People have been obsessed with cooking in the outdoors, over flames, and with smoke, for probably as long as humans have walked upright. That unique flavor that can only come from the kiss of the flame, or the embrace of sweet-smelling smoke, is brought to life in an exciting way in the Netflix original series, The American Barbecue Showdown.

Barbecue showdown in Covington Town

Hosted by Rutledge Wood (“Floor is Lava”) and Lyric Lewis (“A.P. Bio”), the show pits talented men and women from various cultures and backgrounds but, unlike other shows, it takes an in-depth look into the lives and backgrounds of each competitor.

The show takes place in a giant barn set in the countryside of Covington, Georgia.

The judges

The legendary judges are perhaps the most exciting elements of the show as they are both highly sought after grillmasters. They are Kevin Bludso, of Bludso’s Bar and Grill in Corsicana, Texas, who spent his childhood summers in Corsicana, working long hours over the pit for his grandmother, Willie Mae Fields, and 7-Time World Barbecue Champion and owner of Memphis BBQ Company (with locations in Horn Lake, Mississippi, and Dunwoody, Georgia), Melissa Cookston, born and raised in the Mississippi Delta.

The contestants

There are eight contestants who are each assigned their own barbecue area. Taste is the focus here, over appearance, as I’m sure is the case with most, if not all, barbecue shows.

The judges pick the protein platforms and the layout of the plates unbeknownst to the contestants.

James “Boatright” of St Louis MO is known for his finger lickin baby back ribs. He is the consummate backyard griller who owns five grills - yes you read that right - five grills, and one of those he built himself! According to WUSA9, he has said that he prefers to cook his meat low and slow.

Tina Cannon of Newman, Georgia is the reigning BBQ champion of the World Food Championships. She’s a French-trained chef and has said she enjoys cooking all styles of BBQ and does it in 20 competitions a year.

Georgia Chasen of Rockville, Maryland describes herself, according to WUSA9, as a “Type A all the way” personality.

She’s a prolific smoker and apparently loves to use sauce.

Michael “Shotgun” Collins of Fayetteville, North Carolina has a lively and entertaining personality that you just love to watch doing this type of cooking. He has said he loves to cook chicken and ribs but has cooked everything from squirrels to, get this - black bear.

The episodes

As it is a Netflix series every episode of the season was released on one day: September 18, 2020. The episodes are as follows:

  1. “Barbeque in the Blood”
  2. “Red, White, and Barbeque”
  3. “Don’t Need Teeth to Eat This Beef”
  4. “Tournament of Sandwiches”
  5. “Racoon, Iguana, and Hare - Oh My!”
  6. “Cooking it Old School”
  7. “Barbeque Around The World”
  8. “The. Whole. Hog.”