Jefferson High School students compete in San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Junior Pitmaster competition

Senior students compete in competition for $20,000 in scholarships

SAN ANTONIO – High school students across the state competed in San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo’s Junior Pitmaster competition Saturday.

San Antonio’s Jefferson High School’s Junior Pitmasters team spent the day putting their barbecue skills to the test by competing in three categories: chicken, pork spare ribs and brisket.

Students say they’ve been preparing for the competition for months.

“It’s a lot of hands on practicing injections, seasoning and even fire maintenance,” said Emmanuel Lopez, a junior pitmaster student competitor.

The competition is part of a true Texas tradition in teaching students more than cooking. They’re also learning life skills.

“That time management is a huge skill, but they’re also having to learn how to communicate with each other in that collaborative setting,” said Stacy Carroll, junior pitmaster instructor.

The top prize was a $20,000 scholarship the students would split evenly.

Lopez says he was already making plans for how he plans to use the funds if they won the top prize.

“I’ll focus on paying off college. Of course, there’s books and whatever else I need to pay, but I want to focus on the school. I want to go to and try to put that money towards that,” Lopez shared.

Judges based their decisions based on tase, texture and appearance. The team said no matter the outcome, they were happy to walk away with new skills, memories and friendships.

Of the 42 teams that participated, Jefferson High placed 4th in the chicken category, 7th in brisket, 12th in ribs and 5th place overall.

Jefferson High students place 5th overall at Junior Pitmaster Challenge (KSAT)
Jefferson High students place 5th overall at Junior Pitmaster Challenge (KSAT)

About the Authors:

Allysa Cole is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in September 2022. She previously worked in the Rio Grande Valley at KGBT, KRGV and Azteca Valle. She started her career at WHPM FOX23 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, after graduating from University of Southern Mississippi. Allysa is a Detroit native.

Santiago Esparza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.