Whatever Happened To Food Network Star Eddie Jackson?

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If you've watched Food Network in the last 10 years, you've probably seen former athlete Eddie Jackson talk about food, fitness, and everything from barbecue to baked goods. Houston-native Jackson started his career on the football field, playing in college for the University of Arkansas and professionally as a defensive back for the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Washington Redskins. However, he was always interested in the food and cooking space, starting a catering company and even appearing on "MasterChef" Season 4.

Additionally, Jackson was a food truck owner of the Caribbean Grill in Texas and grew up with a love of cooking. But it wasn't until appearing on Season 11's "Food Network Star" in 2015 and winning the entire competition over 11 other contestant hopefuls that his TV career really got started. Perhaps it was his final challenge of filming a pilot that really sold him as the on-air host he was always meant to be! But what is this charismatic, previous NFL player turned TV personality up to these days? Lots!

Eddie Jackson still owns Rosehill Beer Garden

Eddie Jackson has expanded his ownership of a food truck to a full 3-acre beer garden with 24 taps in Cypress, Texas, where now other food trucks can park and sell their menus! Rosehill Beer Garden opened in 2017 and is still operational. Up to eight trucks at any time have something for everyone, with current offerings including tacos, pizza, wings, halal food, and of course, Eddie's Burgers, made with "Eddie Jackson's secret burger seasoning."

With an expansive outdoor space that's pet- and kid-friendly, you can bring the whole family to enjoy live music alongside your craft beers on Friday and Saturday nights. If you're not a beer drinker, not to worry — there are craft cocktails and more than 50 bourbons and whiskeys. You might even see Jackson on the premises — as recently as 2022, he was on the grounds at the annual cook-off in December. And he turned that competition into a one-season show for Food Network in 2021.

He served as the host of Food Truck Face-Off

Drawing on his own experience as a food truck owner, as well as being the founder of Rosehill Beer Garden, Eddie Jackson capitalized on the opportunity to nationally showcase lesser-known food trucks from Texas. He created and hosted four episodes of "Food Truck Face-Off." (Although it had the same title, it was a different show than the Jesse Palmer-hosted "Food Truck Face-Off.") The premise was three food trucks would contend for a permanent spot on the property at Rosehill Beer Garden through a series of challenges, eventually competing against the permanent trucks as well. They would have a chance to outsell the trucks in residence and earn their place at Rosehill.

Although the show only lasted one season, you can still stream the episodes online, and viewer reviews on Reddit were overwhelmingly positive. For example, user Look-Nufsaid said, "Eddie Jackson is so easy going & genuinely interested in the people & their food trucks," and user Cognition-6970 praised the contestants, saying they were "legit people with their own recipes, that know how to cook."

He's cooked with Drew Barrymore, Tamron Hall, and Sherri Shepherd

Chef Eddie Jackson loves a talk show — and a competition! He appeared on "The Drew Barrymore Show" in 2024 for a "Super Bowl Dish Competish" with "Pizza Wars" host Nicole Russell, along with some NFL pals — Tiki Barber and Victor Cruz — as judges. The two were challenged to use croutons, canned ham, and marshmallow fluff, and Jackson made double-stuffed cookies to put up against Russell's pizza bites ... he won!

Prior to Barrymore's show, Jackson also visited Tamron Hall in 2022 and brought his beef goulash recipe to cook, which he described as "universal" and "inexpensive." On this appearance, he noted he had been with Food Network for seven years, and things were going smoothly. He also said he grew up with grandmothers who were chefs, which inspired his love of cooking.

Also in 2022, Jackson went on "The Wendy Williams Show" when Sherri Shepherd was guest hosting, and he cooked some greens in a skillet with a balsamic glaze. This dish lead Shepherd to write on Facebook, "Ladies, every woman needs a Eddie in the kitchen next to them!"

Eddie Jackson loves a grill competition

Barbecue is one of Eddie Jackson's favorite categories of food to make — and talk about. As a result, the grill master has appeared on Food Network shows "BBQ Blitz," "BBQ Brawl, and "Fire Masters."

"BBQ Blitz" was Jackson's first show and the pilot he pitched on "Food Network Star." The premise found Jackson going on the road to find three of the best grillers to cook off for a chance to win $5,000. Jackson also appeared on four episodes of "BBQ Brawl," where in one segment he demonstrated his all-purpose BBQ rub with Italian seasoning, light brown sugar, and onion powder, resulting in a tasty blend that works on everything from chicken to fish to pork. In another episode, he provided an educational lesson about various types of chili peppers, including jalapeños, habaneros, and scotch bonnets.

Then on "Fire Masters," three chefs compete against each other on the grill in three rounds, with eliminations paring down to one chef competing against a Fire Master judge — one of whom is, yep, Eddie Jackson himself. The winner receives $10,000 and all the glory! Giving viewers a little insight to his personal tastes, Jackson recorded a promo for the show saying his favorite grill item is a burger. "Who doesn't love a good, juicy, grilled burger?" he asked. The show ended its fifth season in 2022.

He wrote a cookbook

Combining his love of football and cooking, in 2019, Eddie Jackson published his first cookbook through HarperCollins, titled "Game-Day Eats: 100 Recipes for Homegating Like a Pro." The book is useful for home chefs who would rather "homegate" than "tailgate" on game days, and it features a variety of recipes for a party with food and drinks at home with friends. Jackson makes sure the recipes are easy to follow and prepare, so that you're not wasting time making food rather than celebrating a touchdown.

