was a past president. Locally, QN4U had recently opened a second location in Fresno.

Keep an eye on the Facebook page for details about his memorial.

Responses to "R.I.P. Brent Walton, QN4U owner and barbecue champ"

floydy says:

holy crap. r.i.p.

Sara says:

Brent was a wonderful man, and a dear friend, that will be missed by many.

Ashley Engman says:

Kim, brents wife thanks everyone for all of the kind words, and wanted everyone to know that the restaurant will remain open with the same award winning bbq the two of them have always put out for the clovis and fresno community. Kim will be running their business as usual and putting out the same delicious food for you all to remember him by, and in his honor. It is extremely unfortunate to have lost a great man. The two of them built the business from the ground, traveling the U.S competing, catering for people all over the valley. The restaurant was kim and brents dream and we will never let his dream go. Thank you all for your support and we ask that you help his dream carry on.

Vegetarian4Me says:

How old was he? I remember seeing commercials for his restaurant and his food. Yeesh. Couldn’t have led to any kind of healthy life. R.I.P.

Chuck Evans says:

I met Brent and Kim when they were barely opening their restaurant in Clovis. Owning a BBQ business myself, I only wished them the best in their endeavor. Us folks who have made BBQ our life’s passion are a fraternity and in this BBQ world Brent will be missed.

Also brents bbqing was a hobby he took up after having a heart attack over ten years ago. It was thr best thing that could have happened to him it made him so happy

Vegetarian4me: brent would tell you, “if animals are your friends why do you keep eating. THEIR food” :)

Ray says:

Rest in peace. You were well liked and respected by all Brent. @Mark: That was uncalled for. As are any disrespectful soap-box comments. Please show some respect.

Vegetarian4me says:

@Ashley Engman, while his is an overused mantra of meat-eaters, I’ll entertain it by saying, the guy could have lived a lot longer had his diet not consisted of meat, meat, meat, barbecue sauce, meat, meat, etc… Based on the commercials, his restaurant and (many) others like it really perpetuated the idea that eating this way is okay. This was a huge disservice to the community, his family, and evidently, himself. I mean seriously? A hot dog stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, and DEEP FRIED!? (according to their website’s menu). People like this have the attitude of “life is too short, have fun eating”. Well, no – eating this way shortens your life. My screen name is just all it is. I’m not preaching the vegetarian lifestyle at all, but I do find eating this way is disgusting. Some would argue that it’s okay “occasionally”. But “occasionally” is a subjective term. I’m better off without meat entirely personally. It’s not for everybody. But it is a far more sustainable lifestyle, so I don’t think my animal friends mind sharing with me.

At above comment : your doing a huge disservice by disrespecting ME his daughter and law, his wife and our family. See your way off of this page , which is meant for support and mourning. Also judt because brent cooked this way does not mean thats all he ate. Uou are way out of line and a disgrace to this message board and community. Brent however will be feeding 500 people next week for charity, even him NOT being here because thats what he stood for and what he and my family are about. How DARE you. Have some compassion

Rob Albach says:

@vegetarian4me What a presumptuous little Chickens**t you are. Did you even know the man? Did you sit at his table 3 times a day and count caloric intake….? all you have are assumptions which given the circumstances are very unwarranted! If you’re going to have convictions…fine at least have the balls or ovaries to do it with your real name. Any person with a shred of decency would quickly apologize for posting such a hideous statement. I will not respond to further comment as comments should be reserved for people who knew him and have something postive to contribute!!
Brent you took me under your wing for a few hours…and it meant the world to me as a rookie competitor..Rest In Peace

Zara says:

Mr. Walton ran a successful local business and helped feed many a hungry tummy – including mine. Condolences to his family.

Ayden says:

At the risk of this blogger calling us trolls, I completely agree with Vegeterarian4me.

Its not like the guy died from a sudden attack of liver cancer, kidney stones, or the gout.

RIP Barbecue dude I used to see on the news all of the time….barbecuing.

