Day 20-25 Days of BBQ Blogging
Q- How did you meet Harry and get involved with him on the TLC BBQ Pitmasters?
GN- I first met Harry at a BBQ competition and we became friends from that moment. I am truly his biggest fan. Harry and I have worked together a few times. He was helping me out on a catering gig and he tells me about the TLC show. He was unsure of how he was going to get his stuff everywhere. So I told him I am not working (at a Company) right now. I can put my catering on hold. However I did ask him if an emergency arises- you fly me home. We worked it out and it just ended up being an awesome experience. Things are meant to happen for a reason. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Q- How many miles did you drive Harry Soo’s stuff?
GN-I drove just over 10,000 miles – from Mesquite NV class to where we ended at Myrons class. I didn’t have time for special trips other than a trip up to Chicago when we were heading to Murphysboro to visit with my friend from Anthrax.
Q- What was your favorite contest out of all of them?
GN- It would have to be Dover because I cooked that one. However the most fun was Murphysboro. It was my first introduction to MIM style of cooking and I fell in love with that.
Q- What have you thought of some of the comments on the TLC BBQ Pitmasters show from the BBQ forums?
GN- It’s not about just the best cooks. You have to be interesting. Reading about the complaints annoys me. First of all it’s a TV show. It’s not about every team out there. For example-I have no interest in wedding cakes or anything to do with cake but I love this show cake boss because it has nothing to do with the cake- but the people. Just like on this show- it is about the characters and BBQ. It keeps me interested. What we do is kind of boring (i.e.-watching a 16 hour brisket) and repetitive, however the people are what makes it interesting.
Q-Do you think Harry taught the other competitors anything?
GN- I can tell you this that Harry was able to show Jamie and Johnny something but I don’t want to give it away. There are a lot of things competitive BBQ’ers could learn if they carefully watch the show.
Q-Do you think you learned anything from doing the show?
GN- Absolutely. There were lots of opportunities to learn. I did pick up a new cuisinart electric knife. I also liked learning of some of the stories on how to recover my meat. There are lots of tips and tricks you can learn from the show.
Q- How do you feel about Harry?
GN- Harry is the IT guy where everything is 123, abc. He is so smart. I think he is a terrific person. I would drop anything to help him out. He calls me his best BBQ brother. There have been some times were he has shared life wisdom. He makes me think of things. He is the wisest person I have ever known. I find it fascinating to hear his points of view. The average person can relate to Harry more than anyone else on the show. He doesn’t have the huge expensive RV and the expensive pits. He has a mini van and WSM’s. Everyone can relate to that.
Q- Why do you believe in BBQ Karma?
GN- Its true and I do believe in it. Good things happen when you help each other out. In Dover I had a full set up of borrowed equipment. I put a call out on the Brethren forum. That’s how it works. That’s BBQ Karma. It’s not a joke.
Q- What BBQ products do you like to use?
GN- I am a big fan of Mike Davis Lotta Bull products. He also really helped me with Strube ranch products. He is a fantastic guy that I think highly of. He is a straight shooter. He is such a good-hearted kind person.
Q- If there were any classes you would like to take?
Q- Whose class has had the most impact on your results?
GN- I took Myron Mixon’s Class and I had good immediate results with the instructions that I received.
Q- How many competitions would you like to do this year?
GN- Depending on my catering schedule I would still like to do 10 this year. Due to the show I feel really that I want to get out there more. Actually my goal is always to get out there and beat Harry Soo. I am going to get you Harry Soo I want to mop the floor with him I am gunning for him (he says laughing).
GN- I have to still work on the one bite mentality. I am used to doing catering where a person will enjoy a whole plate of my food but not just one bite.
Q- What was one of the benefits in working with Harry Soo?
GN- I got to see most of Harry’s prep and his procedures. I learned a lot.
Q- What is your goal for 2010 in competition?
GN- I just want to beat Harry Soo. He is so good. Actually I also want to be the #1 brisket cook in California. I would also like to get my first Grand Championship. I am the Grand Champion of partying at BBQ comps. I think I have learned now I can do it in my own backyard.
Q- Who did you want to meet the most and who were you closest with other than Harry?
