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…
While we think of barbecue as primarily an American cuisine, there are live fire traditions all over the world, and this week “BBQ Brawl” aims to explore them a little. How deep or superficial will that be? Only one way to find out…
Just five competitors left, and much like Team Eddie last week, Team Bobby is now down to one player and gets to steal a player from another team. Bobby’s thought about it and…decides to not steal anyone. He’s good with Erica as his sole contestant and she is heartened by his faith in her.
Bobby then announces this week’s Advantage Challenge – an “International Tortilla Challenge” where each contestant has to make his/her best international barbecue dish with a tortilla in 30 minutes.
Brittani is named best dish on Team Eddie for her Caribbean fish taco (overcoming the unintentional almost-sabotage from her captain Eddie) and David’s gamble to use naan instead of a tortilla pays off for Team Michael. Erica “wins” for Team Bobby (duh) and then even gets named as best dish overall.
Erica’s advantage means that instead of spinning the “Wheel of Cue” to determine what cuisine his team will cook, Eddie gets his choice and goes with “Caribbean.” Michael spins and gets “Japanese ” and finally Eddie gets “Southern American.” Two hours on the clock and the contestants are off to the pantry.
The teams game plan and Team Bobby looks to be in great shape with Erica’s Caribbean heritage. Team Michael may struggle with Japanese even if Ara spent time in Japan and worked at a sushi restaurant and I’m not sure how intimately Team Eddie knows the South American barbecue cuisine other than “meat on a grill.”
Those dynamics more or less seem to pan out during the cooks. Erica and Bobby are calm while David’s issues with time management rear their ugly head as his ramen broth is bland and he has to call in Michael at the last minute to help out. Hopefully Ara’s cold smoked salmon will keep them afloat. Team Eddie have all their meats going and don’t seem to have too many cooking issues, so perhaps I underestimated them on this challenge.
Team Bobby’s “Caribbean BBQ” platter has Erica’s Jamaican grilled snapper with lime chili butter, her moros y cristianos (beans and rice), and Bobby’s jerk rubbed pork that could use more oomph. Bobby’s rum punch spritz is well balanced with the champagne cutting the sweetness of the rum, and the judges are appreciative as always for a bevvie.
For Team Eddie’s “South American BBQ” platter, Brittani has two chicken dishes – Peruvian and Argentinian – with Peru scoring points over Argentina. Christopher’s flank steak’s is cooked perfectly, particularly with the chimichurri topping (a “perfect bite” according to Brooke), but the texture of his chorizo sausage casing is a little rubbery, much to Christopher’s visible chagrin.
Finally, Team Michael is up with their “Japanese BBQ” platter. Ara’s cold smoked tuna sashimi misses with the judges due to its over-smokiness and earthiness of the togarashi spice rub. David’s yakitori chicken which was grilled over a charcoal chimney is “yumitori” but his pork ramen broth is lacking flavor due to the condensed timeframe of the challenge. Finally, Michael’s hibachi style ribeye seared over live coals is one of the best steaks some of the judges ahve had in a while, perhaps ever.
Bobby’s faith in Erica pays off as they are the first safe team. Team Michael is next, so that means either Christopher or Brittani are going home. I have a bad feeling about Christopher…
Brittani went 1 for 2 on her chickens while Christopher also hits .500 on his flank steak and chorizo dishes. Christopher gets the axe and unsurprisingly he disagrees with the judges decision, saying they “didn’t get it right this time” and that he believes “he was the one who could have gone all the way to the end.”
Bells for Christopher, the cocky “barbecue nerd, ” #1 draft pick, and sole North Carolinian this season…
FINAL Christopher Prieto Watch
Christopher goes home this week. While he came out strong in the initial challenge, his track record has really been mixed since then. Tonight, he loses the tortilla challenge within his team to Brittani and then while they both have issues in the Team Challenge it seems as if he goes home for his chewy chorizo casing. Brooke says she learned a lot from him and can’t wait to see what he does next. Faithful readers will know that’s the successful Prime Barbecue in Knightdale, which we previewed in 2020 and recently got a favorable writeup by Daniel Vaughn of Texas Monthly.
What was your favorite part of episode 8 of BBQ Brawl season 2? Leave your response in the comments and be sure to check back next week for a recap of episode 9.