Posts Tagged ‘TLC BBQ Pitmasters’

Myron Mixon at Jay Leno Show

Was just sent a couple of pics to share about Myron Mixon and the JOS team arriving at the Jay Leno Studios
TONIGHT – TUES, JAN 12
Myron Mixon from TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters makes a very special guest appearance on LENO at 10pm / 9c on NBC

Its Thursday!! TLC BBQ Pimasters


Just a reminder for tonight NEW Episode TLC BBQ Pitmasters -

30th Annual American Royal/KC Masterpiece Invitational Contest


Some new teaser videos from TLC :

Chris Lilly Discusses his chicken for the Invitational. His Chicken came in 42nd

Tuffy makes a mistake (his pork still managed to come in 7th)

BBQ Pitmasters
American Royal Invitational Barbecue
TV-PG (L), CC

10pms EST 9pm C

Stakes are high when the best cook teams in the country are invited to the American Royal Invitational in Kansas City, Missouri. Myron faces his biggest rival on the circuit, restaurateur Chris Lilly. When Rookie Paul begs for help from pro Johnny Trigg.

The American Royal Invitational Qualifying Criteria:

Only Grand Champions are invited. No pass downs are accepted.

Invitations will be extended to the qualified team name/head cook combination. Should the team name or head cook change after qualifying, the team must enter the American Royal Invitational under the qualifying team name/head cook combination. Should the same head cook have qualified with more than one team, he/she may enter the American Royal/KC Masterpiece Invitational Contest only one time.

An invitation will be mailed from the American Royal to the qualifiers in mid August with a deadline for returning the application by September 1st. If an invitational team would like to also compete in the Open Contest, it is MANDATORY for that team to complete the Open Application ahead of time so a space can be reserved.

Qualifying Contests Include:

·Contests with a “qualifying state championship.” A state championship is a contest with a state proclamation signed by the Governor with at least 15 competing teams the first year and 25 competing teams each subsequent year.

·Contests with a minimum of 50 competing teams are qualifiers and do not require a “state championship” proclamation.

·A state with only one contest must have a minimum of 15 competing teams to be considered but does not require a “state championship” proclamation.

To be considered a “competing team,” teams must submit entries for all contest categories required to be the grand champion or overall winner of that event.

Automatic Entries Go To:

*Grand Champion of previous year’s American Royal Open Contest

*Grand Champions of previous five (5) year’s American Royal/KC Masterpiece Invitational Contest

*Grand Champion of previous year’s Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue

*Grand Champion of current year’s Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Contest

*Grand Champion of current year’s Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo World Championship Bar-B-Que Contest

Exceptions to any of the above criteria must be approved in advance by the contest organizer.

Results from the American Royal Invitational OVERall results:

Cool Smoke 3rd
Wood Chicks 25th
Smokin Triggers 40th
Jacks Old SOuth 73rd

I can’t wait~!!!

Gary Notley – TLC BBQ Pitmasters Roadie

Day 20-25 Days of BBQ Blogging





Gary was a fun guy to talk with. He really got a behind the scenes look at the whole show. He was the roadie for Harry Soo`s Slap yo Daddy team. He loved doing it and its clear he would do it again. I liked the perspective he has on a lot of the things from the show. I also know he is a straight talking rocking it out sort of guy that does not mince words. Whether it be on the BBQ Brethren forum where he posts or in an interview he says exactly what he thinks. He doe not edit out his thoughts.

He is a caterer to the stars. Located in Southern California he regularly caters TV shows, concert tour riders, and many other occasions with his outstanding BBQ. Additionally he competes as well with his own team Notley Que. I have a standing invitation to come cook with him at Stagecoach. I hope to get over there in the next couple of years.


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?

GN- I would like to take Mike Davis, Plowboys and Johnny Triggs classes.



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).

Q- What are some of the challenges you have in competition BBQ?


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?

GN- Spares

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?

GN-
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.

