Recap: BBQ Brawl S2E2 – “Hometown Favorites”

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…

This week, since Symon’s team was on the bottom in the super-sized premiere episode, he gets to choose the first challenge this week, so he chooses to go with “Pork and Cabbage.” Each contestant gets to choose what that means to her or him as long as there is a personal connection.

Christopher Prieto, the lone NC contestant, goes with a kielbasa sausage with a German slaw that the judges find just alright but slightly underwhelming while the other contestants go with various pork proteins in the form of sausages, pork steaks, pork belly, ground pork, and pork tenderloins. I would think pork steak would have been a great call in such a short amount of time but the judges didn’t call out that dish from David.

In the end, Taylor’s meatloaf from Team Bobby, Brittani’s kielbasa from Team Michael, and Max’s jerk pork from Team Eddie are the three winners from the respective teams, with Max taking home the top prize and getting Team Eddie a second win and an advantage in the Team Brawl, a “BBQ dessert bar.” That advantage ends up being baking equipment that only they can use in the challenge while other teams have to use manual labor.

Team Eddie not only has the equipment but also collectively seem to tie their dessert dishes together the best in the conception stage through the use of booze in each dessert while Team Michael goes with “sauces” and Team Bobby going with “nostalgia.” Despite not winning the first challenge, Team Bobby actually turns out to have an advantage of their own, since Taylor is a classically-trained pastry chef and is also able to help her fellow teammates as they encounter various challenges.

Speaking of challenges, as the 90 minutes chugs along Team Michael hasn’t actually been able to make any of their sauces due to their various issues with Brittani’s sweet potato fritters not forming together initially, Michael’s pudding not setting, and David’s gooey butter cake not cooking all the way through. Only Ara seems to have it together with his blueberry tart, but the sauce theme is scrapped.

For Team Eddie’s “Booze Cruise” theme, each contestant has some issues with his or her dish according to the judges: Meagan’s tart shells are raw, Christopher’s smoked peach cobbler doesn’t have a ton of smoke, Max’s smoked and flambeed plantains (over of three dishes he makes) are not quite cooked all the way through, and Lu’s smoked Kahlua chocolate drinking dessert could have been colder.

Team Bobby’s “Nostalgic American Desserts” does predictably better in terms of nitpicks, with no major dings for Bobby’s blackberry shortcake, Brendan’s monkey bread, Erica’s bananas foster, Terry’s smoked peach and blueberry cobbler, and Taylor’s chocolate torte.

Finally, turns out the disastrous cook for Team Michael’s “Hometown Flavors” doesn’t spell immediate doom for the end result. Michael’s chocolate and banana parfait comes together at the end, David is able to salvage the mostly cooked-through corners of his gooey butter cake, Ara’s smoked blueberry tart has a crispy graham cracker crust, and Brittani’s marshmallow stuffed sweet potato fritter is fun even if the marshmallow in the dish name dissolved in the fritter.

For the results of the Team Brawl, Team Michael actually gets named the first safe team much to their relief after finishing on the bottom last week. Team Bobby again is safe, so that leads to Team Eddie on the bottom after winning last week and acting a little cocky. Max’s lack of focus in making three desserts is his downfall, and he heads home after Eddie declaring him a frontrunner earlier in the episode. Classic cooking competition mistake: focus on one good dish instead of making multiple mediocre ones.

Bells for Max, the king of carribean flavors.

Christopher Prieto Watch: Christopher floats in the middle of the pack this week and while his team is on the bottom he doesn’t make any critical mistakes that lead to his exit. Next week looks like he may have some issues with cooking over a campfire so I look forward to seeing if and how he gets through it.

What was your favorite part of episode 2 of BBQ Brawl season 2? Leave your response in the comments and be sure to check back next week for a recap of episode 3.

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