Tag Archive: Redneck Scientific

  1. Chillin & Grillin in the Glades – Wise, VA

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    By Luke Darnell, MABA President and Pitmaster of Old Virginia Smoke

    Chillin and Grillin in the Glades

    In its fourth year, Chillin and Grillin in the Glades continues to be a fantastically run contest in Wise, Virginia.  Organizer Greg Cross does such a good job in making sure the teams lack for nothing.

    New to Wise this year was an SCA Steak Cookoff on Friday night.  This was great fun for the teams and spectators, as there was significant trash talking amongst the competitors.  All in good fun.  Steaks were shared afterwards.  In a shocking development, the steak contest was won by first time cook Jerry Stephenson of Redneck Scientific, while Look Darnell of Old Virginia Smoke got his first ever steak call with second place.

    This year, the weather had some rain showers, but nothing that the teams couldn’t overcome.  The window for awards was tight, but they were able to get them in before the showers started.  Wolfs Revenge ended up as champion on the day, winning GC, with Redneck Scientific earning RGC honors.

    The Town of Wise is already looking forward to next year.  If you haven’t cooked this contest, be sure to consider it for your calendar.

    Full KCBS Results here.

  2. Kings of Q BBQ cook off and Festival, Ayden, NC – May 19-20

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    by Brian Walrath, MABA Board Member and Pitmaster for Brown Liquor BBQ

    Ayden is home to barbecue in the barbecue proud state of North Carolina.  It’s also home to Bum’s Restaurant and Skylight Inn…two eastern North Carolina landmarks for barbecue.  Now, in only its second year, the Kings of Q BBQ cook off and Festival in Ayden, NC has become truly a hidden gem of KCBS contests in the Mid-Atlantic.  This small town of just under 5,000 folks, rolls out the red carpet for us barbecue competitors.  Everything we need is taken care of.  And if it’s not, you won’t go an hour without someone from the town checking in on you to make sure they get it right!  Even the mayor stops by multiple times during the event to check in on you and see that you have all you need!  And if you need a ride on a golf cart…just see our old buddy the fire marshall and his boys and they’ll hook you up!  Power, water, ash barrels and grease barrels are literally steps from our site!  And, it’s always nice to get a little further away than normal and experience southern hospitality and catch up with some teams we don’t see all the time in our usual stomping grounds.

    A couple big questions about who would take the top prize were soon to be answered.  Would Redneck Scientific defend their title among the craziness this year of opening a restaurant and vending the event?  Would Old Virginia Smoke pull of wins in back-to-back weeks?  Would Muttley Crew continue it’s hot start to the season?

    The results were interesting…here they are:

    Congratulations to Jerry Stephenson and Roxanne Manley for repeating as Ayden Grand Champions!

    GC: Redneck Scientific
    RGC: Macadoo Heights BBQ

    Chicken: Hickory Barbecue Company
    Ribs: Bobo’s Que
    Pork: Bobo’s Que
    Brisket: Macadoo Heights BBQ

    Full results here.

  3. Jerry Stephenson, Pitmaster of Redneck Scientific Opens The Redneck BBQ Lab

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    by Brian Walrath, Pitmaster of Brown Liquor BBQ and MABA Board Member

    Time to eat!

    I know we’ve all dreamed about it…or to some had nightmares.  What is “it?”  Taking that plunge from competition barbecue and/or barbecue catering to opening your very own barbecue joint!  Well, Jerry Stephenson of Redneck Scientific fame (yeah, the team that finished fourth overall in KCBS in 2016!), took the plunge in January!  Jerry opened The Redneck BBQ Lab in Benson, North Carolina.

    An impressive line-up of trophies for sure!

    I happened to be not-too-far away from Jerry’s restaurant the first week he opened visiting some friends to attend a Tarheel/Syracuse basketball game and we decided to stop in for lunch the day after the game.  The Redneck BBQ Lab is nestled in next to a gas station in a busy intersection on highway 210, just off of interstate 40.

    You can’t miss the The Redneck BBQ Lab!