Janise Demeusy says:

Brent was an amazing man!! I grew up with him and his late daughter Sara. He was my Dads best friend(John Beattie). I will always remember the good times at the Clovis house. You will be remembered just like I remember Sara. I Love you….xoxoxo

This wasn’t some bbq dude, this was FAMILY. To all of tou with an opinion which you shouldn’t be sharing at this difficult time, take it and shove it up your grass fed ASS. God has a plan and whether you like it or not you’re not safe from it, and for you to be posting on a memorial page of someone that you did not even have the pleasure of knowing shows how you live YOUR life. Eating a certain way will never make you a good person or give you a heart. Work on that.

Mike Oz says:

Alright everybody, I’m gonna step in here and ask that you please keep it respectful. It’s already gotten ugly. Please consider that a man has died and his family/friends are mourning.

There are plenty of other places on the Internet to go get a rise out of people if that’s your goal.

I have every right to not allow your comment if I think it’s over the line. I’m been letting you all police yourselves on this. Don’t make me get all moderator-ish on ya.

Ayden says:

“And because people are probably wondering: QN4U will remain open with Brent’s wife Kim in charge.”

This is most certainly a relief Thanks.
I’m hungry its almost lunch time and theres no point in this senseless death keeping us from getting our grub on.
Think I’ll go check out this place now. It must really be that good.

Ayden says:

Maybe the entertainment blog isnt the appropriate place for an impromptu memorial?
Maybe people can remember him how they see fit? Just a thought.

floydy says:

the mechanism in some people’s thought-process that causes them to be a contrarian when someone dies, and people are trying to memorialize them is motivated by the most petty part of the mind.

maybe offset it a bit by using an attributable name and not an alias, that’s one way to chip away at the honor-ability deficit inherent to your statements.

These users need to be disabled from leaving comments here. This is their (brent AND kim) livelihood, and my family. Ignorance and snide comments about a person so dear to me will not be tolerated. Completely out of line a ridiculous. Brent was a great man and anyone who knew him would remember him that way. Im sorry your life sucks that bad where you feel like you need to try and hurt a grieving family, but take it somewhere else.

Beth Bridges says:

Hi Ashley,

The Clovis Chamber is so sorry to hear about Brent :-(

Does the family realize that Saturday is Big Hat Days? It’s kinda fitting – we can all eat something delicious in his memory. But just let them know that parking and traffic might be tough. Big Hat Days runs until 6 p.m. on Saturday and the Rodeo Ground lot is used by BHD attendees.

If you haven’t already asked, maybe the Rodeo Assoc. would open up the staging area just for the memorial attendees?


Mike Oz says:

Ashley: You being combative toward them isn’t going to help. These kind of people are just trying to get a rise out of you. When you give them what they want, they come back for more.

I know emotions are running high for you and your family right now. Don’t let these folks get to you. That’s all they want.

Ayden says:

Mike, you already go moderator on us as it is. Going “moderator-ish” doesnt make you sound like any less of an unassuming a-hole.

Chris Matson says:

I am going to have a rack of ribs, corn bread, a green salad and a mug of beer. Then I am going to BURP really loud and sit back and pat my tummy then watch the sunset, all in the honor a great chef. R.I.P. A BBQ legend in Clovis, what better way to leave a legacy for his family. Great man. My family has your family in our thoughts and prayers, stay strong.

Beth we are using the rodeo grounds :) great minds think alike

chris oviedo says:

I worked for Brent about 18 years ago doing AC work. Real Good man. Thank all you who gave the negative comments it let’s me no how not to be and what not to say. If it wasn’t for you negative people I would be one to!

Debbie Terry says:

I had known Brent since High School, from Mtn. View to San Jose to Eagle Mountain to Fresno. He was a loving caring family and I will truely miss him. I enjoyed his cooking for many years. My sincerest sympathy to Kim, Jannelle, Kent, Debbie and the rest of the Walton Gang.
Rest in Peace my dear friend.

Jerry Dodd says:

Rest my friend….. you made memories for many. you will be missed…….

