Posts Tagged ‘Pitmasters’

Traeger Grilling and Chilling weekend June 5

I have been looking forward to this for a long time- it is going to be so much fun.

Its a package deal Traeger has put together with the weekend sponsor Big Rock Brewery. Traeger Grilling and Chilling !!

Just a note this is open to ALL BBQ owners gas charcoal etc all are welcome!!

For $150.00 you can get a room, 2 pitmasters BBQ sessions, catered BBQ meal by the award winning Simcoe County Smokers, Boat Cruise, and BBQ Ambassador jacket .  Fantastic Deal!! Plus if you have a spouse or significant other they can come for only $50.00 for the meal and boat cruise.

Traeger Grilling & Chilling Weekend Midland

Please contact the Traeger office if you would like to sign up : 1-866-415-8159

Throwing my Hat in the Ring : BBQ Pitmasters

Well I never made any secret of it. I made a DVD and am submitting it to BBQ pitmasters today. I have no clue if I fit the bill or if I will get to be on it but I at least can say I tried. Its better to have tried and failed then never to have tried at all. Who knows if they want a mom of 3 from the suburbs. I don’t come from a BBQ background. I didn’t grow up in the South. I didn’t even try really great BBQ until  a few short years ago.  Plus theres that whole I am a Canadian Chick in the pits thing. Oh and seriously I don’t look a model. I don’t own a jambo. I use pellets and charcoal. I don’t have a fancy schmancy rv. I sleep on a military cot in my bare bones yet functional cargo trailer.   Hmmm. Oh well. At the end of the day no one knows if they have what they are looking for. This I do know for sure. I can talk well on TV. Cameras don’t scare me, I am unlike anyone else out there and I know I make some really damn fine BBQ. I hope all my BBQ friends have submitted tapes. goodness knows there are a whole lot of really interesting personalities out there.

Over the last two weeks I have received tons of emails and talked to lots of BBQ folk about the new season. The responses are really varied. Some are very cynical and state they think JM already has his picks and he is doing this to keep people off his back. Others say this is just a ploy to get more attention. Personally I don’t really care one way or another. I think its a good idea to ask for submissions. Makes sense to me.

Additionally some people have stated they hate the new format already. Um I am not sure I understand this since none of use really know what exactly the new format is. Right now its just a bunch of talk. A bunch of guesses.Seriously Ill reserve judgment for when I actually see the new format.

This is what was posted from John Markus Exec Producer BBQ Pitmasters:

It’s official. Our new format features FOUR different pitmasters competing in EACH episode. We are looking to augment our cast from last season and welcome all interested cooks to throw their aprons in the ring. Send your audition tape/DVD, selling us on why you should be picked to compete against the best. To: Lindsay Freed c/o Original Media, 38 E. 29th St., 8th FL, NY, NY 10016. Or, you can email a file of your audition to bbqpitmasters@originalmedia.com. Send your ?’s there as well. Shooting schedule April 30th – June26th. Good luck and see you on the trail!

Then there are a few posts from JM on Twitter:
It’s official. BBQ Pitmasters Season #2 picked up by TLC. Will be posting info on casting within the hour here and on various BBQ forums.
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Audition tapes/DVDs, under 5 min! Sell us on you/your team! Lindsay Freed c/o Original Media, 38 E. 29th St. 8th FL. NY, NY 10016. GetGoin’!
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Or, send a file of your audition to bbqpitmasters@originalmedia.com Shoot schedule runs from April 30 – June 27. Send ?’s there as well.
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Going over the schedule for Pitmasters 2. Dammit man, we’re putting the miles on. But I can truly say, we’ll be at an event near you!
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To all those hopefuls vying for a place on Pitmasters 2: BBQ Skills + Personality + Showmanship + Authenticity. In under five minutes!
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Submissions for Pitmasters now arriving in waves. You ladies who ‘Q, & I’ve seen all y’all, jump in already! Starting to screen tomorrow.
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Screened all day. To all you cooks about to make audition tapes–ladies, ya listenin?–Don’t just tap the bell. RING the bell! (Mel Brooks)
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Saw some real keepers 2day. Hate 2 B a tease, ‘Q’rs, but a few of U hit it outa the park. (Okay, I luv the tease part–sorry). Want more!
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There was even a mention of the new format here:

TLC To Revamp `BBQ Pit Masters’ Series

Network To Knead Reality Show Into Competition Format

by R. Thomas Umstead — Multichannel News, 3/15/2010 12:11:53 PM

TLC is hoping to add some sizzle to its freshman cooking reality series BBQ Pit Masters by changing its programming recipe from a docu-reality show to a competition-based series for its second season.

