BBQ Pitmasters Season 4 started off this season on December 16th in Bedford Texas. Returning to the judges’ seat for this season were Myron Mixon, Tuffy Stone and Aaron Franklin.
Meet the Competitiors:
Harold “Buzzie” Hughes chief cook of Buzzie’s BBQ Restaurant – Kerrville, Texas
Ernest Servantes chief cook of Burnt Bean Co. – New Braunfels, Texas
Will Fleischman chief cook of Lockhart Smokehouse – Dallas, Texas
This season BBQ Pitmasters takes a different approach to the competitions that are being held. They’re taking us to different regions of BBQ and emphasizing on meats and the way they’re cooked in those specific regions. This approach to the competition is interesting in that we now have a whole show dedicated to a specific style or 2 from these areas. Judge Aaron Franklin really shined in this episode since his BBQ Restaurant, Franklin BBQ, is in Austin Texas and specializes in brisket in particular.
This season again brings us the meats from one of the top sources that is Snake River Farms (SRF). SRF is widely known in the BBQ world for their Waygu Beef and is highly used in competition BBQ. Lately there have been other meat suppliers burning up the charts on the competition circuit such as Creekstone Farms.
Before we go into details about how we think each contestant did, I’d like to visit the smokers being used! Harold “Buzzie” Hughes used a custom wood burning smoker with 2 75 gallon reservoirs that was built by himself. Will Fleischman was using a custom built indirect smoker that we were unable to catch the logo of what brand it was…we’re still investigating though. Ernest Servantes was using a custom built Pitmaker Smoker. We’ve taken a liking to these smokers as they’ve gotten pretty good ratings from our friend Bigmista and hell, they look nice as well.
Both Buzzie and Will are BBQ Restaurant owners however Will had never been in a BBQ competition before. We’d be the first to tell you that Restaurant BBQ and Competition BBQ are 2 totally different amimals..no pun intended. Ernest is a BBQ competition cook and caterer who has won several competitions.
This season’s first episode definitely didn’t hold back on the smack talk. You had Buzzie, tending to his custom pit that seemed like a fuel hog, hollering over to Ernest chastising him for “letting the pit do the work”. Buzzie then stated that Ernest was just sitting and drinking a lot of beer and not doing any BBQing. If you know like we know, BBQ, and BBQ competitions in particular involve a ton of beer consumption. Ernest’s witty response back was “I come to do 2 things buzzie, chew bubblegum and kick ass. Last night I ran outta bubblegum so all I have left is to whip some ass”. Another surprise in the show was Will Fleischman stating that foiling the meat is cheating. This process of foiling is called the “Texas Crutch” that comes from guess where?
While we can only judge on one of the 3 competition categories, which is appearance, we tried our best. Buzzie’s appearance was top of the line while Will’s over-cooked brisket seemed somewhat mushy or perhaps he could have submitted a better looking slice.
3) Lockhart Smokehouse
2) Burnt Bean Company
1) Buzzie’s BBQ Restaurant