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 week in a row as the previous week’s losing team, Eddie gets to choose the advantage challenge and goes with chicken wings, giving the contestants 30 minutes to produce their best versions. A lot of contestants go with some variation on the standard buffalo wing but a few stand out.
David on Team Michael actually owns a chicken wing business, and his fennel wings seem to intrigue the captains and judges. Ara uses his fine dining experience and decides to confit the wings in duck fat on the grill, which will keep the ducks juicy and prevent them from overcooking. Terry’s honey barbecue wings are also promising, and Lu actually goes with a cranberry sauce wing using the full wing. Lu actually owns her own sauce company that has her sauces in “over 700 stores nationwide” but in the end it’s her teammate Christopher and his “triple threat” wings that are smoked, fried, and then finished on the grill with an jalapeno apricot sauce is declared the winner which gives their team the advantage of Eddie being able to call timeouts on each of the other teams for 10 minutes.
For the team brawl challenge, the theme continues in the form of a Tailgate Feast where the teams have 3 hours to produce a gameday-themed meal. And of course, there is the looming advantage for Team Eddie hanging over the other two teams. Depending on how much of a stinker he wants to be, he could really screw one or both of those teams up with his timing.
Which of course, he does to Team Michael roughly an hour and a half in when he catches Terry with his racks of ribs on direct heat. This spells the end of those particular racks, but Terry does have one leftover that he can try to salvage in his remaining time. During the timeout, the bickering between Terry and Taylor that started at the beginning of the cook continues. Taylor asks Terry why his ribs were on direct heat to begin with (a perfectly valid question) before trying to brainstorm what to potentially do with ribs once they are out of timeout. Terry shuts down and doesn’t want any feedback from Taylor or the rest of his teammates, only worrying about his ribs.
Team Michael smartly learns from Terry’s mistake and wraps their meats in foil and gets them to a good place before their time out is called. David is a little peeved and worries about the bark on his ribs but in the end he and his teammates avoid disaster.
For Team Eddie’s “Rub You the Right Way Tailgate”, they smartly provide each judge a beer. Lu makes a smoked queso dip and chicken lollipops while Christopher makes bbq rice and ribs. Lu’s smoked queso dip is a little broken while her chicken lollipops look great but the skin that is wrapped down over the leg is a little chewy, getting into the way of the dark meat. Christopher has more success starting with the ribs glazed with a sauce from Lu, which Carson calls “life changing.” His bbq rice gets less praise but overall, the judges like their tailgate feast and calls the ribs some of the best food they’ve had thus far.
Team Bobby’s feast is dubbed “Don’t Call it a Comeback Tailgate.” Taylor makes mac and cheese balls but Brook finds that the goat cheese overpowers the rest of the cheese and Rodney prefers the crispy outside to the inside. Terry, whose ribs were the victims of the timeout, scrambles and collaborates with Bobby to get gochujang pork loins and the one remaining rack of ribs done in less than 1.5 hours. The pork loin turns out excellent but the ribs were cooked a little too quickly. Erica’s tostadas with ribeye suffer from a chewy tostada and too little steak while Brendan’s Texas Twinkie-stuffed quail, with a bacon-wrapped jalapeno stuffed inside a quail. The bacon loses its crispiness inside the quail, which itself was overcooked.
Team Michael’s “All Hands on Deck Tailgate” is all made to all be eaten with hands and is served with mojitos. David makes a roasted corn salsa and a St. Louis-style rib with harissa and ancho chiles, which the judges like the flavor of but find to be a bit overdone. Brittani’s baby back ribs have nutmeg in the rub and the judges generally like. The final rib is a beef rib from Ara that could use a little more flavor.
Team Eddie wins the challenge on the back of Christopher’s ribs glazed with Lu’s sauce while Team Michael is also safe. The means Bobby’s team is finally heading to the chopping block, and their team of 4 will be reduced to 3. In the end it seems that Erica’s ribeye tostadas and Brendan’s quail are the least successful dishes, and one of the will be eliminated. That ends up being Brendan, and he is ok with that decision because he is embarrassed at his dry quail. Erica and Terry are both visibly shaken at their first time on the bottom.
Bells for Brendan, the west Texas barbecue man who feels he is a better man because of the experience.
This episode marks the halfway point through the season, and it looks like next week looks to be more of a “low and slow” challenge that shifts (at least for one episode) from live fire cooking/grilling to more traditional barbecue. Hopefully that will continue past episode 6.
Christopher Prieto Watch: Christopher is called the MVP of the day between his winning wings and his fantastic ribs. While his cockiness gets called out by David and he gets into a little tit-a-tat with Bobby about “showing Bobby Flay a thing or two about chicken wings” and gets this reaction from him:
On this day at least Christopher backs it up. But it seems like his cockiness is rubbing some contestants the wrong way, so it’ll be worth tracking. Next week, Christopher seemingly gets some props from Rodney during next week’s “low and slow” challenge so his head may continue to balloon with confidence.
What was your favorite part of episode 4 of BBQ Brawl season 2? Leave your response in the comments and be sure to check back next week for a recap of episode 5.