Monk: After an extremely successful stint recapping season 2 (ha), I’m back to recap the third season of BBQ Brawl, which airs on Monday nights at 9pm ET on Food Network. Let’s brawl!
We’re back at Starr Hill Ranch for season 3 of Food Network’s “BBQ Brawl.” But there are some new faces around mainstay Bobby Flay. Joining him as captains this year are Chefs Anne Burrell and Jet Tila. While they may not have a ton of barbecue or live fire experience, they are capable chefs who are going to be gunning for Bobby this season. Will it pay off? We’ll see.
We join the contestants in media res of the Individual Challenge, where they are cooking a skewer for the judges to choose them, schoolyard pick-up style.
Of course, we’ve got a whole new slate of contestants this year but a few are familiar. Tina Cannon of course was the winner of Netflix’s “American Barbecue Showdown.” Michelle Wallace is the executive chef of the highly regarded Gatlin’s Barbecue in Houston. A few are recognizable from my Instagram feed: Don Nguyen is part of the up and coming Khoi Barbecue in Houston, Rashad Jones runs Big Lee’s BBQ in Ocala, FL, and Winnie Yee-Lakhani started Smoke Queen Barbecue somewhat recently.
The full cast list, in order of introduction:
- Tony Froyan – Fire & Feast Catering, Maplewood, NJ
- Michelle Wallace – Gatlin’s Barbecue, Houston, TX
- Don Nguyen – Khoi Barbecue, Houston, TX
- Sunny Moody – Moodswing BBQ, Nashville, TN
- James Cruse – Central City BBQ, New Orleans, LA
- Rashad Jones – Big Lee’s BBQ, Ocala, FL
- Matt Roth – Smokin Beauty, Austin, TX
- Winnie Yee-Lakhani – Smoke Queen BBQ, Fullerton, CA
- Tina Cannon – Atlanta, GA
After the judges try each of the contestant’s skewers, they begin picking with Jet who won the tiebreaker over Anne. Bobby naturally goes third because he has won the previous 2 seasons.
|Team Jet||Team Anne||Team Bobby|
That leads right into the team brawl, but first the judges. All three return from last season: Rodney Scott, Brooke Williamson, and Carson Kressley. I thought the judging was one of he stronger elements of last season so I’m glad it remains unchanged.
The team challenge is a “BBQ Restaurant Battle:” each team will create a restaurant menu concept and have multiple entrees, multiple sides, and even a dessert. And surprise surprise, no one’s going home for losing this challenge but the two bottom teams will have to switch team captains. Plot twist!
Team Bobby – American Chop House
Team Bobby goes for a classic steakhouse concept, but “with a twist.” That twist? Not just traditional steak but also lamb and boar. James cooks a filet with roasted garlic mashed potatoes; Matt gives the wild boar chops a go with a side of creamed spinach; Tina’s lamb chops are middle eastern with grilled asparagus. Bobby takes dessert and goes with the iron skillet cobbler on smoker.
Team Jet – International Smokehouse
Aka you “can do whatever you want,” according to Bobby. Rashad goes with kalbi beef short ribs; Jet serves a flank steak salad; Don draws on his heritage with double fried Vietnamese chicken wings and Vietnamese street corn; Sunny does a simple bruschetta and her much-touted bourbon maple bacon pecan pie that she cooks on the smoker.
Team Anne – The Hen House
Team Anne focuses on poultry for their concept. Tony and Michelle team up for chicken fried steak with gravy from Michelle; Anne handles the smashed potatoes; the five spice quail is an entire team effort; Michelle smokes chicken thighs and makes homemade biscuits; Winnie goes dessert with a peach and mango pudding with meringue on top.
As a reminder: no one’s going home but bottom two teams will be switching team captains.
The judges announce that Team Bobby is the top team and will be staying in tact. That means Jet and Anne switch teams going forward. We’ll see how their approaches mesh with their new teams, but Tony may be a little relieved to go from Team Anne and Team Jet.
Will Bobby retain his crown for the three peat? Will Anne and Jet get along with their new teams? Who will win the competition and be named “Master of Cue?” Follow along with me as I recap this season of “BBQ Brawl.”