Gary Notley Facebook Fan Page

Notley Que BBQ on Twitter


TLC BBQ Pitmasters Interview with Paul Petersen

Day 19-25 Days of Christmas Blogging…


Paul Petersen is a dichotomy- he is a seemingly arrogant, brash know it all chef on the TLC BBQ Pitmasters show however he was a gracious friendly down to earth self humouring person I really enjoyed speaking with. I would never call him humble but he certainly has the culinary accolades to back up his bravado. He now has a sincere appreciation of the challenges of competition BBQ.
If you look back onto his career of work you would be surprised to find how many accolades have been bestowed upon him. He was the former drummer for San Antonio bands Gollum and Scary Manilow then decided to switch to cooking. He trained at the CIA in Hyde Park New York. After graduating from the institute he settled in New York City, working in and progressing successfully up the line at a series of popular spots: Union Square Cafe, An American Place, The Red Cat.
He has been nominated for a James Beard award. He has been written up in many publications including being listed as #34 in Esquires top 100 in 2007. He was Tobascos Chef of the year in 1998. Do a google search of Chef Paul Petersen and 119,000 hits will come back at you. He has run multiples of successful multi starred restaurants (little Texas Bistro, Gages/ Café Cenizo) and catering programs. He has taught culinary classes. He is a cookbook author. He is well thought of by many other chefs – Yet in the competitive BBQ world he is an unproven, unknown, DAL competitor (as of episode #3) who seems to have a lot of smack talk in him but not a whole lotta competitive BBQ knowledge. So why did he do it?

I know of a few chefs who have come into competitive BBQ just as he has done, brash arrogant and confident- thinking that their entire repartee of culinary knowledge will lead them to a Grand Championship on their very first turn out. I have also seen those same chefs seriously get their asses handed back to them on a platter. (I have personally had some pure moments of glee to see this happen first hand when I was on the receiving end of a chef who thought he was Gods gift to BBQ) They learn really quickly that while competition BBQ may seem so simple on the outset the complexities and nuances are vast and varied. It’s not as easy as they think.

I caught up with Paul as he was preparing for an insane night. He had 400 covers to prep for. Two hundred of those at Ricks Chophouse, and the other two hundred were catered in their private rooms.



Paul runs not one but two restaurants. The first as mentioned above is a destination restaurant- Ricks Chophouse. An elegant restaurant with restored press tin ceilings an original lime stone wall (circa 1885) and deep mahogany walls throughout. It is combined with private dining rooms, a grand ballroom and Grand historical hotel. The other is Sauce on the Square just 60 paces away from Ricks Chophouse. Sauce on the Square – is an approachable Italian concept that looks towards more multiple visits during the week by its patrons.



*thanks to Lisa Reynolds from Bubble Gems for the picture

From the Sauce on the Square website:

Your culinary experience begins as you walk through the covered dining patio to the smell of dough rising in our Woodstone-fired ovens. Once inside, the dining room speaks immediately of the restaurant’s unique charm and sense of communal gathering. Banquette seating lines the century-old exposed brick wall, while red and white checkered table cloths, stained concrete floors, and classic Italian art set the stage for an approachable family dining experience.

The menu is created by celebrated Executive Chef Paul Petersen, who uses local farm-raised ingredients and neatly incorporates them into traditional Italian specialties. House-made cheeses, imported Italian flour, fresh tomatoes, prosciutto DiParma, herbs, and pastas speak volumes of the flavors you will enjoy. And, absolutely everything is served family style, enhancing the warmth and camaraderie of your experience.

As you transition through the dining room into the bar area, your group can visit on high-top cocktail tables or line the bar and watch the action. The open kitchen makes for a fun place to split a pizza, share pasta, or enjoy a few signature Bellinis!

The wine list is also a home run-50 labels of the best wines in the world for under $50 make it easy to try something new. Each wine was chosen by our Sommelier Brad Pyle with an appreciation for the artisan farmer where each bottle began.

And to think, you didn’t need a reservation! Located on Louisiana Street on the historic square, Sauce is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.

To say he is busy would be an understatement. He is extremely successful in his own world.

His quiet “office” where we did the telephone interview is outside at the back alley away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.

Q- How did you get involved with TLC BBQ Pitmasters?

PP- I had been approached a couple of years prior to TLC BBQ Pitmasters show to do an alternate BBQ related type of show. That didn’t pan out but I was still interested. I had cooked for John Markus a couple of times about a year and a half ago. We did a couple of tasting menus for him and he was blown away. I liked John a lot he was really cool.


Q-Had you ever done a BBQ competition prior to TLC BBQ Pitmasters?

PP- I had done an IBCA competition prior to the show and had placed 10th in Chicken.

