Monk: In this video from Munchies, Rodney Scott walks us through how to make chicken perloo with Carolina Gold Rice, one of the recipes from his recent book.
Description: Rodney Scott, award-winning pitmaster and author of “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day: A Cookbook” is making a treasured dish known around the South: perloo made with smoked chicken. Perloo, a dish with roots in Africa that made its way to the US via Charleston, South Carolina, is a hearty one-pot meal that features Carolina Gold rice but is flexible enough to work with any ingredients on hand. Rodney’s recipe comes together in a Dutch oven with stewed tomatoes, chicken stock, celery, green peppers, and leftover smoked chicken. Check out the recipe here: https://www.vice.com/en/article/pkd5z…
Monk: In a bit of a change of pace, I’m going to try my hand at TV recapping for the second season of BBQ Brawl, which airs for *checks notes* 10 episodes *gulp* on Monday nights at 9pm ET on Food Network. 10 episodes? Well let’s see how this goes…
For the second season of BBQ Brawl, Eddie Jackson joins Bobby Flay and Michael Symon at Star Hill Ranch outside of Austin and the number of contestants is increased from 8 to 12. The winner of BBQ Brawl season 2 will win a featured role on Food Network Digital and the title of “Master of Cue.” And in addition to the increased contestant pool, the premiere entitled “Introduce Your ‘Cue” is super-sized at an hour-and-a-half.
After a little bit of banter between the captains, (particularly Bobby Flay who “won” season 1 through Leanne Whippen), we begin to meet the contestants.
Christopher Prieto, owner and pitmaster at Prime Barbecue in Knightdale, is actually the first pitmaster introduced to the audience and is later described as Symon as “very confident, maybe on the edge of arrogant…may not be a bad thing.” He proudly claims the title of “BBQ Nerd” and isn’t afraid to throw science into his vernacular when describing his dishes.
The rest of the contestants are as follows:
Brittani Bo Baker – Bubba’s Q Food Trucks, Tampa, FL
Megan Day – Burnt Finger BBQ, Lee’s Summit, MO
Christina Fitzgerald – Sugarfire Smoke House, St. Louis, MO
Max Hardy – River Bistro, Coop Detroit, Detroit, MI
Erica Blaire Roby – Blue Smoke Blaire BBQ, Dayton, OH
David Sandusky – Beast Craft BBQ Restaurants, St. Louis, GA
Taylor Carroll – Southern Belle BBQ, Atlanta, GA
The show joins the contestants in the middle of their first challenge, which is to create their best barbecue bite in 30 minutes. Then, the judges taste each dish then go through a draft of the contestants, schoolyard style. Eddie gets to pick first as the newest captain, and he actually selects Christopher Prieto. Prieto doesn’t seem phased by being picked first, even as the first pick last season ended up being the first eliminated. The rest of the draft shakes out as follows:
David Sandusky Christina Fitzgerald Brittani Bo Baker Ara Malekian
Taylor Carroll Erica Blaire Roby Terry Matthews Brendan Lamb
Christopher Prieto Max Hardy Megan Day Lu Holter
After the teams are formed, the judges are introduced and they are no slouch. The first one introduced is actually Rodney Scott! I had somehow missed that he was involved in season 2, and its a welcome surprise. Then its Top Chef: Charleston winner Brooke Williamson, yet another great judge. Finally, Carson Kressley of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame is introduced as the last judge, completing quite the panel. Carson then introduces the first team brawl as a “First Impression BBQ Feast.” No rules, no limitations, just make the best meal possible. Each of the captains join the team and they start meal planning for the 1.5 hour cook.
Team Bobby makes an “Ode to Texas BBQ” focused around ribeye steaks with collard greens, sweet potato hash, smoked jalapeno creamed corn, and smoked cornbread.
Team Eddie made a “Backyard Feast” with Christopher taking the lead on the proteins in filet tenderloin and chicken thighs with sides of “cola slaw” made with soda, bacon-wrapped green beans, and a lightly smoked mac and cheese.
Team Michael finishes up with an “International BBQ Feast” with smoked chicken over an eggplant puree, smoked eggplant, smoked then fried cauliflower, and a smoked apple rosemary crumble.