BBQ PitThe series, which followed the exploits of several barbeque cooking experts, averaged 900,000 total viewers and posted double digit increases for the network among male viewers during its first season, which ended last month.

The new season will feature a weekly competition between several chefs, with each weekly winner eventually squaring off against each other in the final episode, according to TLC officials. The show will feature BBQ Pit Masters stars such as Myron Mixon and Le Ann Whippen in “some capacity” on the show, said TLC officials.
BBQ Masters joins Cake Boss, Ultimate Cake Off and Cupcake Sisters as cooking-related shows on the Discovery Communications-owned network this year.

Overall I think no matter what its just more exposure for competition BBQ and really I think thats whats most important. Get it out there to more of the public. Let them know how much fun it is. How great the people are.

TLC BBQ Pitmasters New Video Clips

Tuffy Helps Myron Out

Harry teaches Gary

Pellet Envy Wins Toy of the year and has a BIG Announcement

Pellet Envy
Team of the Year for 2009 KCBS



I met Rod a few years back now. I had read about him and seen him in action and wanted to learn more. I am one of the over 500 people he has taught along with Johnny Trigg for the Old School vs. New School BBQ cooking class. We travelled all the way from Barrie to Illinois for that class. It was worth it.


This year was Rod’s year. He has just this past weekend been named KCBS TOY (Team of the year) in an exciting race to the finish. It was a nail biter for sure. Going down to the very last competition in Tempe Arizona- faced with two other teams hot on his heels ISS I Smell Smoke and Smokey D’s. It sounds a bit like a movie.


Both pitmasters for those teams are well respected by Rod. He says it could have been either of them to win the TOY.
Rod- “I have a lot of respect for Darren flying in finding his meat and rented vehicles and winning.” I have a lot of respect for Steve travelling so much and accomplishing so much. They are both as deserving. I predicted in July that Darren would win it based on what he had done and caught on fire in the summer. As hot as he was I thought he would pull it off. He almost did.




Find more videos like this on BBQ Thom

**Thanks To Thom Emery for allowing me to share his video clip.

His dry sense of humour and wit resonate with anyone who talks with him. I have had the pleasure to have a few BBQ meals in Texas and talks with him outside of the realm of competition. He can make me crack up laughing till I cry with most conversations. His sarcastic comments have on more than one occasion sent me to giggling. However you can have a real serious conversation with him (on some rare occasions) that gives you a small glimpse into the depth of his somewhat guarded character. He can seamlessly go from Rod the friend to Rod the BBQ guy who has some serious sponsors to represent.

He extols the virtues of his beloved wife Sheri. He talks about how much she supports him in his BBQ career. Personally I sort of think of him as a big BBQ brother. He looks out for his friends. He is always encouraging and continuously helpful. He also seems to have the memory of an elephant and can recall a lot of minute details.



On his own personal plan for healthier living this year he let me know of his goals.
His motto now is there is no time to eat bad food and that he starts every day with breakfast. He recommends a couple of books that are helping him on his path: Eat this not that. One is for the grocery store and ones for those who eat out. I am so proud of him for being open and honest about his struggles. It’s not without his own notice that being on the Dr. OZ show was good for the brand of Pellet Envy. He is sharp as a whip. I don’t think much could get past him in any situation.

Q- How do you feel now that you have won TOY?

RG- I don’t think it has really sunk in yet. I am numb. To be honest. I am tired and still driving home now. I am looking forward to taking some time off. Darren and I were across from each other. Steve was off in his own section. It worked out fine. (Understatement of the year) I think the guys were genuinely happy for me. I am not so sure I could have been as genuine as they were if the situation were reversed. Overall it’s a great feeling. It’s time for me to recharge and then go back to it.

Q-What’s up next for you and Pellet Envy?

