And then there were eight.
After tallying more than 8,000 votes in our March Madness-style burnt ends tournament, we're ready to reveal the surprisingly saucy Round 1 results.
Spoiler alert: Gates and Arthur Bryant's have been knocked out of the competition.
The interactive bracket featured 16 barbecue spots divided into four groups and eight games.
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In Group 1, reader favorite Joe's Kansas City beat Smokin' Guns BBQ with 67 percent of the vote, and Slap's BBQ eked out a "W" against Plowboys BBQ with 53 percent. Joe's and Slap's will face off in Round 2.
In Group 2, Jack Stack sizzled Smokehouse Barbecue with 64 percent of the vote, and LC's toppled barbecue giant Gates in a nailbiter with 52 percent. Readers will have to choose between Jack Stack and LC's in Round 2. Hey, nobody said this would be easy.
Group 3 also saw a super-close game: Zarda snagged 52 percent of the vote to eliminate Q39. In Round 2, Zarda will challenge another popular up-and-comer, Burnt End BBQ, which beat Hawg Jaw Que & Brew with 55 percent of Round 1 votes.
In Group 4, another historic 'cue joint, Hayward's Pit Bar-B-Que, took out Westport's Char Bar with 59 percent of votes. Hayward's will face B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ in Round 2, because B.B.'s took out Kansas City barbecue icon Arthur Bryant's with 56 percent of Round 1 votes. Sorry, Bryant's fans.
Which of these Elite 8 barbecue joints will advance to the Final 4? Cast your vote here by 9 a.m. Monday, March 19. We'll follow up with results every week until April 4, when the ultimate winner of the burnt ends bracket is crowned.