    The first thing you notice pulling in is the big painted logo on the side of the building.  The rumor is that this impressive visual landmark was hand crafted by the Sean Manley, aka, “The Guv,” Jerry’s brother-in-law and husband of Roxanne Manley, Jerry’s secret weapon on the barbecue trail!  The front of the joint is equally impressive with a bold series of words that make you want to see what’s inside…PROVEN. WINNING. COMPETITION. BBQ!  The interior has a homey look with wood grain throughout and a country feel as local, historic pictures and signs with country slogans adorn the walls on your way to the counter.  The other thing you can’t help but notice is the trophy shelf that sits right above the windows to the food service line where your order is plated.  This trophy case is flat out impressive and I couldn’t help but look up and wonder about the times I’ve competed against Jerry and Roxanne and think of all the times they whipped my ass!

    Lucky to grab a snapshot of Jerry while he was still relatively still!

    After a handshake and some pleasantries with Jerry, he was off to run an errand as busy restauranteurs often do.  My buddies and I decided to get a sampling of several barbecue meats that included smoked spare ribs, pulled pork, and brisket burnts ends and slices.  The Redneck Barbecue Lab only sells burnt ends on certain days, and we were glad we hit the right one!  Our sides included local collards and the jalapeno mac ‘n cheese.  As a competition barbecue cook, sometimes our opinions are flawed when it comes to restaurant barbecue.  But I can tell you confidently, Jerry is doing it right!  The brisket was perfectly smoked and tender as a mother’s love.  The pulled pork was true to this region and succulent with great mouth feel.  The burnt ends literally melted in your mouth.  The spare ribs were done just right…not overcooked and falling off the bone, but just the right doneness to give you a great bite and chew.  The impressiveness didn’t stop there.  The collards and mac were among the best I’ve dug in to as well.

    Brisket, ribs, pork, mac, and collards were the order of the day!

    Perhaps what’s most impressive about The Redneck BBQ Lab however, is the people.  Our service was quick, friendly, and with the southern charm that always makes me come back to these parts!  The joint is just that…a joint.  It’s not a big place and if you want to be sure to get some tasty ‘que, you better get there early.  As with all of the best BBQ hotspots I’ve found, they sell a finite amount and when they’re sold out, that’s it!

    All in all, it was a great experience and the food was killer.  It’s right off 40 and not too far off of 95.  If you get a chance, go, you won’t be disappointed.  Jerry and his team are doing it right.  I will be back for sure the first chance I get!

    Have you eaten great barbecue at a Mid-Atlantic barbecue joint lately?  Tell us about it and we’ll feature other restaurants in the newsletter and the MABA website.  Just email your review/story to me at brnwlr@aol.com.

    Impressive crowds flock to the The Lab!
  4. Tip From the Pros – Garnishing Your Competition Box

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    by Brian Walrath, MABA Board Member and Pitmaster for Brown Liquor BBQ

    The old saying goes, there are more ways than one to skin a cat.  The same holds true for garnishing your KCBS competition box.  Now before I even get started, I want to remind all of our readers what the current KCBS rules state regarding garnish…ahh, ‘ole rule #12:

    12) Garnish is optional. If used it is limited to chopped, sliced, shredded or whole leaves of fresh green lettuce, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley, curly green kale and/or cilantro. PROHIBITED GARNISHES ARE lettuce cores and other vegetation, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TOendive, red tipped lettuce. “PROHIBITED” garnish shall receive a penalty score of one (1) on Appearance.

    Now, when our team first started doing competition barbecue, we did the standard curly parsley boxes you’ve probably seen many times.  The drawback to these types of boxes are that they are a bit time consuming and finding consistent parsley can be a challenge at different times of the year.  Also, we’ve heard feedback from the judge’s tent that sometimes the individual pieces of parsley stick to your barbecue and some will ding the taste if they get it in their bite.  However, even with that said, a well done parsley box makes a nice presentation if you have the patience and like that overall look.  Here’s a link to a great resource on making that pretty parsley box.screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-48-30-am

    Another way to garnish your box became popular last year with the use of cutting discs of tightly rolled curly leaf lettuce.  Pitmaster Jerry Stephenson of Redneck Scientific even created an awesome video on exactly how this technique is done.  We started doing our boxes this way last year and found that it cut our time making boxes drastically and we could do all four in about 20 minutes or so.  We liked that nice even, flat surface this method provides.  We also liked that we could cut our discs to different heights to boost up the garnish so the meat would sit up on it and be the star of the show or cut them a bit narrower so we had more depth for chicken or stacking ribs.  One word of caution if using this technique…make sure you remove all the Saran Wrap from the box or you could get disqualified for having a foreign object in your box.  One tip is to use colored wrap which can be readily found in green or red during the holidays or can also be found on Amazon.