RG-I have to get unpacked. ( As we speak Rod is just a couple of hours from home) I have deadlines to get on for the Bullsheet and other things. I have to announce my classes for this year this week. My teaching partner is now a movie star (Captain Parkay – Johnny Trigg) so he can’t commit (laughing he says this with some seriousness. I will be doing the classes solo. I have so many irons in the fire. Additionally I would love to take my wife to New York for a few days.

Q- What is your take on the proposed changes to how the TOY is calculated?

RG- You can’t track who has sponsors and who doesn’t. These are pieces of information impossible to track. It’s all total crap. A Tiering system for team of the year is ludicrous. Truly if it aint broke don’t fix it.

Q- Who were your major sponsors for the year?

RG- Greased Lightning and BBQ’ers delight. Greased lightening has been signed on for 2010 already. I am really glad to have them on board. Candy makes a great product and Greased Lightning is terrific for cleaning even on clothes. They have been very supportive of me and I am thankful for it.



Q-Do you use a muffin pan to cook chicken ala Myron Mixon

RG- Laughing, he says no.

Q-What’s you take on garnish. Garnish or no garnish- and proposed changes to the KCBS?

RG-Garnish is what sets KCBS apart from the other sanctioning bodies. It makes it more of a challenge. I believe it should stay the way it is. Garnish may not be my most favourite thing but it adds more difficulty. I think they need to leave it alone.


Q- What were your stats (miles comps, states- for the year?)

RG-Miles this year – 40,000 approximately
States – Somewhere in the neighbourhood 33
Competitions- I believe 33 total

Q-When you become TOY (team of the year) what do you do next.

RG-I am going to try to do it again. Take a break but then go back to it. 2010 is going to be a great year for BBQ I know it will be.

Q- Was there any point during the competition season where you felt the pressure >?

RG- The pressure was really on me on the way to Florida. I packed up as soon as I had done brisket and I left. I have never done that before. I had been gone 10 days and it was my anniversary. I won that contest.


Q- As the most winning person in KCBS -Why are you not a part of the TLC BBQ Pitmasters series?

RG-I don’t know the answer. I think they should have taken me.

Q- Are you endorsing any candidates for the BOD for KCBS?

RG- As of today -no. I have not done my research yet.

Q- Why are you not running for KCBS.

RG- I got away from the board in June. It was a difficult decision for me but I needed to get away from it. It’s too much minutia. They are micro managing. Looking back to the previous contest is not the answer. The board should focus on the next 5, 10 15 years, of the KCBS and its future. They should be strategic in nature and currently they are not. Every once in a great while, I regret it- when I think of the people that put their trust in me. Ultimately I had to do what is best for me. Ultimately with the rest of the season it validates that I made the right decision to get off the board. It was a great choice for me to move on.



Q-Out of all the other teams besides the two that were on your heels who do you see in 2010 coming up the ranks of the TOY listing>?

RG-Wow. You know no matter what answer I give I will have left some deserving team out of the mix. I’ll be disappointed in the answer I give. There are several teams that I think will rise though the ranks.

Q-What’s the name of your GPS (I can hear his GPS giving him directions throughout the interview)

RG- I get asked that a lot… I don’t really have a name (he chuckles a lot here) sometimes I call her b!tch if she takes me the wrong way.

Q-What’s the biggest tip about Competition BBQ you can give people?

RG-Try to undersmoke your meat.

Q-What will be your first contest for 2010

RG- Lakeland Florida.

Q- Anything else you would like to share…………….

***** Exclusive you will read it here for the very first time *****

RG- Ok heres something to tell that I am sure will have an impact – We will be Pellet free in 2010. We will no longer be using pellets or any pellet BBQ’s. We have a Geer pit (Jambo Pits) ordered for the back of trailer. I am in love with his pits. I will be returning to Texas to get it mounted. I will be Pellet Envy for 2010 and we will have a new name for 2011. Right now we have narrowed it down to 12 other names.

For the 2009 season I will still teach in 2010 both pellet and on the Jambo Pit. It will be a big challenge to do both but I will do it.



