With submissions being accepted for Season 4 of BBQ Pitmasters, I’m happy to publish another account of being on Season 3. Today’s post comes courtesy of Rob Marion of 2 Worthless Nuts. Rob is one of the most well-respected competitors on the circuit. His dedication to assisting with the military and charitable causes is unparalleled. So without further delay, here’s Rob talking about BBQ Pitmasters in his own words…
I did not think that the chances were good to be chosen for BBQ Pitmasters Season 3 due not to feeling like I was not qualified, but the video I submitted did not have any BBQ background. It was just me sitting in a hotel room talking about my passion(s). I wanted to be on the show not to bring attention to me and my restaurant (because they do not exist), but rather to have a chance to win money for two organizations that are grounded in BBQ and show the true heart of the BBQ community — Operation BBQ Relief and Operation BBQ for the Troops — who were going to receive my winnings had I been picked as the next Pitmaster.
It was a whirlwind from the moment that I got the call that 2 Worthless Nuts had been picked to be on the show. I did find out quickly that life would have to be adjusted to meet my mantra of “Semper-Gumby”, always flexible. I was first informed that I was going to tape in Mississippi, then was assigned another location, before finally settling into taping at Salisbury, Maryland.
I had to get Cowboy Dan on board with the taping schedule because he has started a oil field service company to take care of the oil boom that is currently going on in Ohio. We set it up that we were going to tape me telling Cowboy Dan over breakfast to get his true reaction to being picked on film because they needed to see a video of how we interacted together. Needless to say Cowboy was ecstatic and made sure to clear up whatever part of his calendar he needed to n order to be part of the experience.
One of the hardest parts of the agreement that you have to sign, the way that they wanted it set up was that I could not let anyone know….talk about a task. Before taping the episode that we finally got assigned to I went out on the road across America to cook against teams that I do not get a chance to all of the time. I hit the road to Mesa, AZ, Pleasant Hill, MO, Osage City, KS, and Gadsden, AL. I was fortunate to hit some hot tables along the route, and after a GC and RGC I felt I was ready for the taping of BBQ Pitmasters.
The production staff was extremely professional, full of energy, and made the experience far better than I could have imagined. Meeting the Southern Krunk Burn One Boys for the first time was quite an experience. They were just as energetic and funny as they seemed to be on their audition tape and we all bonded pretty quickly. The other team was Diva Q, and I know Danielle fairly well. I know she can cook well, but, celebrations are somewhere that we do not see eye to eye, and I figured that I knew why I was picked to be on that particular episode… good drama = good TV.
After spending a couple hours going over the “thou shall, and thou shall not’s” we were led to the set up site, and that was quite the experience. The BBQ Pitmasters bus, all of the people running all around as you pulled in really made ya feel like a rock star. BBQ friends were finally able to see what I could not tell them, that I had landed on BBQ Pitmasters.
The difficulty of cooking and preparing to cook in this setting is not knowing what you are going to be cooking until you get on site. Once I opened the cooler and was able to take in the meats I was one happy camper, chicken….chicken, I mean, I just came off of a 180, 2 first place finishes, and a top 5…..yeah, it was a whole chicken, but chicken is one site for sore eyes. When I got the chance to take in the bone in rack of pork, yeah, there were many pauses when having to talk about the pork, because really it was just pork prime rib.
The cooking portion of the taping goes by so fast, and I can tell you that the hardest thing to do is to keep up with your producer. Each cook has their own producer and cameraman, and both of mine were phenomenal, keeping me on my toes with questions about anything and everything that you do. Before you know it the time to turn in came around. Now, I know that drama creates good TV, and this is after all a TV show. But I did not want to get into just talking trash, talking down to the other teams, or, coming across as an ass… I wanted to be me. I support BBQ teams, the work that goes into the craft, and mentoring new teams. Trash talking was not a lot of what I did… though they still seemed to catch a few interactions. I knew that I would be watching the show with Commanders in the military, and I wanted to be proud of my efforts.
Losing the show was hard, probably harder than getting my butt handed to me at a contest, because after a contest I can throw away the score cards and never have to talk about it again. Losing on the show, I knew that I would watch it over and over without the results changing. Now, I get asked all of the time if I could do anything different what would it be…I would have asked ahead of time if the bacon could stay on the loin, rather than waiting for them to tell me no.
I would have loved to cook straight, bring your own competition meat(s), and run the four categories. I feel that given the level that I had been cooking all over the Country at that time that it would not have been the same result. Heck, I would even still love to do a all star show where we all get together and cook the four meats, true blind judging, and let the numbers fall where they may. I did get out of the show some new friends with Randy and Andy, I keep in touch with them often, and look forward to our yearly get-togethers to cook against each other. The people at contests who I never have met that come up to talk BBQ as a result of seeing the show is a bonus as well, getting to share my love, my passion for cooking BBQ, attempting to put out perfectly cooked meat, is something that is a blessing. Would I do it again, yes, in a heart beat!