The Best Barbecue Shows on Streaming

Monk: This holiday while we’re all stuck at home bunkering down until the COVID-19 vaccine is widely distributed, why not watch some barbecue-focused TV shows to take your mind off things?

This will be our last post of the year, so we will see you in 2021!

Suggested Order of Viewing

  1. The American Barbecue Showdown (Netflix)
  2. BBQuest (Hulu)
  3. Chef’s Table: BBQ (Netflix)
  4. The Chef Show S1V1E8, S1V1E9 (Netflix)
  5. Cooked S1E1 (Netflix)

This post is updated as of December 2020

Netflix

New: The American Barbecue Showdown (8 episodes)

The American BBQ Showdown is more “Great British Bakeoff” than “Chopped” or “Top Chef,” with 8 amateur or competition barbecue pitmaster competing against each other in different meat competitions. Filmed outside of Atlanta in pre-pandemic times, it provided a welcome distraction for barbecue fans this past fall.

The Chef Show Season 1 – Volume 1 Episode 7 – “Franklin”; S1V1E8 – “Hot Luck”

Hollywood mega writer/director/producer/actor Jon Favreau and LA Food Truck godfather Roy Choi spend two episodes with Aaron Franklin at Franklin Barbecue, first learning about his approach to brisket (S1E7) before participating in Franklin’s inaugural Hot Luck Festival in 2017 (S1E8). Check out our AV Club recap here and here)

New: Chef’s Table: BBQ (4 episodes)

This barbecue and live-fire cooking edition of the Chef’s Table series profiles 4 pitmasters or live-fire cooking chefs, with the Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s Barbecue and Rodney Scott episodes being the highlight for American barbecue fans.

Cooked S1E1 – “Fire” (52 mins)

In this first episode of the miniseries on food, food author Michael Pollan goes in search of primordial cooking and finds it in eastern North Carolina and Ed Mitchell. The episode follows Ed and his son Ryan as they pick out a pig from the butcher shop, get the coals started, and then proceed to smoke a whole hog for a small gathering at the end of the episode. Michael and a couple of buddies even try to emulate it on their own in a small, backyard pit in California. Ed also tells a story of how he learned to cook pigs from his grandfather, a former slave. The barbecue section starts at approximately 26:00.

Queer Eye S3E3 – “Jones Bar-B-Q” (47 mins)

This episode of Queer Eye helped make the Jones Bar-B-Q sisters – Little and Shorty – international barbecue celebrities when it aired earlier in 2019, but they have been doing barbecue in Kansas City for decades. Their sauce with the redesigned label courtesy of the Queer Eye crew is now a huge seller, with the website prominently displaying a banner reading “Please allow a 7-10 day delay in shipping as we have been overwhelmed at the response and will send your order as soon as we can.” From the looks of the episode, it appears that the newly found fame is well-deserved.

Street Food: Asia S1E9 – “Cebu, Philippines” (31 mins)

In the Philippines lechon, or whole roasted pig, is the preferred form of barbecue in this nation of over 7,000 islands. In this food custom, a smaller suckling pig is tied around a pole and rotated over a live fire for hours. This episode covers lechon in addition to a few other food customs from the city of Cebu in southern Philippines.

Taco Chronicles S1E5 – “Barbacoa” (31 mins)

The Taco Chronicles is a Spanish-language food series where each episode focuses on a different type of taco. The “Barbacoa” episode focuses on the lamb/goat form of barbecue primarily located in Mexico and the southern border of Texas, which I’ve never tasted myself but is described on the episode as being “softer than the tortilla it is served on.”

Ugly Delicious S1E5 – “BBQ” (47 mins)

In episode 5 of season one of Chef David Chang’s Netflix series, he covered barbecue as well as other live fire customs across the world. Check out our AV club recap here.

Hulu

BBQuest (2 seasons)

Across two four-episode seasons of the travel show co-produced by the Texas Beef Council, host and native Texan Kelsey Pribilski criss-crosses Texas to meet with some of the best pitmasters in the state. She’s in search of the state’s best barbecue as well as secret barbecue menu items. The first season gets the large cities (Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth) out of the way, while season two is able to tackle more remote locales. Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn even makes an appearance as Kelsey’s guide for the Big Bend episode (S2E1).

Eat, Sleep, BBQ (4 episodes)

Official Description: “Rashad Jones embarks on a road trip to meet people who share his
passion for barbecue.”

Prime Video

Bama-Q (3 seasons)

“Bama-Q” follows members of the Alabama Barbecue Association through competitions (similar to the first season of “BBQ Pitmasters”)

Faith, Hope and BBQ (57 mins)

Official Description: “Food for the belly, and food for the soul. A delightful, tasty and charming look at a small town, rural Florida, African American “Church built on BBQ”

Food Safari – Fire (10 episodes)

Host Maeve O’Meara dedicated an entire 10-episode season to exploring live-fire cooking traditions across the world

Primal Grill with Steve Raichlen S3 (13 episodes)

Grilling authority Steven Raichlen provides step-by-step instructions on a variety of barbecue dishes from across the world.

The Wood Whisperer Barbecue (4 episodes)

Official Description: “Renowed woodworker, Marc Spagnuolo uses his knowledge of wood to help him explore the world of barbecue and grilling. Spoiler, that knowledge doesn’t help at all”

Disney+

The World According to Jeff Goldblum S1E5 – “BBQ” (28 mins)

A rather superficial look into the world of barbecue from the ever-quirky Goldblum.

Linkdown: 9/21/20

Featured

Sweet Lew’s Barbeque has started doing whole hog on Sundays as of this past Sunday, making it the only whole hog available in Charlotte smoked the old way.