Q- What did you think of the first few competitions that you participated in?

PP- It’s not my world. I am a hell of a Texan BBQer but it took a while to figure it out. The judges (where I competed) have not been exposed to my type of cuisine. I had to adapt to their style of cooking. It took a lot of change.


Q- If given the opportunity would you do the TLC BBQ Pitmasters show again>?

PP- I don’t know. I would certainly like to go back and redeem myself and kick some asses. However my bosses have already been more than kind to allow me the 2 months I needed to do this show. With the additional restaurant and many other things coming down the line I just don’t know. I have so much on my plate already. If I go out again these boys are going to be in trouble. I would want to go out with a Jambo. I have a lot of respect for them.

Q- What do you think of the comments that have been posted about you on the various BBQ forums and articles?

PP- Well there are the hecklers, there are people that hate me and people that love me. Overall it doesn’t bother me. It’s just a bunch of BS. The people that were with us on the show and the people who eat in my restaurants know my real culinary skills. It was really hard adapting to the world of competition BBQ but I really did like it.


Q- Who was the first pitmasters on the show that helped you?

PP- Tuffy was the first he helped me a lot. He is a bad ass cook (he says this with sincere appreciation of Tuffy’s culinary skills as a BBQ’er and chef). So much he helped me. I appreciate it. He was the first who opened up to me. Told me I was cooking all wrong. He started helping me out. Listening to him for me was important.

Q- What was a favourite and least favourite part of shooting the show for you>?

PP- Meeting the people – it was great. The hailstorm was pretty wild. I did not sleep through that (he says laughing). I was hanging out with the people from the Slabs. We ended up holding their tent so it didn’t blow away (this wasn’t shown on the show). They were great people.

Overall the travelling was hard. It was a lot of travelling in 2 months. I have a 2007 Tahoe that now has over 100000 miles on it. I am going to get an F250.

Q- Any other special moments with people from the show you would care to talk about?

PP- Hanging out with Johnny and Trish Trigg was really special (Unfortunately I can’t tell the rest of what he says because I don’t want to ruin some possible future moments for the show.) I also really liked Jamie too he was funny, I loved his humour and he had the best lines. Overall we were this little gang of Texas people.

Q- As Texas is renowned for their BBQ Brisket – whose brisket did you like the most?

PP- Well I had Myrons brisket and to my taste- it was like Lipton soup mix. A lot of the competition brisket wasn’t what I was used to. I was disappointed in my brisket a lot. However there was one who I thought rocked it Tommy from Checkered Pig. He is killer. I hold him in high regard. Best brisket ever on the BBQ tour out of anyone. At the competition we were at he only took 3rd. I was so confused by this his was far the best I had. He is so cool. He is a genuine guy. It didn’t hurt that he also set me straight on a few things.

Q- How would you label yourself cocky? Arrogant? Confident?

PP-Confident – that’s an accurate description cocky can come off as arrogant – I am just confident of my abilities. I am accomplished in my own world I just don’t need to throw it in their faces. I was good at putting on what they wanted to see.



Q- What was the inspiration behind keeper of the flame (his interactive cookbook)?



PP-Keeper of the flame- The name came from an article from Texas Monthly.
It was a huge deal in Texas. It was a 7 page spread on me. Freaked me out they don’t do it for chefs typically. It kind of stuck. The cookbook is very innovative – Online approach that gets updated frequently. Originally I had done a similar concept with 50 other Texas chefs. We pushed it out early to capitalize on the popularity of the TLC BBQ Pitmasters show.

Q- What’s the biggest challenge in running a restaurant.?
PP- For us its consistency (just like in Competitive BBQ) we want the same product to go out the door. I have so many employees and we need to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Q- What is your favourite BBQ food to eat?

PP- Ribs are still my favourite. I like a good Texas brisket. Personal favourite Kreuz Market or Smitty’s both of them. They are the same deal. Same family. However I have not eaten at Louie Mueller. It’s all real BBQ.


Q- Who do you think will be the next chef in Texas to come up the ranks since you are now established?

PP-I would have to say David Bull – He is my favourite Texas chef. I would put him up against anyone in North America.

Q- Do you still play drums?

PP-I don’t take it as seriously as i used to. For me its stress relief. I am a precise drummer. I hit them with finesse and rock out.