Dave Fansler says:

I was very sad to hear about Brents death. He was a man that was obsessed with his own search of excellence in BBQ. I believe that to be a noble endeavor since the final goal of that endeavor was soley to please people in a way that also brought him enjoyment and satisfaction. My sincere condolences to his family,

Mark says:

You can definitely say the gentleman died doing what he loved. Not many can be so lucky. RIP

Two DIps (Jim) says:

We had spent the weekend prior to this tragedy working with Brent,Dan,Justin and crew at the ACM awards. Saying this was a complete SHOCK doesn’t even come close. As full of life and energetic as he was there was no way we saw this coming. He was generous and would help anyone, he was competitive (we even compared stent counts) and took family very seriously. I saw the gleam in his eyes when I mentioned Montana and he started talking about going there. He really got going when he and Dan were talking about their Canada comps and the funny things that happened there. You know, it’s funny how much you can get to know people when you’re with them for 5 days straight!
We will certainly miss him, the BBQ world lost a great friend,mentor and competitor Saturday and the business world lost someone who believed in providing the best food he could, always to his high standards.
Brent, if you’re up there watching what’s going on I just finished that clamshell of bbq beans we took home and like I told you when you made ‘em they were FANTASTIC!
Really going to miss your chef’s skill!
Rest easy buddy, everyone will be up to see you at some point, I’ll expect some of your great ‘que when I get there!

Denise Fox says:

I work at QN4U for a short while in the kitchen and did get to know Brent a little. He was a good man with a big heart. I’m so sorry for Kim and her family for their loss.

darrell says:

Brent was a very good business man, i had the pleasure to work with him on his advertising. His creativity was unmatched by others. He was always imitated but never duplicated.

If you havent had any of the food, get in there. I suggest THE BEST BURGER EVER, everyone claims to have the best, but i would put money on this one in vegas.!!!

As for these comments, this is the reason why i hate fresno and looking to move. THis is also the reason why i dont order the Fresno Bee to my house or partake in their social media (ABC30 included). Anything good is always shot down with negativity.

Long Live the King of Q !!!

Mike Oz says:

OK, people, here’s the deal — I’m getting tired of patrolling this thread because people can’t behave. There have been a number of comments I haven’t allowed out of consideration for Brent and his family.

I’m almost ready to close commenting altogether, but people are leaving some nice remembrances, so I’m giving you all one last chance.

- Attack Brent, his family or his restaurant.
- Attack/argue with other commenters.
- Write a restaurant review. Go to Yelp.
- Use this as a soapbox for your agenda.

If you must: Say mean things about me or The Bee (Hi, Darrell). We can handle it.

Now play nice, please.

Sabrina says:

I have been eating at Qn4u for the last three years and I always saw Brent and Kim there. I will regret not introducing myself and my family and telling him how much we loved his food. I am ashamed for these people saying impolite things just to get attention from anonymous people. Someone’s family and friends(and fans) are grieving and people should have a little more compassion and respect for that. I for one, am sorry for the communities loss…

Chuck says:

R.I.P Brent you were a awesome man! you made great food and you will be missed!!

Mark says:

Brent was a nice man and dont let this be a reminder of how you’re gonna go out.

Dude dont be a control freak. It wouldve been nice to respond to my attackers so keep up the censorship. Makes sense to take down my comment but leave my attackers up.

Michelle says:

He was the kind of person everyone enjoyed being around.
He loved his family.

ntbc says:

Brent was a wonderful man,friend,and chef. He and kim treated me like family and taught me alot about bbq. It is unfortunate that we didnt get to say goodbye, but in the bright side atleast one day we will get to say hello again. Kim,nick,troy,ash, stay strong! will my prayers and love. ntbc..

najera559 says:

Brent was such an awesome man and I will always be thankful for him and Kim as they gave me a chance and started my career when they owned thier AC business. It has been years since I’ve talked to them but they were often on my mind. It’s definitely heart breaking to know that we lost such a great man.

anonymous says:

so the GOOD comments about the restaurant get posted, but the bad ones get censored.

that’s what passes for a nicely balanced view at the bee, i guess.