Recipes include roasted herb wings, chipotle rib nachos, jalapeño honey chicken biscuit sliders, and citrus beer floats, and the book has 150 color photos so you can make sure you're following the instructions correctly. Evidently, fans have been pretty impressed with Jackson's book, with user MFrye leaving a review on Amazon that says, "I loved this 'Game Day' cookbook. All of his recipes were easy to prepare with expert instructions and beautiful photos. I highly recommend this cookbook to all food lovers."

Eddie Jackson celebrates the holidays — on air

Most Eddie Jackson fans may know that he's currently the co-host of "Christmas Cookie Challenge" on Food Network with Ree Drummond, better known as the Pioneer Woman. On this holiday-themed series, the bakers complete challenges for a chance to win $10,000, and Jackson and Drummond frequently also join in the fun with costumes and antics, and sometimes treats of their own, all with a festive spin. The program started in 2017, and they just completed Season 7 in 2023.

However, Christmas isn't the only holiday Jackson indulges as an on-air host. He also appeared as a judge on "Halloween Wars" in 2021. When he appeared on Fox5 in DC, he said he "got a little scared watching the preview," and it was the "creepiest show" he had been a part of, with challenges incorporating "possessed toys." But the show also involved candy and sugar with artistry (and a $25,000 cash prize), so it really hit on Jackson's sweet spot.

He's been judging decadence on The Big Bake and Yum and Yummer

Speaking of sweet, Eddie Jackson makes no secret of enjoying dessert — or really anything that feels indulgent. One of his hosting gigs includes "The Big Bake," where baking teams have five hours to create larger-than-life, artistically styled cakes around a theme (generally holidays and seasons). On the Halloween episode in October 2023 — where cakes steamed, bled, and spun their eyes — Jackson pulled out all of the dad-joke puns. He called the creations "boo-tiful," said they were "creeping it real," and described them as "eerie-sistable."

On "Yum and Yummer," Jackson went in search of the most decadent dishes around the world. Episodes included "By the Sea," "Pizza Party," and "Cheat Day," which particularly highlighted sugar. Jackson kicked off that episode talking about "sweet cream cheese, buttercream icing, and sprinkles." He then headed to the In A Pickle restaurant in Waltham, Massachusetts, to try frosted animal cracker pancakes, which incorporated all of the ingredients Jackson mentioned.

Eddie Jackson has gone up against Bobby Flay several times

It's inevitable that two Food Network stars would cross paths, and Bobby Flay and Eddie Jackson are no exception. Although they have a healthy rivalry, Jackson has described Flay as a "mentor" and "great friend." It's a good thing they have such a positive relationship because when they appear on shows such as "Beat Bobby Flay together, it's nothing but business.

On "Beat Bobby Flay," Jackson has teamed up with CNN's Poppy Harlow, Chef Anne Burrell (who he beat Flay twice with), and Chef Maneet Chauhan. But the most intimidating pairing had to be when Jackson joined forces with Bobby Flay's daughter, Sophie Flay, in 2023. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, they didn't pull off a win.

Jackson also went head to head with Flay on "BBQ Brawl" in 2021, coaching his own team of "Cue Masters." Speaking about the show, he told AMNY, "I'm a huge competitor, that's another reason why I was great for the show." However, he did proceed to humbly add, "Bobby always wins. Sure, there's 'Beat Bobby Flay,' but he's a champion." In the end, Jackson was right — one of Flay's team members won the season.

Season 3 of Outchef'd premiered in 2024

If you haven't gotten enough Eddie Jackson on your TV screen yet, the newest season of "Outchef'd" — which Jackson hosts – premiered on Food Network in 2024 with new episodes on Thursday nights at 9:30 PM ET. The premise of this show is surprising home chefs with what they think is just an audition, but it turns out to be an on-the-spot cooking competition against a star chef with a featured ingredient. They're given votes by a panel of judges, who are selected off the street by Jackson, and can earn over $5,000.

A few of the celebrity chefs appearing on the newest season are Andrew Zimmerman, Rocco DiSpirito, Duff Goldman, Michael Voltaggio ... and Jackson himself. Interestingly, Jackson spoke about a big change to the format for Season 3, mentioning how a producer will first greet the competitors rather than Jackson himself to keep the secret of the show longer. The reason for the change? Well, as Jackson put it, he "likes keeping the suspense."

Eddie Jackson signed a new Food Network deal

Expect to see even more of Eddie Jackson on Food Network soon. In February 2024, Variety reported that the celebrity chef signed a new, exclusive deal with the channel he's called home for almost a decade.

Jackson's contributions to the network are numerable. He doesn't just host two of their most watched shows — he's put up huge numbers. "Christmas Cookie Challenge" scored 11.4 million total viewers in 2023, and "Outchef'd" pulled in 10.1 million viewers, marking a 14% increase in first season viewership.

Speaking about the network's decision, Betsy Ayala, head of content for Warner Bros. Discovery said in a statement, "Eddie is a Food Network mainstay, and we love his energy, humor and talent — if he is on-set, you know it's going to be a great day." While new projects were not announced as part of this deal, Jackson will surely be seen hosting, grilling, baking, and more. For now, as he said in an official statement, "Stay tuned!"