American Barbecue Showdown

Photograph courtesy of Netflix
Rating 6.8
Streamer Netflix
Seasons 1
Episodes 8 x 45 mins

Us Brits like to think we’re pretty good at the ol’ barbie – every summer, dads in their masses don an apron and grab the largest pair of tongs they can find, ready to chargrill  (read: burn) lamb, chicken and beef in a glorious celebration of al fresco dining. But after watching this series, our tongs don’t feel so big anymore, and our measly burgers look distinctly underdone…

That’s because it turns out, Americans are the true masters of the grill, or at least they are according to this show. In a Bake Off style competition, the yanks are battling it out to see who will be crowned king or queen of the charcoal. Over eight episodes, the cheftestants are pushed out of their cooking comfort zone, given challenges and told to make their meats better than ever before. And in the world of low-and-slow cooking, the time restraints are a battle in themselves – in week one, they’re given just five and a half hours to make two proteins and two sides. A challenge that would make even the most skilled barbecue-r sweat.

If you want a slightly gentler competition show, you need The Great British Bake Off

And sweat they do – filmed in Georgia over summer, the contestants leaning over the grill regularly look hot and bothered, bringing out the best and worst of these big personalities. As much as the food sits centre stage – or grill – the people really take the biscuit. You’ve got Tina, the queen of excuses, Mohawk toting Shotgun – interesting name, isn’t it? – who says he cooks better when on the booze, and Rasheed, who brings Latin and Jamaican flavours to his cooking. Then there’s the judges too. You’ve got Melissa Cookston (good name), a seven-time world barbecue champion – we didn’t know that was a thing either – who offers the contestants constructive advice and criticism, and Kevin Bludso, a restaurant owning grill master who clearly is in this for the food. Good on you, Kev.

First shown September 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.

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