The semi-finals are now set for Season 4 of BBQ Pitmasters. Who will be the final team to move on to the next round?
(NOTE: Spoilers are ahead. Stop reading if you have not seen this episode and don’t want to know the results)
Episode 9 of this season of BBQ Pitmasters was filmed in Bixby, OK at the Bixby BBQ’n Blues Festival. Making her return as guest judge for the second straight week was Danielle Dimovski of DivaQ. This episode featured three teams from the southeastern US:
- Bulldog BBQ – Miami, FL (pitmaster is Howie Kleinberg)
- Rescue Smokers – Sycamore, GA (pitmaster is Robby Royal)
- Common Interest BBQ – Charleston, SC (pitmaster is Jack Waiboer)
The contestants on this episode were given tri-tip and country style ribs, with 8 hours to turn in both entries at the same time. The tri-tip is a small (normally between 1 1/2 to 2 lbs.) cut of meat from the bottom sirloin. It is most common out on the West Coast, although specialty butcher shops should be able to carry this cut. Country style ribs can be found on the rib end of a pork loin. The contestants were given the country style ribs in a rib roast style form.
Unfortunately for the contestants, the weather was not kind to them. The rainy, cold weather forced Howie and Jack (who were both cooking on indirect stick burner style cookers) to use more wood and have to tend the fire more. Rescue Smokers was definitely at an advantage here with the insulated cooker (I’m not sure if it was a Stump’s or some other brand of smoker), yet there could have been a disadvantage with Robby having never cooked tri-tip. In the end, he treated it like a brisket. While Common Interest BBQ had the best tri-tip turn-in of the episode (thanks to Jack’s partner Michael McDearman of the American GrillMaster Experience), Rescue Smokers was able to hang close with their entry. And on the merits of their country style rib entry, Rescue Smokers edged out Common Interest BBQ to move on to the semi-finals. Bulldog BBQ was plagued by some tenderness and salt issues on their tri-tip entry and wound up third.
My Thoughts, Plus a Drink Count
The semi-finals are now set, and it looks to be nothing short of a good ol’ fashioned slobberknocker. Nine strong teams are looking to fill three slots in the finals, and there are no sure-fire gimmees for the semi-finals.
A PDF version of the bracket is available for download here. As for a drink count on this episode, I counted 33 drinks broken down as follows:
- “That’s Me” – 18 drinks
- Trash Talking – 6 drinks
- Flavor Profiles/Injections – 9 drinks.
Who’s looking forward to the semi-finals? Who are you picking to move on to the finals? What did you think about this episode?