GN- I wanted to meet Myron the first second I could. He is an awesome guy. He is like the Michael Jordan of BBQ. Out of everyone I would think that (besides Harry) I got along most with Paul. We are closer in age and we like the same types of music.
Q- What has frustrated you since doing the show?
GN- People that don’t support it. I don’t understand it. There are competitions that are no longer occurring there are comps that can’t get people. We are still in a recession and this is going to draw people to the competitions, to the sauces and the rubs and everything else BBQ related. This is the best BBQ show there ever has been. We need to support it as much as possible.
Q- Were there any moments on the show you felt were staged?
GN- Absolutely not. I can say that from the moment I got up and saw everything that was going on nothing was staged. The only thing was that sometimes when we were having conversations (just a few of us talking sharing stories bs’ing )a producer would ask us to stop so they could bring over a camera man to shoot it. Another thing the Johnny Trigg and drunk guy part (Episode #2) was most definitely not staged. I was right there. I learned that day that drunk idiots are attracted to TV cameras like moths are to porch lights. It cracks me up to read that things were set up. I was there it wasn’t.
Q- What moments from the show and travelling surprised you?
GN- I saw so many people going over to the Jambo pits getting their pictures taken with them. Jamies pits are gorgeous. I want a Jambo. Due to the catering I do it is so eye catching. It’s awesome. It’s like you are pulling up with a Lamborghini. They get noticed and they are great cookers. They are not nearly as expensive as people think they are. The paint jobs are amazing.
Q- How did you get started in BBQ?
GN- There was bad BBQ in San Diego. I got tired of paying for it.
Q- What was your first BBQ?
GN- An ECB (EL Cheapo Brinkman) I got it as a corporate gift for the company I was working from. I did mods to it. I got it to work well for me. Then I got a WSM. After that I built a UDS (ugly drum smoker) that was fun. Lastly I got a spicewine. I also use a lang I borrow from a friend for catering jobs.
GN- Where did you learn about BBQ?
Q- I have no formal culinary training the internet has been a great resource. You have to source out the nuggets of gold from all the rest of the crap. Thank God for the internet.
Q- Do you have any sponsors for your BBQ team?
GN-Gringo Bandito Hot sauce. It is owned by Dexter Holland from the offspring.
Q- What kinds of wood do you like to use?
GN- I Like a little bit of hickory, cherry but mostly I use California Red Oak Charcoal that is made custom for me.
Q- What type of ribs do you use?
Q- What are your favourite and least favourite types of meat to cook at a competition?
GN- I would say by far brisket is my favourite. My least would have to be ribs. They are so hard for me. Your window for perfection is so small. It’s a challenge.
*someone needs to tell these guys that the RED thermapen is the fastest most accurate one.
Q- What did your family think of the show?
GN- My parents used to show dogs so they understood. My mom really said it best- You are paying for someone’s opinion whether you like it or not. She really liked seeing other teams supportive of each other. My son doesn`t get it he has just turned 5 and a half. So hopefully this year he can come out with us competing. Then he will understand it more. My wife is really supportive and she gets that I have a need to do this. She likes it. I am lucky.
Q- How would you describe each of the cast members of the TLC BBQ Pitmasters show?
Tuffy– The Nicest Guy in the world. Comes around and wishes everyone luck. Fantastic cook & Chef. No ego whatsoever. Great Guy.
Paul Petersen– A phenomenal chef. A great BBQ’er despite what you see. Great guy
Lee Ann Whippen– A force to be reckoned with. Great Lady. She will kick your ass while you are still admiring how pretty she is.
Jamie Geer– Nicest Texan I have ever met. I have pages and pages of “Jamieisms” He is an absolute comedian.
Johnny Triggs– Kindest, wisest most intimidating BBQ cook out there. He and his wife are great people.
Myron Mixon– Absolute BBQ Genius. I am happy to call him my friend now. He has forgotten more about BBQ than anyone in the world.
Harry Soo– I could give you paragraphs about him. For a guy who is Asian and from California to do what he has done in 2 years. Wow. He will be the guy at some point he will win the Royal and the Jack in the same year. There will be at some point a Harry Soo method (like the minion method, or the Muffin pan method) I can see it happening. He is a legend in the making.
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