The fourth episode was filmed at the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri. I feel a bit of a connection to this episode because I was judging at the Royal while filming was underway, but that was for the Open Competition. The folks on the show are competing in the Invitational, which requires that you've been a Grand Champion in the past.
This episode begins with Tuffy picking up his retooled pit which he sent to a friend for repair before the big competition.
To stop the bleeding, Paul finally reaches out for some help. He heads down to Alvarado, Texas from his home in McKinney to meet Johnny Trigg and hope for some cooking tips. When the meeting was over, he'd received an unprecedented invitation from Johnny to be a member of the Smokin' Triggers team at the Royal, so he could watch and learn.
In addition to the normal competitors, this episode features Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur, Alabama. He's a big rival of Myron Mixon, so I'm guessing most folks watching were rooting for Chris to knock off the wind-bag. Lee-Ann and Harry Soo don't make an appearance on this episode.
Paul then gets a detailed look at Johnny's secrets for meat preparation, and they plan to meet at 2:45 to start up the pits. Of course Johnny's waiting in the dark without a Paul sighting at 2:45, but he runs in at 2:47 after jumping the fence, and they get the fire started at 3:00. The pit warms for 45 minutes before the meat goes in, and they're off and cooking the brisket. Johnny then gives a lesson in trimming St. Louis ribs from a rack of spare ribs.
Just before pork turn in, Tuffy realizes he sent off his box without saucing it, but it was too late to do anything about it except fret. Despite that, in the end Tuffy and his Cool Smoke team took home third place overall, which was the only one in the top 5. The best outcome of the day was Myron all the way down at 73rd place, last of the pitmasters on the show.
This episode may be the best so far at actually focusing on the cooking rather than just manufactured drama. They also did a great job getting across what it's like to be a judge in the blind tasting.
We'll see you next episode at Day 2 of the American Royal for the Open Competition.
- BBQ Snob