Gerald Vinnett: Where is Barbecue Showdown Season 3’s Runner-Up Now?

While many reality competition participants are motivated by name and fame, barbecue chef Gerald Vinnett’s sole inspiration has always been to garner experiences so as to improve his craft. After all, hailing from a small town on the outskirts of New Orleans, Louisiana, the rising star doesn’t have any professional training and has even stuck by his comfort zone despite wanting to spread his wings. That’s why this St. Rose native signed up to be a part of Netflix’s ‘Barbecue Showdown‘ season 3 in the first place, unaware it would change both his personal plus professional life for the better.

Gerald Vinnett’s Wants to Take His Barbecuing to New Heights

As the son of a pastor from a southern state, stereotypically traditional barbecues have almost always been an integral part of Gerald’s life growing up, at least on a familial as well as social level. He was, thus, relatively young when he realized his passion for the same, eventually driving him to begin honing his skills by diving into it to his heart’s desire at home, among friends, or via catering. However, he did apparently toil with evolving his ways—something that came to light during his stint in the show, too, just to concede he needed to take a leap of faith to turn his dreams into reality.

Gerad truly prioritized flavors and quality above all else, which is how he ultimately managed to reach the finale despite facing his fair share of struggles as well as average cooks along the way. Nevertheless, he remained true to himself and showed the judges he definitely knew what he was doing because he created a near-perfect menu with perfectly cooked meats in the round that mattered most. But alas, a thing as simple as a pinch of missing salt/seasoning in his Mac and Cheese resulted in him losing the title of ‘Barbecue Showdown’ Champion to Tennesse native Shaticka Robinson.

Gerald Vinnett’s Big Papi’s Smokehouse is Not Just an Idea

Although Gerald’s accounts in the original production made it appear as if his dream is to one day establish his own eating joint named Big Papi’s Smokehouse, he has already been working on it since 2013. In other words, this Louisiana State University graduate was just a year into his career as a professional engineer when he began aspiring to combine his delectable, flavorful food with the feeling of soul. He actually worked so hard in his spare time during the ensuing years that he started calling himself a “weekend barbecue warrior” and then earned a Kingsford Preserve the Pit grant worth $7,500 in 2021.

“Big Papi’s Smokehouse is the picture-perfect, small black business,” Gerald said back then. “I’ve been catering barbecue since November of 2020. I don’t have a major operation yet. I am pretty much a one-man army that likes to put out quality barbecue… I’ve been smoking and barbecuing different meats at my house for years. [Yet, during the pandemic,] in 2020, I was able to sit and watch people work and perfect their craft and go for it. Watching others, gave me the vision to do it myself.” So now, following intense research, unwavering determination, plus a lot of trial and error, he is a pitmaster.

“Big Papi’s Smokehouse isn’t a huge operation,” Gerald has candidly expressed. “…Anytime I prepare anything for you, I am personally taking a vested interest in your food. This isn’t about money for me, but a love for the art, the craft and your satisfaction.” Therefore, these days, he has been focusing on traveling the nation on the weekends and setting up a stall at any event or fest that would have him, all the while holding on to his engineering job. He currently still serves as the Gas Turbine/HRSG Team Lead at the company he has been involved with for 12+ years, Entergy, while also keeping the dream of having a proper eatery or food truck someday alive. Until then, he seems happy to just continue fulfilling event/online orders plus provide catering services.

Gerald Vinnett’s Personal Life is Full of Joy

While Gerald prefers to keep a significant portion of his private life well away from the limelight, we do know he’s a happily married father of two boys, with whom he resides in Destrehan, Louisiana. He is even quite socially active, as evidenced by the fact that whether it be his family, close friends, or fellow cast members turned lifelong loved ones, he does his best to spend quality time with them whenever possible. We should actually specify that it appears as if this football enthusiast has since maintained such close bonds with fellow contestants Kareem El-Ghayesh, Luis Rivera, plus Tung Nguyen that they now consider one another brothers. He often even attends fests where the others have a stall or just meets up with them to hang out.

Read More: Shaticka Robinson: Where is Barbecue Showdown Season 3’s Winner Now?