“Race to the Finish” – BBQ Pitmasters Season 4 Episode 5 Recap

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BBQ Pitmasters rolls into Martinsville, VA this week with thrills, spills, and a NASCAR-sized surprise for this week’s episode!

(NOTE: As usual, spoilers are below.  So if you have not seen this episode and don’t want to know the results, stop reading now)

Episode Synopsis

This episode was filmed the weekend of April 5th-7th (I believe) in Martinsville, VA at Martinsville Speedway.  This episode could have been called the “Love and Marriage” episode, as all three teams were husband-and-wife teams.  Teams for this week’s episode are:

Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson BBQ returns as the guest judge for this week.  For this episode, the teams were given baby back ribs and whole turkey and 8 hours to cook and turn in the entries.  On the whole turkey, the teams were required to turn in both white and dark meat as part of their entries.  The episode progressed normally, showing each team’s smoker, turkey preparation, baby back rib preparation, and bio.  About midway through the episode, the judges rolled out a special surprise– the teams all got to meet NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  He announced that the winner of this episode would be an honorary pit crew member for his #88 Diet Mt. Dew race team.

The drama around this episode centered around Tommy’s turkey – it was cooking much faster than expected.  He ultimately made the decision to part the turkey breasts out and hold it in a hot box while returning the remainder of the turkey to the smoker, then removing the skin from the breasts for his turn-in entry. 

The baby back rib entries ended up being neck and neck.  Ultimately, the turkey was the differentiator for this episode.  The turkey entry from Swamp Boys propelled them to the champion spot for this episode (and the prize of honorary crew member on Dale Jr.’s team).  Checkered Pig came in 2nd, with Smoked to the Bone coming in 3rd. 

My Thoughts, Plus a Drink Count

Here are my thoughts/opinions about this episode:

  • Not as much trash talking this episode. 
  • Interesting fact of the episode – While Jennifer Duncan and her husband Tommy are co-owners of Whiskey Ranch BBQ Co., they generally compete against each other on the competition circuit.
  • Rachel Stacy – Miss Virginia Heart of the Union – delivered one of the better lines during the 5 minute warning: “You’ve got 5 minutes to get your meats in, or I’m sending your BBQ butts home!”
  • Chris Lilly does a really great job of explaining different aspects of the BBQ techniques used throughout the episode.  Very analytical – I like it!
  • Just in case no one has noticed, Diet Mt. Dew is the official drink of BBQ Pitmasters.  Personally, as a judge, I would’ve had water between each entry.  Maybe they did and just didn’t get it on camera…

And now for the drink count…  I counted 43 drinks (rules can be found on the BBQ Pitmasters Drinking Game blog) distributed amongst the following categories:

  • “That’s Me” – 18 drinks
  • Injections/Flavor Profiles – 10 drinks
  • Butter/Squeeze Butter – 7 drinks
  • Trash Talking – 7 drinks
  • Trashed Entry – 1 drink

Let me know what you thought about this episode!