Most teenagers watch “American Horror Story” or “Pretty Little Liars,” but me? Of course not! My favorite shows to watch are anything food-related. This past weekend Netflix released “American Barbecue Showdown,” a new foodie show that will cater to anyone who loves to grub on meat and coleslaw.
The show presents a row of competitors who duel to see who can chef up the most delicious barbecue. Their food is tasted and judged by barbecue connoisseurs Kevin Bludso, Melissa Cookston, Rutledge Wood and Lyric Lewis. Each round, a winner is chosen. Of the bottom two chosen, one will be eliminated.
What I love about barbecue specifically is the culture and soul that comes with it. Barbecue is a reflection of people’s families, their childhood and their style of eating. This is directly displayed through the contestants’ choice of spices. For example, one competitor made his barbecue with a Latin base because of his Columbian origin, while another from North Carolina displayed a true American meal. Each individual brings their own twist to the plate based on the techniques and flavors they were taught at home.
While the meat is, of course, the main part of the dish, the competitors must nail their side dishes as well. The purpose of a barbecue isn’t only to eat a rack of ribs, but baked beans, mac and cheese, corn and whatever else too! If standing by a smoker is the only thing you have to do, then barbecuing may not seem intimidating, but try making all the sides at the same time. During the first round, Cookston introduced a mid-round challenge where each competitor had 90 minutes to create their own version of bread. I never even knew there were so many variations of barbecue breads! Some made the classic cornbread, while others delved into cakes, biscuits and flapjacks.
What separates barbecue from other types of cooking are the complexities that come along with meat. Different meats take different amounts of time to cook, however, the contestants must always find a way to complete their dishes within the allotted time. If they don’t, they run the risk of being eliminated. During the first round, individuals were able to choose which types of meat they wished to cook, but after that, the judges chose for them. This gave the judges a chance to see the contestants’ strengths and weaknesses as well as how they work under pressure. Some were able to remain strong while others crumbled and had to say goodbye.
Overall, I loved the show for various reasons. First off, it was amazing to see how much passion each contestant had for barbecuing. They had spent their whole lives eating this type of cuisine, with many having previously participated in competitions. Despite them dueling against each other, they still valued their shared love of barbecuing more. Secondly, I was able to learn how tedious and difficult cooking meat really is. With an oven it’s easy to adjust and regulate the temperature, however on a smoker all you can do is add wood or coal. I definitely will be recommending “America’s Barbecue Showdown” to my friends and family!
Rate: 5/5 stars