Monday, May 9, 2011

TV Show Review: Best in Smoke

Best in Smoke
Food Network TV
Premiered: Sunday May 08th, 2011

From Side Dish
As you may have heard, the new Food Network series Best in Smoke on which Tim Love will be one of the judges, premieres Sunday, May 8th at 9 pm CST (it will air at 8:00 pm CST in subsequent weeks), and it features six of the best barbecue masters in the country. The contestants meet in New York to face off for a $50,000 grand prize and the right to claim the title of Best in Smoke. This competition tests the competitors’ endurance and skill as they take on multiple challenges in a day with limited resources and cook for vastly different audiences. From barbecue desserts to single bite hors d’oeuvres, no food is off limits. Contestants show off their personal style and quick wit throughout the competition, but a final mad dash to three separate venues around Manhattan and Brooklyn will determine which competitor will be awarded the coveted title of Best In Smoke.

The first episode is “Best Bite in BBQ” and the six teams are challenged to create their best “single bite” for the judges panel, which includes Tim Love. Once the clock starts, it’s an all-out scramble to the meat truck, and the competitor who cooks up the best “single bite” wins immunity from elimination and joins the judging panel for the next round. Then, the competitors devise the ideal BBQ hors d’oeuvre for an upscale art gallery opening. The fate of the finalists hangs on the opinions of the gallery guests who decide which competitor is safe from elimination.

Overall I enjoyed the show. The name of the show isn't "Best in BBQ" it is "Best in Smoke" while BBQ does fall into that title so does salmon, sausage and many other yummy tid bites. While many are looking for a strictly BBQ show, this is not it. This is more of an "anything but" type show.

The pitmasters are top of their game and most are familiar to those who follow the BBQ circuit. Each brings a different perspective and a different take on how BBQ should be done. It will be interesting to see how the show progresses and who can stay in it.

One thing I really like is how each of the contestants is friendly to each other but at the same time very competitive and wanting to win. I’ve noticed this in most BBQ competitions. Most of the BBQers are willing to help you out if you forgot something and great fun to hang out with and talk to but are still very competitive about their meat. I have found that BBQ competitors tend to have some of the best sportsmanship of any sport.

I also found it interesting to hear about the main ingredients of some of the rubs and some of the challenges the cooks found trying to cook and how they solved them; heat issues, cooking too quick, rain etc. It will be interesting to see how they handle the different challenges and other obstacles that rise along the way.

Overall it is a fun cooking show. Not strictly a BBQ show but a show about smoking. I would give it a 3/4 rack of ribs*. I would like to change my review, after watching the whole season to a 1/2 rack of Gibbs Ribs. The entire show came down to tofu which I thought was silly along with some of the things mentioned in the comments. As a cooking show, it was good. As a BBQ show, it was not.

I have also found out there is a new show coming called "The Ultimate BBQ Showdown" on May 28. More information is at

*When I do reviews, books or otherwise, I will rate the items with ribs (they are my favorite BBQ dish). A full rack is great and a single rib is poor.