Q-Why are you changing from Pellets to a stick burner (Jambo Pits)

RG-It started with wear and tear. As much as I travel the gas is so much less with the Jambo Pit. Then it was my results in 2008 out of 8 contests that I used the Jambo pit contests 6 were won with the Jambo Pit. Then this year (2009) out of 8 contests where I used the Jambo pit I had a total of 7 wins. This gives me a new set of challenges it makes competition BBQ more interesting. Cooking on the Geer is now a challenge. It has brought me back to raising my level of focus and concentration in a contest.

*Note Rod had a bit of nervous laughter when reporting this and he admitted as so. This is a big deal to him and its news for the BBQ world. I really thank him for allowing us to share his announcement. This is going to be a huge step for Rod. I wish him all the very best with his new direction.
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Jamie Geer tells me that the pit will be exactly the same size as the one he currently uses. Rod doesn’t want to change a thing he wants it to be identical. The firebox has already been fabricated. It will be ready in time for Lakeland Florida.

An in Depth Interview with John Markus Executive Producer TLC BBQ Pitmaster Series






I had the distinct pleasure to interview John Markus Executive Producer of the new TLC series BBQ Pitmasters. John is an award winning writer and producer. He has won an Emmy, a Peabody and two Humanitas prizes. His filmography credits include the Cosby Show, The Larry Sanders Show, Taxi, The Facts of Life, The BBQ Championship Series and The All-Star BBQ Showdown. However the award he is most proud of is something given to very few people a- PhB. A PhB is an honorary doctorate of BBQ bestowed upon him by the KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society), Ardie Davis alter ego Remus Powers. It is the only award in John’s home that has its own spotlight, the only one on display ,in its own special frame. It has a place of honor. I asked him where his other awards were. He answered well the Emmy is in the closet and I am not sure where the others are. This certainly endeared him to me with this statement.

He has apprenticed with BBQ legends. He can call Chris Lilly a close personal friend and has competed at the Royal with him many times with the Big Bob Gibson team. He has also learned the ropes from the Baron of Barbecue himself Paul Kirk. He has completed a documentary on the legendary 3 time World Champion Myron Mixon and his BBQ family. He even has his own team Central Pork West. He owns a big green egg, a WSM, a Backwoods, Jedmaster 3660, and a head turning gorgeous Jambo pit. He loves cooking on all of them. To him they all have wonderful strengths. He is well thought of by many of these legends for his honest and sincere and respectful approach to BBQ.

In his own words he says If it wasn’t for the quality of the people in BBQ I would not be in it this long. I have met people who are going to be lifelong friends. I am proud to say that I am one of the few Yankees that have been called Bubba.

I had expected to have just a short interview but what evolved was more of an hour long conversation with a BBQ friend. Hearing him describe the show and answering questions was truly inspiring. Just a warning this is the complete and full version of the interview. Just a little over 3600 words. I suggest you get comfortable.

Q How hard was it to pitch the show to the TLC Network since this is such a new concept. This show doesn’t involve redoing a house, having multiples of babies or Jon & Kate.

The show was pitched with 5-10 minutes of the Myron Mixon Documentary I had completed just to show an indepth look at what a BBQ person was. Plus some inspired footage of potential candidates it sold the show very quickly.

This is not a staged competition show. This is a docu drama (that’s what we call it) this looks at the lives of the people who compete almost full time who are entrenched in the world of competitive BBQ. This is a reality show where there is real reality. I have to give a tremendous amount of credit to TLC for being in the market for doing food. That’s how the show came about. TLC was asking how do we do a food show. Their minds were open. Then Original Media (Miami Ink, Stormchasers etc) have brilliant producers who work there – Jay Peterson, Charlie Corwin . They are virtuoso reality producers. They heard my take on the series and got it immediately -and knew where to go with it. They had been talking to some Networks that wanted a food show because they were ready. My first meeting with TLC and Original Media – I just said to them its Man Vs. Meat. That got their ears perked up. Then they were able to go into the world and subculture that is competition BBQ. What had been missing on TV (that TLC and Original Media got) was the idea that this is a passion, an obsession of people who practice something very artisanal. Just like American Chopper was a father & Son show they are building something. They are making something. My passion for this kind of TV is these people have to actually do something and do it well.

Q-How were the candidates chosen

They (the pitmasters Lee Ann Whippen, Johnny Triggs, Myron Mixon, Harry Soo, Paul Petersen, Tuffy Stone, Jamie Geer ) have been chosen as they are highly trained practitioners of this culinary art. To me they are folk heroes.

