After nine episodes of BBQ competitions, delicious meals and pitmasters cooking their hearts out, the finale of BBQ Brawl Season 2 is here! BBQ Brawl Season 2 Episode 10 starts off with the knowledge that Eddie Jackson's team is out of the running, as his last chance, Brittani, was sent home last week. This week, we have three contestants vying for the prize of Master of 'Cue.
BBQ Brawl Season 2
BBQ Brawl: Flay v. Symon season can be viewed on Discovery + or Amazon prime video, with new episodes every Monday. This entertaining Food Network TV show has all of the delicious food of the cooking channel, with an added competition element like that of the Great Food Truck Race, Iron Chef or Big Bad Bbq Brawl with Shannon Ambrosio. To learn more, check it out on foodnetwork.com.
Throughout the season, we've watched a contender get sent home each episode, leaving the final three. These episodes, "Introduce Your 'Cue," "Hometown Favorites," "BBQ Hacks," "Game Day BBQ," "Competition 'Cue," "BBQ Brunch Battle," "Seafood Showdown," "BBQ Around the World," and "Future 'Cue," have been full of upsets and emotion as the pitmasters have put their heart into their cooking.
The Season Finale Begins
At the start of BBQ Brawl Season 2 episode 10, Team Captains Bobby Flay and Michael Symon give their teams pep talks, and then explain that they won't be mentoring this episode. The three contestants are David Sandusky, Erica Blaire Roby and Ara Malekian, and they're each ready to BBQ with all they got to get the end goal. Erica is smack talking from the start, saying "I got the strength of ten lions, I'm not worried!"
For the final episode, the contestants get ten hours to make the ultimate BBQ feast, with no rules. This is a big change from the competitions of the past, which often had extra challenges in their restrictions and guidelines. However, the pitmasters will have two extra chances to impress the judges throughout the ten hours, which will make organization and time management difficult.
David and Ara of team Michael are competing against each other rather than working together, and their lighthearted banter is on point. Ara keeps calling David a "young buck," while David retorts with "old man."
The Advantage Challenges
The first advantage challenge is burgers, so each pitmaster pauses what they're cooking to make some tasty burgers and gain a valuable advantage for the final competition. David struggles when his smash burgers begin breaking apart and barely finishes in time, but before you know it, it's time for the burgers to be tasted and judged.
For the burger challenge, Erica of Team Bobby makes greek wagyu burgers with tzatziki sauce on a pretzel bun. As for Team Michael, Ara goes for smash burgers with Mary rose sauce, and David creates classic, smoky backyard cheeseburgers.
Judges Carson Kressley, Brooke Williamson and Rodney Scott try the burgers, giving each contestant some pointers and some positive feedback. In the end, David wins the burger challenge, and his reward is choosing the order of tonight's judging. Everyone has a different opinion on what would be the most advantageous, but David chooses Erica to go first, then Ara, and then himself, so that his food is last on the judges' minds.
After the challenge is complete, the pitmasters go back to grilling and smoking their elaborate BBQ meals. When David sees how perfect Ara's beef ribs are, he starts talking smack again to distract Ara. Erica joins in and gets real with her comments, but it's all in good fun.
Soon, the second advantage challenge of BBQ Brawl Season 2 Episode 10 is announced- a loaded baked potato challenge. The three contenders have 20 minutes to make a delicious loaded baked potato, and the winner will get Eddie Jackson as a sous chef for 30 minutes. Bobby Flay jokingly asks if they can pass on this advantage, but Erica is ready for all the help she can get.
David is stressed about stopping his main meal once again to participate in the advantage challenge, but he knows how important any extra help can be. When the time is up, David has made pimento cheese and andouille sausage loaded baked potatoes, Ara has made bacon and portobello baked potatoes, and Erica has made fried Italian baked potatoes.
In the end, Erica wins, so she now has both Bobby Flay and Eddie Jackson as her assistants as she tackles the task of making the perfect barbecue feast. Team Michael is struggling with time, but soon enough, the ten hours are up and the moment we've all been waiting for has arrived.
This challenge is different in that the judges, team captains and contestants will all sit at a dinner table together and try each meal. Then, the judges will name the winner Master of 'Cue.
Erica goes first, and her dish is themed as southern Louisiana comfort food. This consists of blackened snapper with shrimp creole, beer can chicken with Cajun fire sauce, competition-style ribs with chipotle and blackberry barbecue sauce, corn maque choux with fried okra, shishito peppers and cotija cheese, and a Spanish lemon zest and almond torte. The judges are blown away by her meal, especially the ribs, saying that "this is the best tasting rib I've had this entire competition" and using words like "stellar" and "spectacular."
Ara is up next, and his meal is classified as a meal he would cook for one of his friends coming to the restaurant. This includes smoked half chicken, smoked cauliflower with spicy yogurt and pistachio vinaigrette, smoked Texas beef ribs, green papaya salad, and chocolate croissant bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce for dessert.
He also receives highly positive feedback, and one of the judges says that his ribs are "one of the best bites I've had since I've been here." Even Michael Symon speaks up and says that the ribs are better than the ones he makes, which everyone laughs about, Carson Kressley asking "do you need me to hold you?"
Last up is David, who's made a meal to represent everything he comes from and has gone through to get to this point. He's made reverse seared St. Louis style pork steak, direct smoked prime chuck eye steak, creamed corn with okra, deep fried Brussels sprouts with Marcona almonds, and corn pudding with grilled peaches, blackberries and thyme.
The judges are also impressed with his meal, making the decision more difficult than ever. When the group gets to the corn pudding, Erica says that this is the "best one she's ever tasted," which means a lot coming from a Midwesterner.
Master of 'Cue
At this point, the most important moment of the show is here, and the three contestants are all extremely nervous. Erica calls herself a "bundle of nerves," explaining that winning this will prove that she does belong in BBQ. Ara and David are also looking for the affirmation that winning would bring, both of them feeling that this is more than just a competition to them.
The judges return to the dinner table, and Brooke Williamson gives a heartfelt speech, thanking the three pitmasters for sharing their hearts and souls with them through their cooking. Finally, they announce that Erica has won, and is officially Master of 'Cue!
She's over the moon, saying "dreams really do come true ya'll, ya gotta just follow your heart." Ara and David are good sports, both saying that Erica deserves the victory. Bobby Flay has once again beat Michael Symon, but Michael is proud of his pitmasters and humbled to have been their mentor. We can't wait to see where this victory will take Erica!