Q- Other than the restaurants what else do you have in the New Year?

PP- I am really excited about an event we are doing on January 15th, 2009. We will be on a stage on jumbo trons and we are going to do a BBQ throwndown Texas Style. It will be a benefit for the sustainable food center.

Three of Texas’ youngest and most acclaimed chefs – David Bull, Shawn Cirkiel, and Paul Petersen will go head to head in a high-energy, fun event with great food, live music and a competition that’s interactive and exciting.
W/ DJ, el john Selector spinning bad-to-the-bone soul, funk and world beats
TIX $35
http://stubbs.frontgatetickets.com/



You can find Chef Paul Peterson on Twitter

He also has a fan page on facebook.

TLC BBQ Pitmasters Review Decatur Alabama

Day 18-25 days of Christmas Blogging……


Last night we had our annual Christmas dinner party. Each year we have our local friends and their children over. I look forward to it every year. For the dinner I served up 10 racks of ribs (done on the Traegers with Cherry pellets) with Ole Rays Apple Cinnamon BBQ sauce on the side, potato salad, Greek pasta salad, mini corn muffins with jalapeños and aged cheddar, buns, spinach dip, marinated water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, devilled eggs with smoked paprika, Macedonian rice with grilled veggies, pate with pecans, veggies, brie with blackberry sauce, and a whole bunch of puff pastry appetizers. Dessert was a Pumpkin Caramel pecan cheesecake, homemade chocolates, and loads of cookies, tarts and squares I have been working on for a month. I really love to make this dinner. However I got so busy I did not take pictures. Ugh. Anytime you can cook for family and friends you love to be around is a good thing in my opinion.

It was a blast and conveniently everyone was gone by 9:50 pm. Just enough time for a BBQ phone call with a good friend of mine from the US and then to watch the latest episode of TLC BBQ Pitmasters. It was a relief the timing was good. I still have no clue how to record anything on the tv and I don’t have one of those PVR thingy’s. (Yes that is the technical term- thingy’s).

IT was a really fun episode to watch. However once again I ended up talking to the TV (and don’t think for a second I am the only one) saying to a cast member are you kidding me what are you doing – etc etc. There were 59 teams at this competition. Out of the TLC Cast here were the overall results:

6 -Jack’s Old South
7- Cool Smoke
8-Jambo Pitts
9-Smokin’ Triggers
10-Wood Chicks
15- Slap Yo Daddy BBQ
59-Pablo Diablo BBQ

I was looking for Harry and Jamie-but I only saw Jamie singing a song going into Big Bob Gibsons. Chris Lilly took it well in stride when Myron told him he used his books to start his pits. The menu at the round table dinner looked really nice. I liked the brisket wrapped scallops. I’ll be trying that for sure.

I watched Pauls teammate lolly gag along not really caring about what time it was. Turning in Chicken and getting a DQ for lateness. Seriously buddy you should have moved your *ass a little faster. Sixteen seconds. Thats what he was late by. Not good. I really did think the chicken box looked decent.

Then it cracked me up to no end to see Myron go off on Paul for shigging his muffin pan idea. Hmm so I guess Myron may be frustrated with a vast majority of the cooks going in to this year. If the posts about muffin pans on the various forums are any indication a lot of cooks at home are trying this technique out in preparation for the 2010 season. I have some concerns that this technique could be considered sculpting. I won’t do it myself. I won’t risk getting a DQ because of sculpting. I think meat (whether it be chicken, beef, or pork) should still look like meat at the end of the day.


I would also like to say it was nice to see a variety of chicken. I saw legs and thighs and breast meat. I really liked the commentary from the judge. Judging is not easy. I did some judging before I started and I am a KCBS certified judge. It was a good decision to take the certification. I think any time you can get a glimpse of what goes on inside the minds of judges it can only help. I know there are some days when I think I have turned in my very best products and (I get scored poorly) I continually question what the judges want. (for the record I am usually not that polite about judges decisions about it but Ill leave the swearing up to Myron.)

I am still surprised that Myron offered up this muffin pan technique to the viewing audience.

