Once again executive producer John Markus is putting BBQ on TV. This time however its the major network CBS! This will potentially be the largest audience ever to watch a BBQ competition. John seems to be doing all he can to bring BBQ to the forefront of folks minds on TV. Hate it, love it, like it, or tolerate it JM has done more for putting BBQ on TV than any other person. It surely hasn’t been easy.
Arm chair critics en masse made many seriously derogatory remarks about past formats, the venues, the type of BBQ being made and heck even the people participating. He has seriously taken many lashings from the vocal competitive BBQ community. Despite having almost a million people tune in each episode from past seasons of BBQ Pitmasters he still seems to be fighting to get BBQ on tv. The good thing for all of us – he hasn’t given up. I have a feeling this may be his best work yet. Real BBQ in real situations in real time with judges who have credentials that can’t be beat.
I can’t wait to watch it.
At the invitation of Huck’s Hut We did an interview for a podcast with John Markus to talk about the show. The link to the show and the entire interview is: http://www.huckshut.com/2011/05/26/in-the-hut-special-edition-episode-4/ Also folks can subscribe to receive the podcasts via itunes here:
Some of the highlights of the interview:
What sets this show apart from the previous shows (BBQ Pitmasters seasons 1&2 etc) that you have done prior?
JM: This show is the 5th incarnation. It is the culmination of the shows from the past presented in the way that I wanted. It is set apart by the judging as well:
The Judging – its really distinct from everything else- Mike Lake .. well Mike is sorta like the Eiffel tower of judging he is a landmark guy full of integrity, Chris Lilly is now becoming the Lance Armstrong of winning – with his win of the MIM and Dr. BBQ – integrity & authentic judging.
Is CBS less over your shoulder than TLC?
JM: CBS in partnership with TBS was totally hands off. This is the kind of freedom I got from Cosby show. I had freedom to set up. They did not get up on set. Kingsford Marketing department was really a delight. We only had budgetary constraints.
Why are you so beloved of Myron?
I have admiration of Myron as a personality. I called him up and after I saw the first cut of the show. You know Myron – you are not an angel. You came off as a bad guy and Myron said “good”. Thats is a guy that is ok alienating some people and he is a character I have a lot of affection for. I reserve a special place for him and he is old school. He has a tremendous amount of integrity and how he conducts his business and cook.
What projects are you currently working on ?
JM: I am working on a script for a sitcom : 3 generations of a BBQ family in Alabama I pitch in a couple of weeks I’d like to call it : Love Death & BBQ
From Clint Cantwell Smoke in Da Eye :
Memorial Day weekend is going to get a whole lot hotter as CBS unveils The Ultimate BBQ Showdown. Airing at 2pm ET on Saturday, May 28th, this one hour special pits four seasoned outdoor cooks against one another in a live competition barbecue setting. Joining the battle for bragging rights, the Kingsford Cup and a whole lot of cash are the “winning-est man in BBQ,” Myron Mixon; the professor himself, Tuffy Stone; Neil “My friends call me Bigmista” Strawder; and the guy who put Bubba in Bub-Ba-Q, Bubba Latimer. Who’ll rise above the smoke and flames? You’ll have to tune in to see!
* Make sure to check out Clints You Tube account for the video trailer for the Ultimate BBQ Showdown!
Chris Lilly (Big Bob Gibsons) , Ray Lampe (Dr. BBQ) , and Mike Lake (Past president KCBS) all are seasoned bbq Veterans and they all know what it takes to compete. Without question these are serious BBQ judges. They know their stuff inside and out. There is no question of credentials here.
William ” Bubba ” Latimer & Shannon Latimer
I asked Bubba for a few of his thoughts on the show:
What was your experience like on the Ultimate BBQ Showdown?
WBL: It was absolutely incredible. The format of the show was just – I think it was what a lot of people are looking for in a BBQ show. Its a no bullshit set up. We have a timer we have meats to cook and that’s it.
How was your experience?