Mike Oz says:

This is not a thread for restaurant reviews. If you want to anonymously bash the restaurant, go to Yelp or some other restaurant review site.

jhsdhs says:

Never met him but saw his instructional videos on TV…impressed with his complete knowledge of barbeque…big loss, prayers with the Walton family during this very difficult time

fresnobites says:

If you are at all aware of the BBQ competition circuit, Brent was well respected competitor, pioneer and advocate.

On a human level though, any man (or woman) who is willing to take their passion or hobby to the next level (be it greasy meat, curing cancer or otherwise) and invest their life and all of their material resources to it is to be respected to some degree.

My condolences to his family and close friends.

michelle adams/roenicke says:

My friendship with Brent and his family stem back MANY years. Brent loved family, friends,and living every day to the fullest. He was one of those kind of people that everyone needs in their lives-that sunshine on a rainy day. So sorry to hear of him passing-he was an awesome guy!

Gille Family says:

Brent and Kim have long been friends. He was, and they are, wonderful, hard-working folk who were brave enough to open restaurants during a recession! Brent will be missed by our family so much. Randy is driving up from SoCal as I type. May all of the Walton extended family know that they are in our thoughts and prayers. Stay strong for Kim and the kids.

C and Randy Gille

James and Silvi says:

We have known the family for years and we are just as equally shocked as everyone else. Brent was a great family man and a wonderfull friend. He will be missed dearly. RIP Brent.
Kim- carry on the dream and we love you.

Jay Petersen says:

Brent was a great cooker. I helped to sponsor him on his trip to the Kansas City barbecue Festival nearly 10 years ago. He was a good person and I loved his cooking. I’m so sorry for your loss. His recipes will help his memory live on. God bless.

Nikkie says:

I really can’t believe the awful petty comments I’ve read on this. I’m ashamed of the vegetarians that have commented on this page and although we might share the same beliefs in animal rights, I’m glad to be able to say that my parents also taught me love and compassion for all of Gods creations. My father is a fan of the business and one took me in once, and even when he joked about me not eating meat the servers were sweet and helpful in trying to find me something great on the menu. My thoughts and prayers are with the family, and I truly hope they find comfort in each other and in the loving comments left here.

June Bug says:

You were not born with any tact, were you? You are a very tacky, classless person.

Terrie says:

i just heard about Mr. Walton’s death on the ABC news report of the restaurant closing?
i am so sad to hear all of this…my prayers are with Mrs. Walton and her family, as one who suddenly lost my mom then 15 months lost my dad and 9 months after i lost one of my sisters….yeah, the pain cuts deep…
what i cannot believe is that people were commenting so many mean things here? i was like OMG!? the family is grieving? then i realized it was from vegetarians, little or not protein to the brains, and they want us to conform to their beliefs?
oh, well…i am a landitarian and a seafoodatarian…i do like my veggies and fruits too, don’t get me wrong…..but yeah, its all good…and Mr. Walton knew how to make it all tasty!
but again, i am so sorry to hear about everything you and your family are going thru? if i knew about this i would have eaten there for lunch today, as i was in clovis this morning and afternoon….
i don’t watch much tv and just recieved this alert from my fb wall….
i found this and thought i would just put my 2 cents in express my condolences….my husband took me and my 2 sons in to eat there one time, we got there right before the lunch rush hit and we had a wonderful time! great food and the service was absolutely wonderful!
after we were done, my husband took me to meet Brent and his beautiful wife (although at the time i thought she was his way younger girlfriend!)
nice people i thought to myself, and i remember waving to him good bye as he was BBQ’ing on the side in the back….
and i guess that is a nice sweet thought for me, remembering him like that, waving good bye as he was doing something he really enjoyed doing…
yes, he will be missed and so will his restaurant…. :(
just glad you are going to keep the catering business open….that will be a good thing, maybe in time you can do the restaurant thing again, but that would totally be up to you if that is something you would want to do? <3