The Best Food Kevin Bludso Ate On American BBQ Showdown - Exclusive

Pitmaster Kevin Bludso is not easily impressed when it comes to barbecue cooking. Now don't get him wrong, he's not some incredibly picky judge when it comes to barbecued foods, and he's not a stickler for one region's cuisine over another, as so often is the case with BBQ chefs. He made that much clear during a recent exclusive Mashed interview, during which Bludso said, "Where you're from, that's the biggest thing [with many people]. Everybody wants to say where they're from has got the best barbecue. Texas, the Carolinas, Memphis, and all that. To me, it's all the same. The only thing different is you're using different woods and some people use sauce, some people don't use sauce. My whole thing is don't make bad barbecue. Keep it 100% and do good barbecue!"

Doing good — actually, make that great — barbecue is what has kept Bludso going for decades. He has multiple BBQ restaurants in America and one Down Under in Melbourne, Australia, too. He has a line of sauces and rubs for sale. He has partnered with Kingsford to help them grow their Preserve the Pit fellowship program dedicated to helping up and coming African American BBQ chefs get into the industry.

He was tapped to be one of the judges on the hit Netflix show "The American Barbecue Showdown," in which, according to Netflix, "Eight of the country's best backyard smokers and pitmasters vie for the title of American Barbecue Champion in a fierce but friendly faceoff."

How did those backyard chefs do? Pretty darn well, judging by a few of the things they cooked up. And one in particular.

An unexpected treat cooked up on the show

Asked to name the single best thing he ate while serving as a judge on "The American Barbecue Showdown," Kevin Bludso first paused with a laugh, his mind going back over all the many dishes the chefs had prepared. Then he answered definitively: "I know one thing that I did eat that I couldn't believe was so good, Rashad made some damn crackling out of beaver tail. I tell people all the time that was some of the best crackling I had!" 

Bludso couldn't stop there. He next mentioned foodstuff often overlooked in the barbecue world, as much as it's a staple of the backyard grill: the cheeseburger. "They all did so good," Bludso said, adding, "My guy Ash he made — I know it's a barbecue show — but he still made probably the best cheeseburger I ever had in my life. They all [were great]. Sylvia did some Korean beef short ribs that were out of control. They all did so good, and man, we probably gained 20 pounds. That's the only show where you [really eat]. Usually, you eat and sample and keep it moving. We were going back and forth into people's foods on that show!"

Along with the judges, the audience was enjoying the show too, which is why "The American Barbecue Showdown" is headed for Season 2. And he had this to say in teasing the new season: "Stay tuned — if you thought it crazy with the possums and all that, it's going to get even crazier!"

Check out "American BBQ Showdown" on Netflix and learn about the Preserve the Pit program at Kingsford.