WBL: If they called me today I would go in a heartbeat- if they called me to drive to Kansas tonight I would. The food network thing was more profiling the BBQ and all that but this was taken to a complete other level. I wouldn’t even think twice about it. It was just too cool. One of the things I liked is that it was just the 4 of us. Four well seasoned cooks and at any given point at time anyone could have won the show. I think everyone turned in great food. We were able to do it and have a good time with it. There was some smack talk. Some of the intriguing things was that it was made like it was as instructional as possible. The viewing public will want to see it whether it be a pro or anyone in their backyard – it is geared towards anyone.
Why did you do the show?
WBL: I did the show realistically because I am into all BBQ stuff. We have had former experiences doing TV like this but the fact that it was more realistic other than Pitmasters was great. When John Markus told us about the concept it was just the more realistic show that I could think of. It wasn’t staged. It wasn’t scripted. Just like all of us going out competing. Very nice to know there was a monetary prize. No one upfront knew that there was a money prize. Mentioned there was a trophy but not money that wasn’t the reason for going. Honestly it wasn’t a reason for me. It seemed real. The fact that we were on an uncontrolled set made it that much more interesting. From me to my cooker to the plastic fence was a foot. The general public was there. There was 10,000 + ppl there passing by. So different than being on a controlled set like Pitmasters. You knew you were there for a real contest.
Which show did you like better BBQ Pitmasters or Ultimate BBQ Showdown?
WBL: Showdown – hands down. I would do it again in a heartbeat no matter what anyone has to say. It is not at all a good thing to see someone go home. This one (Ultimate)I like the fact that it is limited time frame. What I liked most is that there just wasn’t any bullshit. To me that summed the whole thing up. On pitmasters there was no down time it was just go go go go go and you get distracted. Once they tell you whats going on the show thats it. Take off and go. On Ultimate BBQ Showdown there was level food all the way across for all competitors. Nobody had an advantage food wise.
As a couple team with your wife Shannon – how is your experience different than others?
This is definitely a little different – the pitmaster is always the main cook and then you have that assistant with you – this had short time frames so she was more involved with what was going on. Probably the best experience for us cooking together. There is a lot of drama happening in a short period of time. Knowing that it just needs to get taken care of. She has always brought something to the table. This one felt like we really worked more together. When we compete on the road I feel like I do more alone. But this one I really relied on her. Part of it has to be because of the format. I absolutely loved it.
With both of us there it was really cool..
What did you think of the Judges?
Well the nice thing is we are talking about well qualified judges. Chris Lilly and Dr. BBQ – guys that have years of expertise in BBQ from judging from competing to operating a restaurant to all around being involved with BBQ Its not someone who just enjoys the food. Really know what they talk about. Mike Lake- has trained who knows how many judges. I don’t think you could have any better non biased judging.
Neil “Bigmista” Strawder
Neil had just arrived in Phoenix Arizona for a Fresh & Easy TV appearance and is currently slated to do multiples of store appearances with Fresh & Easy. These are a few of his thoughts on the show.
How was your experience on the show?
NS: It was a lot of fun. Really great. Talked a lot of smack. Had a few adult beverages. We all enjoyed each other. It was really easy to be there. We even liked the judging.
Do you think it will appeal to more non BBQ people?
NS: I think it will appeal to a lot of people. A little more laid back. There are no strange ingredients just a couple of little twists. Nothing a person could not handle – no alligator. It was a fun cook.
Why did you do the show? How did you get on the show?
NS: They asked me. (he says laughing) It sounded like fun. When they told me about it – I asked how much would it be like BBQ Pitmasters. They promised I would not have to cook strange ingredients. Its not going to an actual KCBS contest but it was closer to KCBS. NO insane pressure . We were in the parking lot of the final 4 in Houston. I got a chance to go see my Mom in Galveston-it was a no brainer for me.
Who cooked with you on the show?
NS: I had my friend George from pitmaker .com and he brought me this beautiful cooker. He is a good cook in his own right. He was a soldier. He had it in my hand alredy. Mad props to that. While everyone else drove in I flew in and it was easier on me.
What sets this apart from BBQ Pitmasters?
NS: Well for one the judges are all BBQ guys. There is no “celebrity” judges or chefs. The people there know BBQ. Cooking for them was great. Those guys are all masters. That was a big part of it right there.
Would you do the show again if given the chance?
NS: In a heartbeat.
Jack’s Old South
Saturday May 28, 2011- 2pm CBS