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.
Verdict - 7.5/10