Barbecue Bros AV Club: “BBQ Brawl“ S3 E2 – “BBQ Games”

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!

After a week one where no one went home (but the bottom two teams switched captains), we’re back to the usual elimination format in episode 2. After some trash talk from Bobby, whose team won week 1, they jump right into the Advantage Challenge.

Advantage Challenge

The captains will join their teams in a culinary relay challenge to perform the following four tasks: shuck and de-kernel 8 corns, cut a pork shoulder and grind into five sausage links, break down a whole chicken, and chop 3 quarts of coleslaw. The teams have 5 minutes to gameplan.

Team Anne jumps out to a big lead but eventually everyone gets to the coleslaw challenge, and Jet starts making up time with his serious chopping skills. Tony on Team Bobby has a unique “chop everything” technique and starts to make up time but ultimately Team Anne’s lead is too much to overcome and they win. A chintzy new “Pigasus” trophy is introduced and they proudly display at the front of their station. Not sure if this will come into play other than bragging rights.

Team Brawl

For the Team Brawl, the BBQ Games continue in the form of “BBQ Tag Team”: each team has to create a cohesive theme in at least 4 dishes, whatever each team wants. Two hours cooking time, 15 minutes to prep and cook as a team, but after that that initial period only one contender can cook at a time in 15 minute increments and everyone has to cook twice. Team Anne’s advantage is that they get to tag Anne in once to help outside of the beginning and ending 15 minute periods.

In order of judging:

Team Anne goes with a “BBQ Melting Pot” theme which means each person basically does what they want (similar to Team Jet’s concept from last week when he was captain of these same contestants). The cook goes fairly smoothly and Anne comes in for the last 30 minutes total as part of their advantage. Their menu:

  • Don’s Vietnamese chicken with ginger garlic rice
  • Sunny’s garlic herb tri-tip
  • Rashad’s roasted garlic and cheese mashed potatoes and sweet and sticky brussel sprouts;
  • Anne’s Mexican street corn

While the judges agree that the menu was all over the place, they seem to like just about every dish but note that the brussels could have used some char.

Team Bobby’s them is “Southwestern BBQ” and by far the most cohesive concept amongst the teams. Their cook also goes well for the most part until James knocks over a grill with his meat and vegies right as they get to the last 15 minutes but he thinks he can salvage the steak.

  • Matt’s smoked salmon and scallop ceviche with tortilla chips
  • Tina’s chile relleno casserole and charro beans
  • James and Bobby flank steak with salsa roja
  • James flatiron steak fajitas

Immediately there are issues noted by the judges. They question the use of salmon with scallops together in Matt’s ceviche. It turns out maybe James shouldn’t have served the steak fajitas after all as Brooke and Carson both taste a gritty and sandy texture in their meals. On the other hand, Tina’s chile relleno and charro beans are a hit and the flank steak and salsa roja works once the ingredients are combined.

Team Jet‘s theme is “International Soul Food BBQ” (again Jet with an international theme).

  • Tony’s cast iron chicken with Armenian spices and pomegranate drizzle
  • Winnie’s char siu pork
  • Michelle’s cajun shrimp and andouille over cheesy grits
  • Jet’s roasted cauliflower with agrodulce

Tony’s chicken isn’t getting color on the smoker so at one point he pivots to cast iron to give it a sear before putting it back on the smoker. In the end this leads to a successful dish. Winnie’s Chinese char siu pork has good flavor but is slightly overdone. Both Michelle and Jet’s dishes needed more char on the shrimp as well as more evenly on the cauliflower.


Team Anne is named the first safe team, which makes sense based on the feedback from the judges. Team Jet is named second and happily makes the walk off the set.

That leads to Team Bobby predictably being named as the bottom team. Between James and Matt, they seemingly had the two weakest dishes of the Team Brawl. In the end, James takes the bullet for dropping his meat on the ground and then serving it but Matt should feel lucky with his muddled ceviche.

Will Team Anne start a winning streak? How will Bobby react to losing the first contestant of the season? Check back here next week.

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