After earning the Johnsonville Tongsman finalist positions last month, Angelia Howard of Nashville and Brent Little of Memphis battled it out in a live grill-off event before the Dec. 4, 2021 SEC Championship game in Atlanta.
After the 30-minute contest time ended, Little collected just five points more than Howard to capture the Titanium Tongsman award, a custom set of grilling tongs to match his new title, and a Pit Boss pellet grill.
Little's creative Memphis-Style Hasselback Sausage Burger was presented on a plate showing off a grilling tongs silhouette dusted with a BBQ dry rub, which seemed to impress the judges in terms of originality and adhering to the Tongsman theme. Meanwhile, Howard's Super Savory Gumbo Smoked Sausage Sandwich captured high points for flavor and presentation.
As part of their finalist roles, Little and Howard were accompanied by some serious grilling and cooking power. Little partnered with seven-time world BBQ champion and restaurateur Melissa Cookston, while Howard was assisted by Chef Richard Ingraham, a cookbook author, restaurant owner and personal chef to several professional athletes and celebrities, including Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union-Wade. The two Tongsmen finalists and celebrity assistants battled it out, grilling their sausage-based recipe during a 30-minute contest in hopes of being crowned the Titanium Tongsman.
Little and Howard emerged as the two Tongsman contest finalists after consumers of all skill levels were asked to share a photo or video to Instagram or Twitter, showing off how they made room on the grill for sausage. Favorite sausage recipes, humorous tong skills and a variety of grilled sausages were among the entries submitted for this fall's Tongsman contest sponsored by Johnsonville.
The contest also featured another impressive group of pit master and grilling experts, who served as contest judges. They scored the two finalists on creativity, taste, adherence to the Tongsman theme and visual presentation. Serving as Tongsman contest judges were John Cooper, the Johnsonville 2020 Tailgate Pro winner, and celebrity grilling enthusiasts and Pit Boss brand ambassadors Willie Robertson, Justin Martin, and Lee Ann Whippen. Robertson and Martin are former Duck Dynasty stars and avid grillers. Whippen is a certified KCBS BBQ judge and world champion pit master.
Little's recipe, the Memphis-Style Hasselback Sausage Burger, features Johnsonville's smoked rope sausage and sausage strips, complemented by a tangy BBQ cheese sauce. In Howard's first recipe competition, she submitted her Super Savory Gumbo Smoked Sausage, featuring Johnsonville's andouille smoked sausage, topped with her creole mixture. Both finalists were also awarded a $1,000 and enjoyed tickets to the 2021 SEC Championship game following their contest.