This is also why I did the documentary about Myron Mixon and his BBQ family . This is someone who lives to create something that pleases people. As Competitive BBQ’ers we understand what it means for people to look at you and say I have never tasted anything like this.

When I cast the show I cast it like I would a drama. I look at my cast as a big jigsaw puzzle. So if you look at the profiles there are 7 totally different types of people. They are different characters. They are comfortable with the cameras. The cameras are with them a week at a time. They are with them at their homes as they prep and then constantly at the competition. You need someone that can be themselves and give us their enthusiasm and eccentric character traits that make them oddball and real at the same time. They all have to be one family. Once I have that- I think I have a show. That’s how I will continue to cast the show. I will be putting lines out after the show hoping we get more. We want every color of the rainbow on the show.

Q- How do you think the TLC Pitmasters Series and the “sport” of competitive BBQ will be received by the general public.

I am sure this will sound a bit ego centric here but this is how I envision this. This is my dream and my hopes for the show are that the phones at the KCBS don’t stop ringing after this show airs. That anyone who sees it – will see it as being incredibly hard and incredibly challenging but so much damn fun. That they will go and spend whatever they have got on BBQ. I want them to understand that they can do it for a couple of hundred dollars. That they can start with a $200. pit and use Sams Club meat because they can possibly win with it. They don’t need to spend $14,000. on a big pit. They can work up to it. That’s my hope that people have the doors and windows opened up to a world they never knew existed. A world that looks enticing, that it looks friendly but looks really highly competitive. Plus at the end of the day they have bragging rights that no one can do this like you. All of our passion for the world of BBQ is going into this show.

TLC (to their credit)said to us as we edited this show please put a priority on explaining this world to the people who have never been in it. They are allowing us (and this is a first) to put the process on an equal level with the characters and story development. This is the direction we have been given.

As a comparison to another “reality” food competition- with all due respect to the Iron chefs it’s all about pyrotechnics. How do they know how to have micro cilantro around?? This show has actual meat inspectors, actual cookers, actual wood, hail, snow rain sometimes. We have blown out tires; we have destruction, we have teammates not getting along. We have people talking smack. We have people stealing ideas. We have a whole shigging explanation in the series. It happens to one of our cast. It happens to one of our cookers and he gets shigged and someone defines it to him.

Q- What are some of the goals for this show:

I want to bring people (both men & Women) in and want them to be there every week with these pitmasters. Plus also those who are in it already – I want them to be able to watch the show and say we got it. I want to hear from them and their comments. If we missed something I want to hear about. This comes from my personal experience as a competition cooker. Every moment we have been doing we have been cautious not to create scenarios.

Q-Were all of the competitions real or were they fabricated?

They were all real competitions except one. The one competition is not sold as a real competition. This is the Johnny Trigg Invitational shoot out. He got to make the rules and set the stakes. We call him the Godfather. The location was a beautiful Ranch house in Mineral Wells Texas. We brought our 7 pitmasters in and they were judged by Master IBCA judges. This was a rib only contest. Baby Backs and Spares. The twist that we gave the show was something really new. We wanted to open the mystique of judges. We also had a couple of rookie judges come in. We taped their judging and encouraged to have them speak freely right after scoring. To talk openly and honestly about the food they ate. Then we brought in all our cooks and sat them in front of the TV set and showed them the tape. All I can say is that there is a lot of bleeping in that scene. There were some cooks that said they liked this and others who said they never want to see this again.

Q- What were some of the conditions of the competitions like?

When we were in Mesquite someone stuck a thermopen in the pavement it was 134 F That’s when they started their cook in that and then it plummeted to 30F and then a huge hail storm rolled in. People were not sleeping, there was massive destruction. There were people pulling off meat at the last minute. Mentally and physically these competitions are really taxing. They require constant focus stamina and attention.

Q- General observations about competitive BBQ’ers

You get to know who is serious. You just need to look around and see who is not drinking. They learn from their mistakes and not personalize the defeat as well as well as their victories. You have a job to do. You can’ be cursing judges. It’s really all about being level headed and realistic about your gifts and how you get better.
This pursuit is a lifelong art. The learning curve is just years long.