    In 2016 kale became an approved garnish for KCBS boxes.  Building a kale box is a bit similar to the curly parsley, but it’s much more dense and easier to work with.  The bunches don’t seem to stick to meat entries, and building kale boxes is just as quick, if not quicker than building the lettuce disc boxes mentioned above.  Here’s a great new video produced by BBQ Guru featuring BBQ Bob Trudnak, pitmaster of the competition team by the same name!

    At the end of the day, there are dozens of ways and a handful of different greens you may use to garnish your competition boxes.  This article highlights just a few that we’ve used and have had some success with.  You’ve got to find what works for you and what you can do consistently to keep your appearance scores in that 8 to 9 range all the time.  Garnishing your boxes is probably the easiest element of competition barbecue that you can control week in and week out.  But, remember, it’s also the lowest weighted component of scoring, so don’t get too bogged down in turning in the perfect pretty box for the judges…first and foremost, cook the meat right!



  5. Interview With the Champs – Redneck Scientific

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    by Brian Walrath, MABA Board Member and Pitmaster for Brown Liquor BBQ

    In case you’ve been under a rock for the last two years, perhaps you haven’t noticed the incredible run that team Redneck Scientific is on.  From Clayton, North Carolina and led by Pitmaster Jerry Stephenson, the pride of Johnston County has 10…yes, 10 grand championship in 2016 alone!  Along with his usual sidekick, sister Roxanne, you’ll see Redneck Scientific not only high on the MABA TOY points standings, but they’re right up there in the KCBS TOY standings too.  And if all this wasn’t enough, Jerry has a huge new project in the works soon to debut…check it all out in this month’s Interview With the Champs!

    Redneck Scientific logo

    Wow, 10 GCs in 2016.  Can you point to one or two things that have been the difference this year or is it a combination of things?

    Jerry Stephenson, Redneck Scientific:
    I think the key to this year’s successes has been we’ve kept it really simple which has led us to be more consistent and make less mistakes than others. Also, I think we’ve worked out a flavor profile that’s appealing to judges and not something generic that has been replicated, bartered or stolen by others.

    But, the most compelling reason we are doing so well this season is I have a Roxanne. And no one else does.

    You’re right there in the hunt for KCBS Team of the Year, currently in second place and within striking distance.  Was chasing KCBS TOY one of the goals for this season?

    JS, RS:
    Third place actually as of today. And, no, chasing TOY was not a goal for us this year. We were gearing towards it in the future but this year is just kind of happened.

    Will you keep up the rigorous schedule to try to secure the TOY win?

    JS, RS:
    We plan on finishing out the NC contests, The Jack and both the American Royal Invitational/Open. After that, I think we just shut it down. We’re short on TOY points due to the local NC/SC/VA contests not being full of cook teams like they have in the past. I’m not inclined to go chasing contests all over the nation with 35 or more teams to try to get max points either. In the end, this is a money game played by folks with a lot more money and time than I have at this moment. Maybe in the future we will be able to afford it to make a dedicated run at the KCBS TOY title. But, not right now.

    Congratulations on qualifying for “The Jack.”  Will you also be heading to Kansas City this year for “The Royal?”

    JS, RS:
    Ironically, yes. The draw for the Jack was the factor in making our decision to go back to the Royal again this year. We’ve been the past 3 years and a good friend of mine was going there for his first time and wanted us to go with him. I told him the only way we would be going this year, because of all the stuff we have going on, is if we got the Jack draw. Which we finally did after 4 years of being eligible.

    I really think he paid someone off to make that happen too!

    Recently you released some big news…can you tell us more about it here?

