Posted by: Eating The Road | December 5, 2009

BBQ Pitmasters on TLC

TLC Has a new reality “docu-series” titled BBQ Pitmasters. It debuted Thursday night and initially has 8 episodes. It follows 6 BBQ chefs around the US at various competitions.

The episode was centered around the inaugural Smokin’ in Mesquite Nevada Open BBQ Championship that took place September 4th – 6th, 2009 in Mesquite, Nevada.

At first I was quite skeptical of another cooking show and another reality show. How many of these things can the Food Network, Bravo, Travel Channel, TLC, Discovery Channel,etc. continue to pump out. Whenever something is a small success they suck the genre dry (anyone remember who won American Inventor?) I didn’t have much faith in TLC and this new offering but before I get ahead of myself let’s meet the 6 chefs. (Note: if you don’t want to know the results do not read any further).

Myron Mixon “The King”
Team Name: Jack’s Old South
Location: Unadilla, GA
Name/style of pit: Jacks Old South Indirect Water Smokern
Overall competition winnings: $683,489
Favorite dish to cook: Whole Hog
Secret tip:
Select High Quality Meat Before BBQing

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Johnny Trigg “The Godfather”
Team Name:
Smokin Triggers
Location: Alvarado, TX
Name/style of pit: Jambo,26” Offset
Overall competition winnings: $593,817
Favorite dish to cook: Ribs
Secret tip: Good quality meat

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Tuffy Stone “The Professor”
Team Name: Cool Smoke
Name/style of pit: Jambo Pit, offset style pit and I use hickory wood.
Overall competition winnings: $172,822
Favorite dish to cook: Chicken
Secret Tip: Wrap your meat with aluminum foil after it has nice color. Then finish cooking until done. This will prevent over smoking.

BLANK SPACE

Harry Soo “The Challenger”
Team Name: Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ
Location: Diamond Bar, CA
Name/style of pit: Weber Bullet Smoker
Overall competition winnings: $24,938 in 2009
Favorite dish to cook: Spareribs
Secret Tip: Cooking BBQ from the heart with love and intention. Practice, practice, practice.

Lee Ann Whippen “The Queen of Q”
Team Name:
Wood Chick’s BBQ
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Name/style of pit: Jedmaster (rotisserie) and Green Egg Ceramic Smokers
Overall competition winnings: $174,336
Favorite dish to cook: Shrimp stuffed with Crabmeat.
Secret tip: When cooking and deciding on a recipe to cook, don’t substitute with low calorie.

Paul Petersen “The Rookie”
Team Name: Pablo Diablo BBQ Team
Location: McKinney, Texas
Name/style of pit: David Klose Pits – Custom Built Offset Smoker
Overall competition winnings: $0
Favorite dish to cook: Ancho Glazed Quail with Fried Quail Egg

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The first competition had four categories, Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork and Beef Brisket as well as the Overall  category with the Grand Master Award going to the chef with the greatest total score. The Grand Master does not necessarily have to place high in each given category but must have the most accumulative points.

There does not seem to be a designated preparation method for the meats as some cooked whole chickens some just cooked thighs. Some used Wagyū beef and others did not. There are certain standards and guidelines they must meet, like no prep or marinades prior to the competition, but other than that it’s pretty wide open. There is a ten minute window where they must supply the entry to the judges in a white Styrofoam box with only a small garnish of lettuce. If they are even a second late they are disqualified. No one missed the time window but Cool Smoke was with 23 seconds.

The judges receive the entries “blind” and do not know one from the other. They’ve all gone through extensive training on what to look for in BBQ. They look for the presentation of the meat, the tenderness and taste. They want to taste the meat and not the sauce.