Team Eddie and Team Bobby are announced as safe, with Team Michael predictably landing on the bottom based on the judge’s reaction. David’s cauliflower and Christina’s eggplant puree are the two weakest dishes and one of those two is going home. Christina goes home for her lacking eggplant puree, which she wasn’t super happy about having to cook in the first place. She seems to have some pretty impressive credentials so it would have been nice to see her cook more meat. Bells for Christina Fitzgerald.
As for the rest of the season of BBQ Brawl, the production values seem higher in season 2 and hopefully they will have more traditional barbecue challenges in addition to live-fire grilling (though I get the logistical challenges with filming a 10-12 hour or more cook). I’m also liking the judges for the season, and Carson Kressley adds a bit of levity to counteract the more serious cooking critiques from Rodney Scott and Brooke Williamson.
I’ll be following the progress of Prieto, as he is the only contestant with NC ties plus I’m curious: will his confidence take him to the title of “Master of Cue” or will it end up tripping him up along the way? I can’t wait to find out.
What was your favorite part of the premiere episode of BBQ Brawl season 2? Leave your response in the comments and be sure to check back next week for a recap of episode 2.
Speedy: I had heard about Hubba Hubba Smokehouse a few years ago and had always wanted to go, but due to seasonal opening and limited hours, along with being tucked away in Flat Rock, NC, I hadn’t had the chance to make it over. However, the recent retirement and move of Mama and Papa Speedy to just 20 miles away afforded me the opportunity on my latest visit.
Speedy: Hubba Hubba is tucked away in a small plaza off Greenville Highway, along with a couple of other food establishments. The building itself is a small brick building that holds the smokehouse and kitchen, with all of their seating outside. I went to the counter and placed my order, then found a seat in the courtyard.
My name was called in short order and it was time to dig in. I judge any NC barbecue restaurant on the pulled pork, and Hubba Hubba passed that test with flying colors. The pork was tender, smoky, and moist. I didn’t add any of the sauces available, but I do think the vinegar sauce would have added a little tang (they also have a NC sweet and a mustard sauce). While I prefer finer chopped pork (Lexington style), overall, I enjoyed this pulled pork quite a lot, and will order again.
Monk: I tried the pork with their vinegar sauce just a week earlier myself while passing through on my way to Brevard, and it was definitely a great combo.
Speedy: There have been a few places in the Carolinas doing Texas-style brisket, but Hubba Hubba’s is different. It does not have the same richness and peppery bark, but still has good peppery taste. For one bite, I prefer the Texas-style, but also there was not the same gut-bomb feeling after eating. I think this brisket is better suited for a sandwich, but still solid, if not spectacular.
Monk: Agreed that they aren’t trying to replicate a central Texas-style brisket, but I also dug what they are doing.
Speedy: I usually just gloss over sides both when eating and reviewing barbecue restaurants, but every once in a while, there’s a side that’s just so good that it deserves some extra attention. The collard greens fit that bill. They were fresh, tangy, and delicious, with bits of pork included. Overall, these were among the very best collards I’ve had and a must order.
The sautéed slaw was not my favorite, as I like the contrast of crisp and crunchy slaw in a barbecue meal, so I’d probably skip those next time. However, pitmaster Spencer was nice enough to bring me a side of a new menu item – the Brunswick stew. According to Spencer, this will be added to the menu soon, and that’s something I’m happy about. The stew was a little sweeter than I’m used to in a Brunswick stew, but very flavorful. Another very solid item.
Monk: Looking back, I’m surprised we didn’t order the collards on my previous visit but I’ll have to get them next time along with that delicious-sounding Brunswick stew.
Speedy: Overall, Hubba Hubba Smokehouse is one of the better barbecue meals that I’ve had in Western NC. I’m glad to finally have the opportunity to check it out and hope to be back soon.
Monk: Earlier this year, Robbie Robinson from City Limits Barbeque sat down for a rather lengthy interview with Kevin’s BBQ Joints. Robbie has a different perspective as a CPA who does barbecue as his side hustle, but has some interesting insights. City Limits Barbeque has been on my list for years and someday soon I hope to be able to make the trip down to Columbia for a service.