The American Barbecue Showdown – Netflix Season 1 Review

Season 1

Episode Guide

Barbecue In The Blood
Red, White and Barbecue
Don’t Need Teeth to Eat This Beef
Tournament of Sandwiches
Racoon, Iguana and Hare – Oh My!
Cooking It Old School
Barbecue Around the World
The. Whole. Hog


On the back of Chef’s Table BBQ released earlier this month, Netflix continues to stoke the smoky pit fires. This time the streaming giant returns with another deliciously juicy, meat-sweating show in the American Barbecue Showdown.

The set-up is relatively simple; 8 chefs are given a certain number of hours to cook a variety of sides, main dishes and everything in between. From barbecue combo plates to sandwiches, wild meat stews and equipment outside their comfort zone, this cooking competition mixes things up in the best possible way.

These 8 bold pit-masters compete against one another, grilling, smoking and cooking the best that barbecues have to offer. At the end of every episode, one of the chefs are named star pit-master. The loser however, goes home and is eliminated. All of this builds up to a dramatic showdown between the top two, with one of them named America’s Barbecue Champion.

All the usual competition staples are here, including heart-felt back-stories, humour, big personalities (like Shotgun) and even some welcome educational content. This usually comes in the form of pictures or expository text across the bottom of the screen to help break up the action.

You’ve also got the moments featuring the judges checking out what the cooks are up to. The best among them though is definitely “Smoke Queen” Melissa Cookston. Her presence speaks for itself but she definitely plays up that Paul Hollywood or Simon Cowell role nicely.

What’s particularly enjoyable about this is just how much effort has been put into making the barbecue aspect as authentic and varied as possible. Some of the beautiful food cooked up and money shots for the final dishes are excellent.

The judges also have some decent compliments and critiques for each of the chefs. In that respect, this one leans much heavier into Great British Bake-Off territory for the judge’s comments. These guys definitely know what they’re talking about and it shows.

While there isn’t anything outstanding or incredible with this show, foodies should be absolutely in their element. With 8 episodes to chew through and plenty of interesting and intriguing challenges along the way, American Barbecue Showdown is definitely one of the better reality competition shows on Netflix this year.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

16 thoughts on “The American Barbecue Showdown – Netflix Season 1 Review”

  1. The food looks awesome, but we were quickly bothered that they were wearing the same clothes every single time, and it really made the show seem too scripted and inauthentic after that, it was so distracting!

  2. Good show but the camera can really SLOW DOWN!!! Can’t even get to see the food clearly even I pressed “stop”. After all the efforts, the final dish deserves a good close-up!

  3. Why are they ALL wearing the same clothes in each episode??? Did they have to cook all of their meals in 1 day??? It just doesn’t add up to me. I’m so confused!!!!

  4. My husband and I absolutely loved this show! It’s definitely not your typical competition cooking show. Both being from Texas, BBQ is near and dear to our hearts. We thought that this show represented BBQ well, with also adding all kinds of cultural twists. We really enjoyed the contestants as a whole, too! BBQ brings people together, and this show proves it. Really going to miss this seasons contestants, but also can’t wait for the next season!

  5. As everyone is asking how can they be wearing the same clothes??? Most cooks take 5-6 hrs. Did they never change their clothes.

  6. Damn.. I dont understand the same clothes on every damn episode.. can they get them shower and change please.. I lost my appetite

  7. I too don’t understand why they are wearing the same clothes in every episode?! Did they really do all that cooking in one day?! Im so confused. Was food already pre-made and they just showed the before process?!

  8. I liked this show. The food, kitchen and final judging works for the effort and time…but WHY are wearing the same clothes for every episode/every day? If they were filming everything in one day, then they should make an effort to provide a change of clothes or put everyone in a neutral uniform. Why have one guy cut off his shirt sleeves then wear the same tattered shirt in every episode. They should be wearing a uniform where it doesn’t show the wear of the day. Maybe the next seasion Netflix will keep this in mind.

  9. Judging is horrible, talk more opinion than technique. Everyone seems to be living groundhog day wearing same clothes. Replace judges, a little less talking, a little more technique. Kevin isn’t horrible as a judge. Melissa needs to go

  10. While I like the NEW American Barbecue Showdown episode 1, my biggest complaint is that glossed over the combo plate way, way to fast.
    The camera showed the plate and they mentioned a couple items with 5-7 items on the plate.
    Spend more time with what they cooked after watching them cook most of the show and then I get 30 seconds of finish.

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