Here are the standings in the individual categories as well as the overall:

Chicken
4 – Myron Mixon – Jack’s Old South ($250)*
6 – Tuffy Stone – Cool Smoke ($100)
8 – Johnny Trigg – Smokin Triggers ($100)
20 – LeeAnn Whippen – Wood Chicks BBQ ($0)
35 – Harry Soo – Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ ($0)
47 – Paul Petersen – Pablo Diablo BBQ ($0)

Pork Ribs
4 – Harry Soo – Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ ($125)
5 – Tuffy Stone – Cool Smoke ($125)
10 – LeeAnn Whippen – Wood Chicks BBQ ($100)
22 – Johnny Trigg – Smokin Triggers ($0)
23 – Myron Mixon – Jack’s Old South ($0)*
47 – Paul Petersen – Pablo Diablo BBQ ($0)

Pork
2 – Johnny Trigg – Smokin Triggers ($1000)
3 – Myron Mixon – Jack’s Old South ($500)*
14 – Harry Soo – Slap Yo’ Daddy ($100)
19 – Tuffy Stone – Cool Smoke ($0)
24 – LeeAnn Whippen – Wood Chicks BBQ ($0)
33 – Paul Petersen – Pablo Diablo BBQ ($0)

Brisket
2 – Myron Mixon – Jack’s Old South ($1000)*
11 – Johnny Trigg – Smokin Triggers ($100)
13 – Harry Soo – Slap Yo’ Daddy ($100)
19 – Johnny Trigg – Cool Smoke ($0)
33 – LeeAnn Whippen – Wood Chicks BBQ ($0)
46 – Paul Petersen – Pablo Diablo BBQ ($0)

Overall
1 – Myron Mixon – Jack’s Old South ($11,750)* – Grand Master
3 – Johnny Trigg – Smokin Triggers ($3700)
4 – Tuffy Stone – Cool Smoke ($850)
13 – Harry Soo – Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ ($450)
26 – LeeAnn Whippen – Wood Chicks BBQ ($100)
47 – Paul Petersen – Pablo Diablo BBQ ($0)

They did fairly well considering there were 47 competitors and 3 of the top 5 were from the bunch. These are the results posted during the show but when I was looking into the standings I noticed that they were slightly different and I couldn’t find Jack’s Old South listed anywhere. Digging deeper I found the following statement from the Kansas City BBQ Society:

“The KCBS Board is hereby requested by Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South competition cooking team, whom upon discovering an inadvertent error in registering for two contests on the same date, under the same name, and to further the Spirit of BBQ competition and the Creed of KCBS that the results of each contest be modified to award the Reserve Grand Champion in each case the Grand Championship, and all other places be corrected accordingly. Jack’s Old South wants to do what is right and honorable thing.

Myron Mixon stated he made a mistake in filling out his applications and he is sorry for that. Jack’s Old South was meeting an obligation and promise he made to a friend and organizer of the Myrtle Beach, SC contest several months ago. After that the TLC BBQ Reality Show came along and it was a fast paced deal. Myron Mixon never intended to get or want points from two contests. The KCBS Board stated Myron Mixon has never done anything but promote BBQ and KCBS and other BBQ events. Myron Mixon and Jack’s Old South is a team of integrity that loves BBQ and the competition and will compete by the rules of any organization and abide by those rules. Vote: 11 yes, 0 no, 0 abstentions”

So Myron removed himself from the competition and returned his winnings. The result is that all other competitors move up one place in ranking and some have earned a little more, but none of this is mentioned in the show.

Overall I really enjoyed the show. The cast of characters is a good mix. You have the old master in Johnny Trigg, the cocky but deservedly so Myron Mixon, the cocky and not deservedly so rookie Paul Petersen, the lovable underdog Harry Soo, the lovable but tough girl that fits in with the guys in LeeAnn Whippen, and the all around nice guy Tuffy Stone. The episode included a little excitement with a flat tire on a trailer, a hail storm, broken BBQs, fires going out and a whole lot of good looking food.

Here are a few memorable quotes:

“I ain’t afraid $%&# ‘cept my daddy…and he’s dead. If I don’t bother you, you don’t bother me. It’s about f@$%^&# winning. Everybody’s not Michael Jordan, everybody’s not Tiger Woods and they DAMN sure ain’t me. There’s no f@$%^&# way you can beat me.” – Myron Mixon

“I’m a woman in a man’s world. Do not get near me, do not talk to me when I’m competing. Do NOT underestimate me” – LeeAnn Whippen

“These BBQ guys don’t know how to do this. I don’t believe that there’s anybody out there that can cook like I can. I’m faster than anybody, I’m more effecient than anybody. I’m a young gun to the BBQ competition circuit but I AM the grill master. I’m the Johnny Cash of cooking because I’m nothing but rock and roll. I’m actually looked at as one of the best chefs in Texas. I try to keep it humble…but people know. I’m going to cook circles around these guys…seriously, with my eyes closed” – Paul Petersen (he placed 47th of 47)

“He don’t win sh&@. He’s a good guy though…a good guy to beat up on. He ain’t no rival, $%#!%^#&@ can’t even shine my shoes.” – Myron Mixon on Paul Petersen

“What the hell’s this all about Tuffy, you going to wipe his ass too?” – Johnny Trigg on Tuffy having to park Paul’s RV and trailer.

