Tonight the BBQ Pitmasters series debuts on TLC. There is great anticipation from within the bbq community, and it will be interesting to see how the show is perceived by the general viewing public. I have been checking out some of the tweets and there are some mixed emotions about the promo.
The show will feature seven competitors, following them at five KCBS events as well as the Big Pig Jig and a grandiose finale tabbed the Johnny Trigg Shootout.
Here are the five KCBS events:
Smokin' in Mesquite Nevada Open BBQ Championship - Mesquite, NV
Decatur Jaycees 15th Annual Riverfest - Decatur, AL
Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-Off - Murphysboro, IL
30th Annual American Royal Barbecue - Kansas City, MO
Diamond State BBQ Championship - Dover, DE
Here is the lineup of the featured competitors with my own commentary:
Paul Petersen is competing as PABLO DIABLO BBQ. Petersen is a classically trained chef that is competing in bbq competitions for the first time as part of this show. He will be cooking on a new Klose pit, but I think the viewers will see that there is a lot more to bbq than just being a good chef. Don't let me spoil it for you, but he definitely doesn't dominate the competition. Knowing that he finished DAL or close to it, it will be interesting to see how the show plays this out.
Lee Ann Whippen, aka Token, of Wood Chicks BBQ is the only female in the competition. This offers the obvious Man vs. Woman in a male dominated competition storyline, but Lee Ann is not someone that was just pulled off the street. She has competed for several years and has won several competitions all across the country. Lee Ann cooks on Big Green Eggs and I think that she will relate to most of the viewers.
Jamie Geer of Jambo Pits just might have to change his phone number after this show airs, because three of his pits will be prominently featured on this show (Jamie, Tuffy, and Johnny). I don't know all that much about Jamie other than his pits have one more contest than any other cooker.
Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke is the owner of Q Barbeque, and the 2007 KCBS Team of the Year. That year, Tuffy won six contests and he still manages to win several contests a year while opening a new bbq restaurant. Tuffy is a really nice guy and it will be interesting to see if the show plays him out to be a nice guy or a bad guy.
Johnny Trigg of Smokin Triggers is so often called the "grandfather of bbq" that it is becoming cliche. Johnny is what you think of when you think of a Texan, and I would say that it is a safe bet that the show will play up his Texas roots.
Harry Soo of Slap Yo Daddy BBQ is most famous for taking first place in all four categories at the Way Out West BBQ Championship in Stockton, CA. Being from California, Harry will be playing the role of the "outsider" considering he does not fit the primary stereotype of a BBQ Pitmaster.
Myron Mixon of Jack's Old South is definitely going to be portrayed as the bad boy of the show. Don't be fooled though - the all black look is not something that was done up for this show. That is his full time look. Myron is a three time winner of Memphis in May, and at the Murphysboro MBN contest he got a chance to strut his stuff.
So tune in tomorrow night at 9pm CST. I will also try to post my thoughts after each episode.
For more information on the show check out this great interview with the executive producer John Markus.