Q- When is your next competition with your own team?

I would like to return to the Hudson Valley Ribfest for 2010.

Q- Who is on your team Central Pork West?

Well regularly, we have a Texan Cowgirl – Nicole Davenport plus Carpenter Bob Allan from the Catskills New York. We also have special appearances by various people who just want to come out and see what it is like.

Q- Why are there no pellet cookers in the series?

It’s very simple to explain. The shows primary agenda for me as an exec producer is casting the cooks first and what they cook on second. It’s not like I am saying I don’t have a show unless there is a pellet cooker on it. In fact I have been keeping my eyes open and I want to show that type of BBQ on the show. I would like to say to everyone out there please get as many people to watch. We need to widen the show and include more demographics. I do have a goal to have a pellet cooker on the show. I would also like to have the debate of the pellet vs. other pits debate. There will ultimately be a pellet cooker on the show.

Pellet cookers are out there and they are winning and they are a legitimate part of BBQ.

Q- What was the pace of shooting the show:

As way of an explanation this show came together came at a breakneck pace. I have never worked on a project this fast. It’s very rare in TV that the planets line up as they did for this show.

When I sat in the Man vs. Meat pitch meeting it was only 2 days later when TLC said they wanted this. With Original Medias help 5 camera crews fanned out into America to go meet everybody you see on the show. Two were in Virginia, two in Texas, one in Georgia and one in California. All of it in 6 weeks.

Carolyn Wells brought me Harry Soo and Slap Yo Daddy. Carol and I have had a long friendship since the first show I did. I don’t think I am having a show until I tell Carolyn Wells. She is a very close friend and a very trusted friend and a real good eye about this world. She said John I don’t know if you are done but there is one piece of your puzzle I want to help you with. This was prior to them coming out on the front page of the Bullsheet. They have proven a bounty of scenes and a really inspiring struggle. To be Champs in California and then come into that circuit was a challenge. They come into it still working on their flavour profile still struggling and then they slowly get better and better.

Q-What are some Highlights you can share from the episodes (this is from Episode #2)

We have all of these KCBS cookers come into an MBN contest. Johnny Triggs tok me aside right away and said he wasn’t doing a dog and pony show. He did it though. Murphysboro is an extremely challenging contest. It is tough. Mr Triggs put up a little bit of a fuss in the cooks meeting about the tightness of the schedule. We did have somebody from that meeting who was a bit upset about the people who were new to the MBN who wanted changes to the schedule. One of those people (who was under the influence) confronted Mr. Triggs and it got a bit dicey. It happened on its own but we were lucky to be there to film it.

Q- Did you find since this is not scripted that you had enough interesting moments captured.

You have the comedy and drama built into these shows. When you are writing a script of the show you have to show the choices and the resolutions. Obstacles, choices and resolutions are part of any real drama or comedy show. As a competitive BBQ team I have had the disasters and the fighting with teammates and I have made mistakes. So they naturally occurred. There is a mistake made in Kansas. I was watching the rough cut of the first reel in Kansas and the great Tuffy Stone makes a mistake. I won’t go into more details. Things have naturally unfolded in the show.

It also helps to include a rookie (Paul Petersen) out of Texas. He has gotten a lot of glowing reviews at his steak house and decided with his minimal BBQ experience he could come in and teach these masters a lesson. He is a great chef. I have had a couple of meals at Rick’s Chophouse in McKinney Texas. He can really knock your socks off with a several course meal of steak and a great vegetable and wonderful dessert. He has learned (as Johnny Triggs told him) BBQ is not that. It really exercises a different set of muscles of cooking. We like seeing this happen. People at home may think it’s a simple thing. Thinking that may kick you in the butt.

Q-Unknown facts about the show. Are there any surprises?

John Markus is in the show for every episode.

During an early discussion with the executives with TLC there was a conversation about how to get the world of BBQ across to people who don’t know anything about it. There are so many subtleties to competition bbq as well as the art itself of cooking low and slow. TLC found a couple elements of the show a tad confusing and not properly explained. One of the execs during the conference call said we need somebody with the enthusiasm and the validity to narrate it. That’s when the name John Markus came up. They all agreed it was a good idea to have him explain. None of them knew that I was on the call with the executives.