As for shigging I think every single team out there pays attention to whats going on at other cook sites. Don’t kid yourselves- everyone looks. You would be foolish not to. I don’t think for a second that there is anything wrong with paying attention. I think if you see a team that has a little blue bottle on their cooker or a bottle of rub and they come in first in that category you might be wise to jot down a few notes. Even with this show watching a few episodes over a few times if you are paying attention there are some nice little tidbits of information. Now I am not going to point them out – go look your self. Research is never ending in the field of Competitive BBQ.

*please note for anyone looking to get me a Christmas present I want one of these cups or please donate here

I do however think its wrong to go into a cook site of a team you do not know without permission. This is one of the reasons I now do my prep and my cutting inside my trailer. Personally I don’t want you to see what I am doing. As much as possible I try to hide my own techniques. Its also another reason we create a wall of Traegers and WSM’s around my cook site. I don’t want you walking in unless you are invited. I rarely invite anyone into my trailer unless you are a good friend. I am still so new (only going into my 4th year) to this competition style but I would like to think I have a couple of things figured out. We have an additional 10×10 tent set up for socializing. Thats where we do it.

I can certainly relate to Tuffy’s schedule of events. Inconveniently (after I watched the clip on youtube about 10 times trying to decipher what was on his spreadsheet I realized it wasn’t because I was needing my glasses) they have certain lines blurred out. Damn. . I have mine planned for every 15 minutes. My spreadsheet keeps me on track and it was another cook that helped me develop mine when I first started out. I also note the temperature and humidity levels and anything else I think may be affecting my cook.

It was great to see him get a first in his new found brisket technique. I enjoyed watching some of the background of him working in the kitchen of A Sharper Palate He knows so much about food in general. He works hard at it too. I loved the countdown he did on camera, 5 ,4 3, 2, and then he pulls out the first in brisket. Nice moment captured.

I have been at competitions where the power has gone out. However I always travel with a back up generator that can run everything. I don’t leave home without it. This is why I was surprised to see Lee Ann get backed up on time due to power shortages. I wonder if that was for TV. …

Overall I am enjoying this series immensely. Next weeks episode is a repeat makes sense to do that during the holidays. I will be looking forward to the next episodes in the new year!

NASCAR King of the PIT Series Announced – Interview with Ron Cates

Day 17- 25 Days of Christmas Blogging….

On December 7th an announcement was made on a forum by Ron Cates that could potentially mean Millions in the future for Competitive BBQ’ing. Here was the announcement:

NASCAR King of the PIT Series Announced

Commenting on the TOY threads I’ve been reading. Smoke on the Water productions has confirmed we have three firm events with NASCAR racetracks in 2010, Michigan International Speedway June 11, Daytona July 4 weekend and Talladega Halloween weekend. A fourth track will be finalized by end of next week. Contracts are not finalized for prize money yet, we’re working to get $50,000 for each with a $10,000 bonus split and paid through top three places in the points chase from each event.
Counting our $100,000 event in North Little Rock, Arkansas in March and three other contests in Hot Springs National Park, Isle of Capri Casino and Springdale,AR, we will be giving away close to $500,000 in prize money. We’re skimping on bowling trophies and splurging on cash. Entry fees are kept low and everybody has a shot at the big dollars.

This announcement made from Ron Cates from Smoke on the Water productions has been highly anticipated. These things don’t happen overnight.



Last year I flew into Arkansas for the Smoke on the Water Arkansas BBQ Championship at the Clinton Presidential Center. It was the coldest wettest competition I have ever been to. It was a very well run competition. I enjoyed it-other than our 47th overall placement. This year we are going back but this time driving down with our own equipment? Why drive?? (almost 19 hours) Its all about the MONEY. This year its $100,000.00 and its moved to across the road. With that kind of money I would rather have my own equipment with me. I don’t have any illusions of winning GC but I would certainly expect to place much better this year. Plus they are paying to 40th (yes 40th!) place. I like this concept of spreading the wealth.


I talked to Ron about his thoughts on competition the exciting news of the Nascar series and where he sees competition BBQ going.

The first thing we discussed were the confirmed events so far for this year from the Smoke on the Water Productions:

North Little Rock, AR March 19 & 20
Isle of Capri, Lula MS April 16&17
Michigan International Speedway August 13&14
Daytona International Speedway July 2&3
Springdale, AR August 27&28
Hot Springs, AR September 17&18
Talladega Superspeedway Oct 29&30

All are $50k except North Little Rock which is $100k.

