We’re excited to launch a new series called Flavor Maker Spotlight, where we feature the incredible people behind the flavors we’ve grown to love. First up are William and Pam Mann of PIT O’ HEAVEN.
As the tongues and testers behind the BBQ PRO SHOP FACTORY TEAM FLAVOR GUIDE, Mr. Freak and I have tested 400+ seasonings and we can honestly say that all of the PitGrit seasonings are top notch, so it was a natural choice to feature them.
We became fast friends and #bbqfamily with proprietors William and Pam after meeting them on the competition trail. They are good people and their story inspires us to keep chasing our BBQ dreams!
THE EARLY YEARS
Pit O’ Heaven was born after William started cooking with several competition BBQ teams in the late 90s. This led to an interest in building competition smokers in the early 2000s and a passion for competition cooking.
William and Pam ended up getting involved in the STEAK COOKOFF ASSOCIATION (SCA) at the suggestion of a good friend. As if often the case in #bbqlife, they absolutely fell in love with the format, traveling all over the US – not to mention Australia and the Bahamas – to compete.
THE JOURNEY TO FLAVOR BRILLIANCE
Over time, they experimented with flavors at SCA and BBQ competitions. “Taste” is one of the judging dimensions in steak competitions and is the only category with bonus points, so a winning flavor profile is key to a successful outcome. William and Pam started creating blends at home that they could use in competitions.
These original seasoning recipes, designed for their own use, are the very recipes that launched the PitGrit seasonings line in March of 2021. These first 3 seasonings were geared towards fellow SCA folks and within 30 days, William won the SCA 2021 Arkansas State Championship.
RIBEYE RANCH PITGRIT - opens with a blast of salty garlic that hits all the right notes and never looks back
STEAKHOUSE PITGRIT - a great example of a seasoning that packs a ton of flavor, despite its mellow disposition
COMEBACK PITGRIT - we love that it doesn’t need to throw down massive flavors to be great, thanks to the addition of butter and beef flavors
Today, the PitGrit line has expanded to include even more flavors (which lucky for us, means more Flavor Guide testing.)
BAR-B-QUE PITGRIT - there’s a terrific classic smoky vibe throughout and I was an instant fan after just one bite
CAJUN PITGRIT - these bold flavors really put our tongues into maximum salivation mode
FIESTA PITGRIT - very natural tasting Southwestern flavors without a heavy load of salt
KICKIN’ PITGRIT - it’s buttery, beefy and brilliant
TEXAS PITGRIT - extremely complementary and we just love the black and red pepper bite
And a brand new flavor, BACON BUTTER GARLIC PITGRIT, which we are just getting our hands on. Flavor Guide coming soon!
Today, these seasonings continue to be very successful on the SCA and BBQ competition circuits around the world. Just how successful are they? PitGrit seasonings have been included in the recipes of 4 European SCA Points Championships and an Australian Points Championship and the winning keeps on going.
William estimates his PitGrit products have been involved in hundreds of SCA wins, Top 10s and numerous BBQ Grand Championships and Reserve Grand Championships. And those are just the numbers he’s aware of.
WHAT MAKES THESE FLAVORS SO SPECIAL
William says only the finest ingredients are used in his hand-developed seasoning recipes, with no fillers.
In our Flavor Guide testing, we love that the line skews on the moderate to low end of the saltiness scale. With few exceptions, these blends deliver full flavor without adding an abundance of saltiness.
We also find them to be versatile and flexible, whether you’re grilling, BBQing, cooking in the kitchen or hoping to please judges in food sport.
(Speaking of versatility, there’s no need to buy the “taco seasoning” packet that some recipes call for – just substitute with FIESTA PITGRIT. Making chili? A big dose of Fiesta PitGrit flavors it up thanks to a mild chili pepper heat along with fantastic citrus “twang” and smoky flavors.)
We love that the blends pair well with other PitGrit products as well as other seasoning brands.
BEYOND THE RUBS - BBQ FAMILY
Mr. Freak and I had the pleasure of finally meeting William and Pam in person at our very first SCA competition in Texas in 2022. They are beautiful people with a fantastic energy and loving spirit and as soon as we hugged we truly felt part of their “PitGrit Posse” and #bbqfamily.
SEE THE ENTIRE LINE of PitGrit seasonings to experience all the flavors, including our Flavor Guides for each product.
As William and Pam would say, “Stay Gritty My Friends!”
Ms. Freak is head cook of Smoke Freaks, the BBQ Pro Shop Factory Team. She and her partner, Mr. Freak, are the tongues and testers behind the FACTORY TEAM FLAVOR GUIDE.