Looking back from episode #6 we tried to give color and explanations on behaviours and strategies and dilemmas I provided this commentary. I am in every show. I help bring people into the tent and to be their BBQ Ambassador to the world. They were editing me in the show and they asked how would I like to be listed..Award Winning Competition Cook, Certified Judge, but what I really wanted them to list me is that I have received the order of the Magic Mop. They asked to leave that out since no one will know what it means. If we do enough of these shows I will make sure they know what the Order of the Magic Mop is. I also have the dream to show Ardie Davis to confer on some recipient the Order. I explained to them it’s like you are in England and you are knighted. They still want to wait to put it in the shows listing..

Additionally I would like to show is Remus Powers administering the judge’s oath. He is a figure that looms large in competition BBQ.

Q- Which competition was your favourite?

I am a huge fan of the American Royal. I cooked it for many years with the Big Bob Gibson Team. I love the Big Pig Jig in Vienna Georgia. It is truly an old world BBQ contest it brings you back in time. It is not mobbed with people. It is very charming and very traditional.

Truthfully this is going to sound like showbiz prostitution. I like them all. I like them all because when you show up at the contest and you get that tingle when you arrive. When our cameras and tents arrived it was equally exciting every time. They all hold surprises. The traditional ones I love but these new ones I love too. I really like the Murphysborough contest for its daunting challenge, its location and for Amy & Mike Mills. True BBQ Royalty. That in itself captures the spirit of BBQ. The Royal for the spectacle. Dover for its great location. I just liked them all.

Q-What were some challenges for the show-

One of the difficulties of this show is that there are fantastic elements that are not going to be shown. We go in with 150 hours of tape and have to cut it down to 44 minutes. We have to find 44 minutes of story for the show. Some of our cast are not in each show. There will shows where you will go “where is Jamie Geer?” Then there will be a show though of this gorgeous Jambo pit and builder. Then there are people that have shot for us that are unfortunately not going to make it into the show.

Q-Who does the editing for the show?

Brian Catalina co-executive producer (show runner) produced the first season of Deadliest Catch. He really has the credentials of this task. He has marshalled armies of video and audio crew to get the ballet of the shot. Brian is masterful and he is strapped to the wheel. We have teams of editors who he commands. They begin to sift through everything. Bryan and I give them story lines on index cards for them to hunt down and find moments that service the story line. They all come from the world of reality television. (Survivor, Deadliest catch etc) They are really well schooled in finding these moments.

I see things in a rough cut, to a fine cut to a locked in cut. I don’t get to see everything personally I get these great surprises when I see these videos. They are really skilled shooters and audio people to get it. I have become very impressed at the level of skill and resourcefulness that these reality crews have. They are up all night, with garbage bags covering their heads in bad weather continuing to get the shot…. really they are underpaid. They give us their all. I am going to make sure on the day it premieres they will be eating Gourmet BBQ even if I have to cook it myself. I am moved by their commitment to this.

Brian has gone from knowing nothing about this world to bringing a thermal carryon bag and taking home BBQ leftovers. Everyone is getting a true immersion to this world. They all love it. They can’t stop talking about it. Everybody wants to talk about how talented and funny (the pitmasters) they are and how great their food is. That makes me feel so good inside. That a world they knew nothing about 6 weeks ago they now live. I also know some of these people will be competing.

Q- Why do you think at this point BBQ becoming more popular?

I think with the past year and a half the economy and the challenges we all face – BBQ represents a return a visceral comfort and simplicity of our approach to things. It is humble food and it is honest food. It really lands on several levels with people. It is also something you can do with your hands. With all of this falling down around you it is one of the things that can bring you joy. It can be done without a great deal of expense or sacrifice. I think the timing is right. It brings people together.

Q- What does BBQ mean to you personally?

BBQ is the elevation of something simple and humble to greatness. It unites people. It’s community.
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Originally I had thought to cut this interview way down to a much more manageable amount of words however the more I read what John has to say the more I wanted to include it all. I hope you agree.

Much thanks to Dustin Smith Director of Publicity TLC and to John Markus Executive Producer BBQ Pitmasters series for his generosity in doing this interview.
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