There will be 4 NASCAR events in 2010 with $400K total prize money

He is also not done with the 2010 schedule yet.
There may still be some additional locations confirmed.



Q-How did you come up with the series?

RC-How everything got started was that we took a look at the demographics of Nascar. The demographics for Nascar and BBQ are almost identical. They go hand in hand. I have been trying for 13 years to get this point. Then last year Daytona contacted me. Unfortunately when the lawyers got involved it was just too short of time on contracts. So we decided on Talladega.

In Talladega- 123 teams attended. We had a lot of teams doing a wait and see. They wanted to make sure that these were for real competitions. The traffic was run well. We had the teams registered before the races, and they left when the concert was over inside the track- so no traffic issues.
We will have more teams for 2010. It proved to be important to the KCBS TOY race. I Smell Smoke won and jumped a lot of spaces. They (ISS, Pellet Envy & Smokey D’s) all had to go to Arizona because of the results.


Q- How did you start organizing contests?

RC- I started when I thought we could really do it better. I have experience in strategic planning and marketing. I just tried to put on a good event.
The first one just about kills you but the infrastructure keeps getting better. It gets much easier each time you do it.

The advertising and promotions for the competitions are bringing money into the areas. You need to know the economic impact. That way you can approach the areas with a proper business plan and get the support. You have to hold viable events. Establishing a business plan is key.

People also need to think outside the box.

We (Cates & Company) handle tourism accounts. Knowing the inside has helped the organization of the competitions. You need to go above and beyond. We don’t like to take no as an answer (i’ll find a door thats open and a yes). You have to make things happen and get things done. If I went away every time someone said no to me -none of this would have happened.

Amazing how many calls I have received to take over other contests over due to lack of infrastructure. It is essential so you don’t end up at the end of the competition owing money.

Our goals have been always the same pay the cooks what they are worth and reward the cooks accordingly. We listen to the teams and the cooks who are out there. What do they want?? The answer is simple they want money. Trophies are fine but its cash that helps the most. We are on a Quest for the best.

You have to have the money in place first. Not money and prizes but just money. I don’t agree with competitions that post money & prizes it is misleading. You could end up with a cheap grill they over inflate the value of. It should be money only first and foremost and if there are prizes they should be specifically listed. There should be a guarantee on the money.

We try to cut our costs in everything else and we do that so that we can give more money. For example in Little Rock we wanted to make sure the teams had hot coffee and donuts but instead of us shelling out money for it we had Krispy Kreme sponsor that. The cooks are happy with donuts and coffee, Krispy Kreme is happy with the exposure and we have not given up any money towards the teams.

All of our contests are open. There is no invitational. We’re just looking for the best competitors and barbecue in the land. We are skimping on trophies and splurging on cash.



Q-Why tie in with Nascar besides the demographics?

RC- Its all about exposure. These teams are going to be with over 200,000 other people attending the event. There are multiple news station coverage and exposure for sponsors. Additionally we will have a backyard division to access those participants who may not be able to enter the pro series. These Competitive BBQ teams that have sponsors will have better impressions for them at events of this level.

Q- What are your thoughts on the new TLC BBQ Pitmasters series>

RC- TLC BBQ Pitmasters is doing for BBQ what American choppers did for Motorcycles.
It’s all about marketing. The show is revolutionizing this. This is TV high drama. Its not staged its exposure. It works.



Q- What are your thoughts on the KCBS?

RC- KCBS when I started with them in 2000 it was totally different then. The people in the office wanted to be more proactive. There are a couple of people on the BOD that have turned it upside down. Just a fact. Gotten away from doing what they should be doing. Planning for the future.

I think of myself as an independent contractor-the KCBS they should be helping us. I am their customer – I pay sanctioning fees ++ plus $13.00 a head. Smoke on the Water Productions has 112 avg teams per competition. I am giving them $13.00 a head and what are they doing for me.?? Giving me grief..

For example I was trying to get a press releases announcing our competition and they wanted to charge me for it.
Then they told me I had to advertise it in the Bullsheet.

I don’t need the KCBS Bullsheet. I have a database of 10,000 names and can get the word out on my own. E-news letter for example. I can control my own costs.

They are micro managed beyond a doubt. Without calling names it seems they are more concerned with covering their ass and their absurd rules. The people in the office are scared to do anything because of that.

