The Food Network is taking a big step further into the BBQ genre with the (4) episode series Best In Smoke which premieres on Sunday May 8th at 10 PM. The show is hosted by Bryan Caswell who was a finalist in season three of The Next Iron Chef and is chef/owner of Reef, Stella Sola, and Little Bigs, all in Houston.
I have to admit that I was a little skeptical when I first heard about this show as the past ‘BBQ’ shows on other networks proved to be more about time limits and pointless non-BBQ related eliminations instead of focusing on the BBQ itself. Best in Smoke appears to be different. From just the few minutes we (myself and a number of bloggers) got to speak to Bryan it let us know that he is extremely passionate about BBQ and food in general (we could hear him bark orders to food purveyors and staff in the background in between answering questions to us). If you go off of contestants and judges alone you know you’re in for a great overall show.
For a small ‘taste’, here’s their promo video:
Here’s the scoop: “The six competitors’ first challenge is to create their single best bite of barbecue. They can smoke up whatever they want, but the judges will only take one single bite. In the next round, the competitors find out that they have another chance to stay in the game. They have to cook cocktail party fare for an art gallery show in Chelsea. One pitmaster is eliminated at the end of the show.”
Here are the Contestants:
‘Famous Dave’ Anderson (Minneapolis) – Founder, Famous Dave’s America
Photo of Dave Anderson
Chris Hart (Boston) – Winner, Jack Daniels’s Invitational World Championship BBQ 2009
Photo of Chris Hart courtesy of Ted Lorson
Sara Horowitz (El Paso) – 2nd Place, Versus National BBQ Championship Series
Photo of Sara Horowitz courtesy of Mark Lambie – El Paso Times
Chris Lilly (Decatur, AL) – Vice President, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Restaurant
Photo of Chris Lilly
Brad Orrison (Ocean Springs, MS) – Founder, The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint
Photo of Brad Orrison
Here are the Judges:
Amy Mills Tunnicliffe – 17th Street Bar & Grill and author of Peace, Love, and Barbecue
Chef Tim Love – Owner of The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro
Mitchell Davis – Vice President, James Beard Foundation
Photo of the judges and host courtesy of the James Beard Foundation (clockwise from top):Bryan Caswell, Mitchell Davis, Amy Mills Tunnicliff, and Tim Love
What are your initial thoughts/ Please let me know what you think after you watch the first episode this evening. I’ll be putting in my two cents after tonight as well.