    Redneck BBQ Lab logoJS, RS:
    Yep. We’re doing exactly what I’ve said I would never do and are opening up a BBQ restaurant in Johnston County NC off of Interstate 40 at exit 319. We will be using our Backwoods Smokers to cook the meat (first and only ones in NC) and will be putting out a daily limited supply of a competition style product not currently being done in our area. We will serve until we run out of food each day. The name of the restaurant will be “The Redneck BBQ Lab”.

    You’re heavily involved in Operation Barbecue Relief.  Can you tell us more about your involvement and how the rest of the barbecue community can help?

    JS, RS:
    OBR’s mission statement (“provides compassion, offers hope and friendship to those whose lives have been affected by disasters across the United States.”) shares a core philosophy of mine that food is a critical means to convey caring to people whether they are in need or just feel like they want to give something back to someone.

    All it takes to give is time and/or money. Both of which we all have a bit of. You can find out more about this at:  https://operationbbqrelief.org/.

    Tell our readers about your team name, set up, and teammates.

    JS, RS:
    Redneck Scientific was formed in late 2011 as a smoker building company that ended up doing one KCBS competition that year. We’ve been competing now for 5 years. In that span of time, we have done 93 contests, won 18 Grand Championships, had 6 Reserve Grand Championships, had over 250 top ten calls, 3 MABA Cup wins in NC and 8 perfect 180 scores.

    We cook out of a unique custom 20-foot trailer that was built out and designed by us.  We cook on a Backwoods Smoker (Pro Junior). We are sponsored by Royal Oak charcoal, BBQ Guru, Mojobricks, Oakridge BBQ rubs and Q Company Backwoods Smokers.

    Our team consists of my wife (Liz), Brother in Law (Sean Manley aka “The Guv”), my 2 daughters (Fiona & Elle), my sister (Roxanne) and myself.

    Ok, I always ask our winning pitmasters this…what’s the one tip you have for those teams to help them break through and win their first GC or up their game in competition BBQ?

    JS, RS:
    Treat this game like baseball. Concentrate on hitting 4 singles and you’ll become a better team in the Overall standings…where it matters the most.

    Any other goals for the remainder of 2016 or looking forward?

    JS, RS:
    Probably just finishing all of the things on my plate would be beyond comprehension to me right now! I’m doubting I can fit any other goals in unless we…

    Anything else to add before we sign off?

    JS, RS:
    Yes. I forgot to note that our winning percentage has gone up 300% since attending Cook’s Church at our BBQ contests. Could be a coincidence but why take a chance? Attend one if you get a chance!

  6. Pitmaster Tip of the Month – Bonus Tip (Actually Two)!

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    by Jerry Stephenson, Pitmaster of Redneck Scientific and Owner of The Redneck BBQ Lab

    screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-1-51-37-pmI’m kind of torn between what tip I should share this month and, since I could not decide, I’m going to give 2 instead of one.

    My first tip is that a good partner is a vital key to success in BBQ. Let’s face it…2 hands are better than 1 as are 2 eyes, 2 noses, and 2 extra feet. Often times than not, my sister/BBQ partner is the key deciding factor in our daily successes. Find a reliable and similar minded person to help you. Not just to hang out…but be a part of your successes.

    Finally, my second tip is one that I learned over a period of years. The most underrated and beneficial thing that a cook can have is free. Yep, 100% FREE.  No, I’m not talking free healthcare, money or education. I’m talking free mental help.

    My second tip that has helped my cooking abilities over the year is that mental awareness is key to catching and correcting problems before they occur. This is a quality that all great cooks have.  They “see” the problems coming at them and adjust.  The key to having this mental awareness is getting proper uninterrupted sleep.

    Sleep is my second tip. It’s free and easy to come by if you are prepared. Have a comfortable chair/cot/bed, avoid late night partying all together (especially the jar of clear that some teams like to pass around to cripple their competition), set a bedtime (and stick to it!) and do whatever uncompleted tasks you can do prior to going to bed that will help you save time in the am.

    The TEAM that has had great SLEEP will be more AWARE of obstacles and overcome them in their SUCCESSES.