We may have to start our own sanctioning body. Similar to KCBS blind judging but with a different scoring system and ruled. Also the garnish issue. I have heard from many teams that they don’t need it or want the hassle. We listen to the cooks.

I would rather have advisers instead of a BOD -they would not get bogged down in micro management. I would rather give away points and money for TOY (team of the year). Also if I run it it’s a dictatorship. We would make the decisions best for the cooks. I believe this would extend the viability (business plan) of competition BBQ. There is no doubt about it. We listen. We react better.

I have talked to as many cook teams as possible. You have to listen to them. Money talks. Integrity matters. We have had 100% certified judges since I began. We treat them nice. They travel on their own time. We make sure to take care of them. That’s what should be done. We must be doing something right as we already have 240 certified Judges registered for Smoke on the Water, Little Rock.

KCBS TOY race – I have a problem with the way it is run as well.
We had probably some of the best top teams that were registered for Smoke on the Water then they backed out (with their own “excuses”) to do smaller contests and the points were still allocated. We are attracting National Sponsors. Instead of buying a $5.00 bowling trophy lets get a $30,000 sponsor and give it to the TOY.

KCBS seems too narrowly focused – not aggressively marketed themselves. KCBS has so much potential to take it further and they haven’t. KCBS is in a rut. You have to keep evolving. Or else you will stagnate. They are doing nothing cutting edge.

I really don’t care what the current board is doing. I will continue to do what is going to attract people. If they are upset with us-oh well.

IF we can work with the new BOD and get back to the way it used to be then I will work with them absolutely. Here is my problem though – its all about the money. We put on these $100,000 events with music (300,000 ppl per event) and more……
It all adds up to what is KCBS doing for me?

Q- Are you endorsing anyone running for the next BOD of the KCBS?
The Nominees are:
Randy Bigler
John Kirby
Paul Kirk *
Mike Lake *
Barbara Milroy
Linda Mullane *
Jim Stancil
Jeff Stith
Candy Weaver

(* Indicates current board member)

RC-In all fairness I don’t know the others- however I will endorse Candy Weaver and Randy Bigler.
Candy started a couple years ago – She is a business person and has a cooks perspective. She takes no shit off nobody. She will put them in their place.

Q- What is your answer to those people who state you are ruining the purity of BBQ contests?

RC- We are not trying to put the small contests out of business. There is still a place for them.

When you are playing football you play no matter what. Same with BBQ you have to play in all conditions. Only the strong will survive. Our marketing plan is very simple we listen to what the cooks want and we bring the money. Period.

At the bottom of it all – if you don’t like what we are doing don’t come. We will bring the big boys out. The integrity of the sport is not gone – viability is in the Money – it has to be viable to make it last.

To quote Myron “to be the best you have to beat the best”
Our contests will attract the best.

Sneak Peak at this weeks TLC BBQ Pitmasters Show


Heres a sneak Peak at this weeks TLC BBQ Pitmasters show:

THURS – 10pm
BBQ PITMASTERS

Cooking skills, nerves and patience are tested at the historic Riverfest Barbecue Cookoff in Decatur, AL as the Pitmasters battle for the $3,000 top prize. Paul tries to avoid last place placement, Lee Ann’s schedule is threatened by a power outage and Tuffy Stone uses spreadsheets for BBQ?!?

Don’t mess with Myrons Muffin pans LOL

Power Outtages …. LeeAnn Whippen

Paul Petersen Discussing being new to competition BBQ and coming in last place.

Great American BBQ Showdown Food Network

Day 15 – 25 Days of Christmas BBQ Blogging

I can’t wait for January 17th 2010- why>> Because it will be the premiere of the Great American BBQ Showdown on the Food Network!

Tommy and Dennis had told me about this a couple of months ago when they were filming in South Carolian and they just released the dates it will be aired. I am so happy to see more of my BBQ friends on TV. It’s just even more great exposure in addition to the TLC BBQ Pitmasters show currently airing Thursday at 10pm E 9C.

Following 4 Competitive BBQ teams -

Checkered Pig (Tommy Houston)




Bub-ba-Q (William Bubba Latimer)



Divine Smoke (Debbie & Dennis Dill and friend David Hord)




Black Jack Barbecue(Jimmy Hagood)



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