Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio explains that the errors made had little to do with the chefs' inexperience with BBQ.

on Jan 4, 2012


You knew we’d be doing a BBQ challenge.  \We're in Texas. So, yeah, you were right – it was only a matter of time.

Don’t be surprised that six of the nine contestants wound up on the bottom of this one. This was a very, very difficult challenge. How difficult?  Let me recount the ways (sorry, Elizabeth Barrett Browning): The mere fact that the chefs were asked to do three different meats and two different sides essentially overnight was in and of itself a lot to contend with. Factor in that the chefs were working outdoors on unstable tables of the wrong height at which to comfortably work. Factor in, too, that the chefs were cooking over an open pit and had to keep the fire going the whole night, watching that the temperature and the smoke stayed at just the right levels.  My restaurants send a team to Memphis for the world championship of BBQ, and I can tell you that open pits have hot spots to be accounted for, particularly when one is cooking with BBQ sauces with sugar in them, which can easily burn. The chefs couldn’t just pop the food into an oven, set the temperature and a timer and come back after catching a nap. Now also factor in that it was at least 95 degrees AT NIGHT and that there was a heat index of 115 degrees during the day, making it at least 135 or 140 degrees near the open pits and making this a challenge of endurance in addition to one of skill. This was a tough, tough challenge.