  7. Butts and Beans BBQ Challenge Newton, NC

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    By Stephanie West, “The Neck” Pitmaster of 270 SMOKERS

    This relatively new competition has quickly catapulted into the territory of “one of our favs”, largely due to the awesome enthusiasm and participation of the locals in this event.  Noel Kay is the organizer and as an experienced competitor, Noel really understands the needs of the teams.  The event is held at the fairground on flat, grassy spots that are a minimum of 30’x50′ (ours was close to 80′). Now that’s just downright dreamy.

    The comp is a fundraiser for the local emergency responders and included a full-on auction that consumed much of Friday evening.  (Bring some extra cash with you to Newton, as between the auction and raffles you will indeed discover a few items that you really NEED to buy, trust me on this!)  Saturday morning starts with Cook’s Church, followed by one of the best team breakfasts that we’ve ever had.  Thank you, Noel!
    Jerry and Roxanne of Redneck Scientific take GC again in Newton, NC!
    Jerry and Roxanne of Redneck Scientific take GC again in Newton, NC!
    GC:  Redneck Scientific
    RGC:  Smokin Skullies

    1st Chicken:  Redneck Scientific
    1st Ribs:  Foothills BBQ Company
    1st Pork:  Elite BBQ Smokers
    1st Brisket:  Smokin Skullies

    See complete results here.
  8. Pigs & Pedals Asheboro, NC

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    By Stephanie West, MABA Vice-President and “The Neck” Pitmaster for Team 270 Smokers

    SUPERHEROs prevail!!  Once again, the brother-sister power house of (MABA Board Member) Jerry Stephenson and Roxanne Stephenson Manly knocked it out of the park to capture their 5th Grand Championship of the year, secure their lead in the Old North State Series, and propel them into the Top 10 KCBS teams in the world!!   What an awesome run for Redneck Scientific!!

    Picture of Redneck Scientific with their awards
    Redneck Scientific wins again!

    This was the 3rd year for Pigs & Pedals in the charming town of Asheboro, NC and 47 BBQ teams turned out to vie for $12K in prize money.  The BBQ comp is coupled with cycling and foot races, and you can feel the energy and enthusiasm for this event throughout the entire town.  Local sponsors generously donated a dozen or more “door prizes” for the BBQ teams along with an ample goodie bag, and the City provided breakfast at nearby HOPS BBQ.  They opened the city pool for BBQ teams, including free use of indoor showers.  Live music was provided on Friday and Saturday, with quiet hours fully respected (thank you!)  Contest organizer Pam Morgan and her team of volunteers were awesome, shuttling ice and other necessities to the teams all weekend.

    A few tips:  If you plan to attend next year, get there at 8am on Friday as team placement in the parking lot is pretty much sequential to your arrival time – the later you arrive, the further away you’ll be from the judging tent.  (Teams are not allowed to set up on Thursday night as the event is held downtown.)  Meat inspection was conducted roadside (not at your site) where teams queued up on a side street for check-in, so pack your meat cooler where it is readily accessible.  And, if you can, bring a large misting station and an extra garden hose.  It’s August, it’s North Carolina, it’s steamy hot in a beautifully paved parking lot.  You get the idea!

    First place winners:
    Chicken – Contagious Q
    Ribs –Wolf’s Revenge BBQ
    Pork –Redneck Scientific
    Brisket –Wolf’s Revenge BBQ

    Grand Champion –Redneck Scientific
    Reserve Grand Champion –Smoking Butt Heads

    Check out the full competition results here.

  9. 2016 Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle – Washington, DC

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    by Mike Fay, MABA Past President and Pitmaster for Aporkalypse Now

    I have that mixed emotional feeling of watching your evil in-law driving off a cliff in your brand new car every time the Giant National Capital BBQ battle comes around. It’s a great event located right down on Pennsylvania Ave between the White House and the Capitol in Washington DC, great prize money and you get to be in front of thousands of folks but this is all countered by the sometimes difficult load in / load out process, no running water, and an odd two day turn in schedule.

    Image of the bbq competition in downtown DC
    The location of the Giant National Capital BBQ Battle on Pennsylvania Avenue is unlike any other event!