“I looked around over there and I saw Harry Soo meditating…I didn’t know how to take that ’cause we don’t do that s^&# down in Georgia. Thought it’s supposed to be getting him in sync with his environment, whatever to beat my ass. He was wasting his meditatin’ time.” – Myron Mixon

There are all the different stereotypes that you want to root for and the ones you want to see lose. Personally I love the guy that thinks he’s the best because he is the best, as Myron does and is.I also love to see the new cocky guy lose as what happens with Paul. I’m not sure if they follow the same cast of chefs during all 8 competitions but I know I’d love to see these same 6 throughout the series.

They do a good job of educating the viewer on the BBQing process and what it takes to make the difference between a mediocre finished product and something that will win competitions. I know I’ll be watching every single one of the first 8 episodes. I’m pretty sure the next episode is Whole Hog, and I’m looking forward to that. The only problem with this show is that it makes you hungry for some BBQ.

Some of the other competitions look like they’ll be the Big Pig Jig in Vienna, Ga (I’m pretty sure that’s the upcoming episode), as well as ones in Alabama, Illinois, Missouri and Delaware. The show airs Thursday nights on TLC at 10:00 PM EST.

Update: I’ve compiled a list of what looks like the upcoming competitions. I’ve included links to their sites along with links to the results. Do not click on the results link if you don’t want to know the outcome until the show airs.

Decatur Jaycees 15th Annual Riverfest
Location: Decatur, Alabama
Date: September 17-19, 2009
Categories: Chicken, Ribs, Pork & Brisket
Total Competitors: 59
Promoter: Kansas City Barbeque Society
WebsiteResults

Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-Off State Championship
Location: Murphysboro, Illinois
Date: September 24-26, 2009
Categories: Chicken, Ribs, Pork & Brisket
Total Competitors: 44
Promoter: Kansas City Barbeque Society
WebsiteResults

30th Annual American Royal Barbecue Open
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Date: October 2-3, 2009
Categories: Chicken, Ribs, Pork & Brisket
Total Competitors: 473
Promoter: Kansas City Barbeque Society
WebsiteResults

American Royal Invitational BBQ Contest
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Date: October 2-3, 2009
Categories: Chicken, Ribs, Pork & Brisket
Total Competitors: 119
Promoter: Kansas City Barbeque Society
WebsiteResults

Diamond State BBQ Championship
Location: Dover, Delaware
Date: October 16-17, 2009
Categories: Chicken, Ribs, Pork & Brisket
Total Competitors: 81
Promoter: Kansas City Barbeque Society
WebsiteResults

Big Pig Jig
Location: Vienna, Georgia
Date: November 6-7, 2009
Categories: Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder & Whole Hog
Total Competitors: 100
Promoter: Memphis Barbecue Network
WebsiteResults

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Responses

  1. Terrific indepth review well done!

  2. Nice! Good Job. I won’t read who places later on though, want to be surprised!

  3. Hey ETR,

    Thanks for checking out my post on the show
    http://meatwagonbbq.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-i-learned-from-tlcs-bbq-pitmasters.html

    Interesting to find out about the mix up with Jack’s Old South. The show gives you some idea how serious these people take their BBQ, but then you see an official KCBS release and you realize how serious it REALLY is. Excellent research.

    • Definitely. Thanks for stopping by. I’m looking forward to the next episode.

  4. Great stuff!! Thanks for the extras…

  5. first saw myron mixon on another show about a year ago.seemed like an okay guy,not the foulmouthed blowhard I saw on pitmasters.the man could not speak a sentence without the words ass or damn laced throughout and saying how he only loses because of lousy judges.I don’t doubt the man’s talent on the grill,but he seems to put forth two different faces. which one is him ? if it’s the pitmasters windbag then I don’t need to watch anymore.


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