The recently shuttered Bill Spoon’s cooked the whole hog but switched to gas smokers some years back. Here’s hoping whole hog Sundays catches on with Charlotte customers and Lewis Donald can continue to smoke whole hogs weekly (and maybe more frequently if its popular enough).

The price is $16/lb or $13 for a plate with two sides. This puts it just above Midwood Smokehouse ($13) and Jon G’s ($14) but below Noble Smoke ($18). Not bad, considering those are smoked pork shoulders compared with whole hog.

It certainly looks like Sweet Lew’s has been running through some wood, so hopefully I can pick up some whole hog next week for football.

Native News

The property that Bill Spoon’s sits on was sold for just over $1M last Friday, two days after it closed for good after 57 years (scroll down)

The Charlotte Observer’s Theoden James has the full story, and notes that the closing wasn’t because of the pandemic. Steve Spoon, Jr.: “There is no other source of income for mom-and-pop places. There’s no financial backing, there’s no partners, there’s no corporate money to be funded in when you are short. The customers are their only source of revenue, so if they don’t come, (they) have no safety net. You have to support ’em.”

Bargarita is not looking too promising

Non-Native News

Barbecue historian Jim Auchmutey was a consultant on Netflix’s “American Barbecue Showdown,” which filmed outside of Atlanta last year but was just released on Netflix

Rasheed Philips of Philips Barbeque Co appeared on “American Barbecue Showdown” and now has his own podcast

Robert Moss has updated his website ahead of the re-release of “Barbecue: The History of An American Institution, Revised and Expanded”

Braised in the South won Food Network’s “Food Truck Challenge” and is opening a restaurant in the Charleston area

Pappy’s Smokehouse is planning to open its second location in October

In LA and looking for barbecue? Kevin’s BBQ Joints has you covered

Snake River Farms is having a sale

Linkdown: 9/2/20

Native News

The 91st Annual Mallard Creek Barbecue, “the Grand Daddy of All NC Barbecues” that is typically held the fourth Thursday of October in Charlotte, is officially cancelled this year; organizers and politicians are naturally disappointed

Longleaf Swine has announced their new location; instead of their previously announced stall at Transfer Co Food Hall they will be in a free-standing building that formerly housed Oakwood Cafe

View this post on Instagram

BREAKING NEWS: Longleaf Swine BBQ is moving into the old Oakwood Cafe building…we got the exclusive inside scoop! ⁣ ⁣ A project 4 years in the making, the guys behind @longleafswinebbq had originally planned on moving into a spot at @transfercofoodhall, but have always hoped to ultimately owning their own brick and mortar. Stars aligned, they’ve finally done it (congrats, Adam + Marc!) and we CAN’T WAIT.⁣ ⁣ Longleaf Swine made a name for themselves as a catering co., traipsing around the Triangle to serve whole-hog BBQ, locally-sourced and slow-smoked meats + seasonal sides.⁣ ⁣ You can expect those same FAME-MAKING DISHES (whole hogs + other local meats smoked on-site), along with a new LATE-NIGHT MENU that’ll have an old school diner spin. ⁣ ⁣ They’ll also have a FULL BAR and a WEEKEND BRUNCH MENU, so if anyone is wondering where to find us on a Sunday this fall, you know where we’ll be. ⁣ ⁣ Over the next couple of months, their team will be hard at work, renovating the space, but don’t worry—you won’t have to wait too long to get your fix. Their parking lot will soon be converted into a new OUTDOOR DINING space and they’ll continue offering takeout for the foreseeable future. ⁣ ⁣ And Offline members will get to experience it all before ANYONE else. Keep an eye out, fam. We’ll be sending you an invite soon. ⁣ ⁣ Want a shot on getting in on this EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK? Join the Offline waitlist or ask a friend for a referral code to skip the line and get your first month free.⁣ ⁣ #letsgetoffline #offlineraleigh

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Congrats to Big Tiny’s BBQ in Mooresville, who celebrated their 4th anniversary earlier this week

Foodie Score visits the Gastonia location of The Smoke Pit (the local chain’s 4th store), and reports back full bellies

Rx Restaurant and Bar, a fine dining restaurant in Wilmington, has pivoted to whole hog barbecue during the pandemic

Circle B BBQ in Spindale is raising money for Operation BBQ Relief to cook meals for communities and first responders hit by storms and other natural disasters.

The #SummerofCue ends this Monday

Non-Native News

Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis will open a second location this October

Thankfully, it appears the fire last weekend at Pecan Lodge didn’t cause major damage and they were actually able to open later that day

Pellet smokers are on the rise, according to J.C. Reid

“California wildfires are making wine grapes taste like barbecue,” reports The Takeout

Heim BBQ is offering socially distanced barbecue class this weekend

Eliana Gutierrez is Austin’s (and perhaps the nation’s) youngest female pitmaster, working at Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

“Chef’s Table: BBQ” explores the origins of barbecue and is now available on Netflix

Here’s a review from the Washington Post

Linkdown: 8/26/20

Who really deserves credit for american barbecue? The Huffington Post takes a look at the origins and has a primer on the major regional styles.

Bargarita is a new restaurant in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood that puts a “bbq twist on Tex-Mex”; I’ll be checking out soon to see what the situation is and if/how they’ve bastardized the former location of my beloved Solstice Tavern

The documentary “Barbecue” has ended its run on Netflix (read our Film Club post on it here) but it can still be viewed for free at Tubi

The Charleston City Paper previews Rodney Scott on the upcoming “Chef’s Table: BBQ”

John Brown Smokehouse will be moving, according to NYC BBQ; as a side note I shared a good meal with Sean of NYC BBQ at the Long Island City location in February

Ray Lampe (aka Dr. BBQ) will host a virtual lesson on barbecue on Thursday night

The more you know (about brisket), pt 1

The more you know (about brisket), pt 2