    This was Giant’s first year as the major sponsor and they did a tremendous job of raising the bar. Load in was the smoothest yet and the infrastructure was top notch; kudos to Giant. If you’ve ever considered this event but shied away due to the horror stories (they were probably all true) you should reconsider this event in 2017 as most if not all of these issues have been put to bed.

    The event schedule is probably the oddest on the KCBS trail. Not only are turn ins at different times than a normal KCBS event, they are spread out over two days. Add to this the order of turn ins is different and you have quite the challenge. You turn in chicken and brisket at 6 & 6:30pm on Saturday then ribs and pork at Noon and 12:30 on Sunday. This makes for a long weekend.

    Since it’s held DC, MABA had a large turnout, BeerBeQue, 3Eyz, Aporkalypse Now, Serial Griller, Dizzy Pig, Pork Barrel, Redneck Scientific, Black Cat BBQ & Wilbur’s Revenge just to name a few all headed downtown to face off against many of the famous names in BBQ such as Cool Smoke, Jack’s Old South, & Moe Cason.

    Image of MABA teams participating in the National Capital BBQ Battle including Beer B Que, Dizzy Pig, Old Virginia Smoke, and Wilbur's Revenge!
    MABA teams participating in the National Capital BBQ Battle including Beer B Que, Dizzy Pig, Old Virginia Smoke, and Wilbur’s Revenge!

    When the Smoke cleared MABA members did themselves proud with Aporkalypse Now taking the Perdue Chicken Championship and Black Cat BBQ taking top honors in the Smithfield Rib Challenge.

    First place winners:
    Chicken – Aporkalypse Now
    Ribs – Black Cat BBQ
    Pork – Cool Smoke
    Brisket – Historic BBQ
    National Pork Champion – Cool Smoke

    Grand Champion –Aporkalypse Now
    Reserve Grand Champion – Bull Rush BBQ

    Check out the full competition results here.

    Image of champions Aporkalypse Now
    Aporkalypse Now – Grand Champs and heading to the Jack!
  10. Hog Happenin’ – Lincolnton, NC

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    By Stephanie West, MABA Vice-President and “The Neck” Pitmaster for Team 270 Smokers

    As the 3rd event out of 7 in the Old North State Series, we ventured to Lincolnton, NC for Hog Happenin’ under the impression that the four-legged variety was the star of this small North Carolina town.  Indeed, there were hogs by the thousands…they’d taken over every street and byway, capturing the attention and awe of bystanders…but it was the wheeled variety that was being celebrated at this festival!  Biker nirvana, I’d say!

    Image from the festivalAnd did I mention it was HOT?  Lord, have mercy, it was hot and humid!!  97 in the shade, and we were oh so very thankful for that shade!  (It was so hot that we skipped our traditional “team meeting” shot and instead passed out popsicles to neighboring teams!)

    26 teams competed in Lincolnton, with most hailing from North Carolina.  And North Carolina prevailed!  MABA’s own Redneck Scientific crushed it, capturing their 3rd GC of the year with a 706.2400 – marking their entry into “The 700 Club”!!  Jerry and Roxanne swept 1st in Ribs with a 180, 1st in Brisket, 2nd in Pork, and 3rd in Chicken!!  RGC went to Checkered Pig with a 691.9200.  Team 270 Smokers took 1st in Chicken (their first 180 in Chicken), and Elite BBQ Smokers did the same in Pork.  Overall, it was a pretty large spread in team scores (from 560 to 706), with no “table of angels” or “table of death”.

    Cash and trophies were awarded to GC, RGC, and the top 3 in each category, framed certificates were given for 4th thru 6th.  Payouts to just the top 3 was a pretty controversial topic, and it’s something that you may want to think about if you’re considering this event on your schedule next year.  If you do go, enjoy the small town charm and all the biker bling you can imagine!

    Image of motorcycles parked




    First place winners:
    Chicken – 270 Smokers (with a perfect 180!)
    Ribs – Redneck Scientific (with a perfect 180!)
    Pork – Elite BBQ Smokers (with a perfect 180!)
    Brisket – Redneck Scientific

    Grand Champion – Redneck Scientific
    Reserve Grand Champion – Checkered Pig

    Check out the full competition results here.