Stuart Good
Stuart Good • Strategist

Competitive Pitmasters • Subculture


Infiltrate a subculture and make a short film about how it works. A subculture is a group of people brought together by a niche passion or shared interest.


Often synonymous with friends and relaxation, barbecue is one of America’s greatest pastimes. However, many do not know there is another side to the jovial, laid back food. Competitive pitmasters are precise and intense about their craft. They play to win, most of the time tens of thousands of dollars.

This video is 8:30 minutes long, so if you are short on time check out my takeaways below.


1. Competitive BBQing is the opposite of regular BBQing in almost every way. Portions are small, details are exact, and tension between competitors runs hot.

2. There are rules that must be followed. Meats must arrive to the competition un-sauced and un-rubbed. Everything is done on site and turned in at an exact time. The judges receive a styrofoam box with 6 perfect pieces of meat on top of a bed of fresh green parsley. That piece alone decides the pitmaster's score for that meat category. 

3. You have to know one to be one. Competitions are open to the public, but no one gets to go "behind the curtain" unless they know a pitmaster personally. 

4. The best job in the world is being a competition BBQ judge. You are the only one who gets to try the BBQ made for the competition. Everyone else eats from a food truck! 

5. After the competition, the tension melts. There is a ton of leftover BBQ that didn't make it into the box and beer for everyone to enjoy and unwind after the winner is announced.