10th Place Finish

Janetta Mason

Survivor-Que
Janetta Mason
Final Score
87.33549512
KCBS Score
631.2348
WFC Score
87.0556

In a mostly male-dominated sport, this challenge gives lady pitmasters the spotlight and the chance to showcase their talents to show everyone what we can really do.

Janetta Mason knows her way around the kitchen. In fact, she has loved cooking her whole life. But it wasn't until she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005 that she realized just how therapeutic cooking could be. During this time in her life, Mason spent a lot of time watching a lot of cooking shows and trying out new recipes. She even started to create some of her own recipes. From there she started entering in a few cooking competitions before she knew it one of her recipes had been selected as a top pick to be on Food Networks "Ultimate Recipe Showdown."

After catching the competitive cooking bug, Mason began watching barbecue pitmaster shows and contemplated taking part herself. She finally got her chance to test out her pitmaster skills when a friend asked her to participate in a local competition that was seeking more teams to compete.

"(My friend) said if I would do it, that they would pay my entry fee. So I thought, here is my chance," explains Mason, who lives in Ozark, Ark.

Since then the 12-year cancer survivor and her team, Survivor-Que, which consists of husband Joey and son Zack, have competed in over 20 barbeque competitions.

"I decided to name my team to Survivor-Que in honor of mine and others' battles with cancer," explains Mason. "I have received over 25 top ten category calls and have gotten two Reserve Grand Championships. I am determined to grab that Grand soon!"

She was also determined to make the finals in the Second Annual Cowboy Charcoal Fire & Ice Women's Barbeque Series. Which she did after a long but productive 2017 season. As one of the top 10 lady pitmasters in the KCBS standings, she won a place to compete in the the two-day competition, which was held at the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Ala., on November 10 and 11.

This was her first time competing in the Fire & Ice challenge, so she put in some serious preparation to make sure she was ready for the world's largest food sport stage.

"I wanted to cook something I was comfortable grilling that I would make at home. I grill different cuts of pork frequently so I decided to take a pork loin and 'dress it up,'" said Mason. "I practiced this dish several times before the contest and my whole family did not want pork for a long time afterward!"

During day one of the competition, the ladies used Cowboy Charcoal and a Bull Outdoor grill to create a dish of their choice for a panel of special judges in a two-hour "grilling" challenge. Mason wanted to incorporate fall flavors into her dish.

"I came up with an apple and cranberry filling for the pork loin and then made a sauce with some apple cider and a little bit of apple brandy," said Mason "When deciding on a side dish I took an oriental slaw I loved and changed it up and added some chopped apples and dried cranberries to complement the filling on the pork loin."

Despite her "practice makes perfect" mentally, she experienced a few challenges in the opening round. Luckily, a seasoned pro like Mason knows how to think fast on her feet.

"I cooked my sauce too long and it had a burnt taste, but luckily I had enough time to make another batch," said Mason.

Another challenge Mason was up against was the "no boys allowed" stipulation that she found out about prior to the competition. She arrived at the competition ready to go it alone without her male counterparts. Fortunately for this Fire & Ice newcomer, a fellow lady barbequer stepped in to lend a helping hand.

"I had practiced and was prepared to do it all by myself. When Kim Hicks, one of the other competitors, found out I didn't have anyone to help me, she got a friend of hers to help," shared Mason. "That is the true spirit of competition. In barbeque, we are all family even though we are competing against each other."

In the end, Mason's scores fell short of winning the grand prize, but she along with the other lady pitmasters did receive a gift certificate to Manning Jewelry. Even though her performance in the Fire & Ice Challenge landed her in the bottom of the pack, this first-time competitor was proud to take part in the event.

"In a mostly male-dominated sport, this challenge gives lady pitmasters the spotlight and the chance to showcase their talents to show everyone what we can really do," shared Mason. "I know without this challenge I would probably have never made it as far as the World Food Championships. I was honored to be competing with several teams I had seen on TV. I felt like a little fish in a big pond!"