Building an appetite for gastronomy, Netflix’s ‘Barbecue Showdown’ (formerly known as ‘The American Barbecue Showdown’) features contestants head to head to produce the most delicious barbecue. The eight contestants go against each other in a series of weekly challenges and try to win the title of the American Barbecue Champion. Since its premiere in 2020, the reality television show has accrued a vast following, and fans are curious to find out where the contestants are these days. Luckily, we’ve got all the information right here!
James Boatright is Focusing on Expanding His Career Now
James Boatright’s earliest memories are of his family gathering for a barbecue. Naturally, he took to cooking quite early on. The Missouri-based father and husband came to the show to showcase his skills and transform his love for barbecue into something more. After his exit from the show, Boatright continued with his job. However, the international demand for his food and skill became so high that he had to quit his job and take cooking full time.
In addition to cooking for numerous renowned names, the former reality TV contestant has released his new single, ‘I Can Take You Further.’ The talented chef and musician sells his brand of spice rubs locally in Dowagiac, Michigan. On top of it, Boatright has appeared on Food Network Canada’s ‘Fire Masters’ and News 4’s ‘Great Day St. Louis.’ Also, he is working on a unique project called Food & Music, The Soul of Louisiana, after leaving the show.
Tina Cannon is Innovating and Giving Back
Hailing from Georgia, Tina ‘The Southern Belle’ managed to wow everyone with her culinary excellence and knowledge of the barbecue world. As the winner of season 1 of ‘Barbecue Showdown,’ she accrued wide acclaim for her skills. While Tina’s 35+ years of experience aided her in winning the show, she continues to create new strides in her professional role even after leaving the show. The skilled chef spends a lot of time giving back to the community as well.
Singlehandedly, the reality star has cooked over 40,000 meals for Meals on Wheels of Coweta. After winning season 1 of ‘Barbecue Showdown,’ Tina even competed in ‘BBQ Brawl.’ Additionally, she sells various products on her website. From selling a unique blend of spices to bringing out the flavor in barbecues to virtual cooking classes, Tina continues to progress professionally. On the personal front, the chef completed 22 successful years of marriage with her husband, Bobby Cannon, in May 2023.
Georgia Chasen is Balancing Real Estate and Culinary Passions
With a particular interest in sauce and smoke, Georgia Chasen fascinated viewers with her knowledge, organizational skills, and sheer hard work. Post ‘Barbecue Showdown,’ she has continued to apply her love for barbecue and cooking in different spheres. Georgia has appeared on ‘The Grill Coach’ podcast with Frankie Martinez.
Apart from her culinary skills, Georgia is a Realtor based in Maryland and regularly posts luxurious properties on sale on her social media. Aside from her upward professional trajectory, she loves spending time with her husband, son, and parents. Georgia and her mother have organized ‘Operation Barbecue Relief’ for a search and rescue nonprofit.
Michael “Shotgun” Collins is Sharing Love for Barbecue Today
Even though Michael Collins, AKA Shotgun, was eliminated early in the show, his love of barbecue and endearing nature made him one of the most memorable contestants. He continues to shower his loved ones with his culinary skills these days. From winning local competitions in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to working with nearby meat supply stores, Shotgun continues to showcase his passion for cooking and food.
Sylvie Curry is Competing and Sharing Culinary Skills
With more than fifteen years of experience, the famous pitmaster, Sylvie, occupied a pivotal role in the competition. Even after her exit from the show, she has made great strides in her niche. The veteran cook has won different titles in competitions like Santa Anita BBQ Championship, Jiggy With the Piggy, Horestown Brew n Que Festival, and Boots & Brew. Aside from attending barbecue competitions, Sylvie actively posts recipe videos on YouTube and shares the delicious meals she makes for her family on social media.
James Grubbs is Participating in Festivals and Podcasts
Heralded as a top smoker in the competition, ‘Backwood Grill Billy’ or James Grubbs fascinated everyone with his barbecue knowledge and entertaining stories. Based in Blairsville, Georgia, he has bartered his smoke meats for several years, ranging from an oil change to a dental check-up. After the show, James kept his passion for cooking alive and even appeared on ‘The Grill Coach’ podcast with Frankie Martinez. Additionally, he has been a part of a barbecue and music festival called Meatstock in Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Toowoomba, Sydney, and Auckland for fellow food lovers.
Rasheed Philips is Hosting Podcasts and Running a Catering Business
Even though Rasheed didn’t have as much experience as other pitmasters on the show, he still managed to surprise everyone with his natural skills. While barbecue and smoking became the reason for his entry into the show, he has performed his share of professional feats apart from cooking. The Georgia-based star has worked as a Content Developer and even dabbled in other fields.
For instance, Rasheed hosts the ‘Entro Podcast,’ where he discusses his business knowledge. Besides, he is an entrepreneur and the founder of Philps Barbeque Co, a catering company. On top of it, the ‘The Barbecue Showdown’ season 1 runner-up can be seen hosting the ‘This Week in Barbecue’ podcast and selling his merchandise on his website. Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Rasheed’s intersectional interest in travel, media, photography, and food allows him to pave a successful path.
Ashley Thompson is Operating a Food Truck Today
A lifelong competitor who began smoking meat as early as 12, Ashley Thompson dedicates his wins and work to his best friend and fellow barbecue teammate, Big Worm, who passed away a few years ago. Based in Jacksonville, North Carolina, he continues running his food truck and catering services under his successful business, Legacy Barbecue. While Ashley’s professional trajectory has taken off, several personal challenges persist for the North Carolina-based reality star. His girlfriend, Mel, recently defeated cancer after a lengthy battle, so he ensures he is as committed a partner to her as a pitmaster.
Rutledge Wood is Hosting Shows and Sharing Car Collection
Alabama native, Rutledge Wood, was one of the two hosts who managed to give the competition its edge in the inaugural iteration. Before appearing on ‘Barbecue Showdown,’ he appeared on History’s ‘Top Fear’ and has since continued to host other shows. After the conclusion of the Netflix series, Rutledge starred in ‘Floor is Lava’ and worked as a NASCAR commentator for NBC Sports. Furthermore, he sells several merchandises on his website and shares his car collection. Rutledge has also been a guest on ‘The Smoking Tire’ Podcast and now hosts NBC’s ‘Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge.’
Lyric Lewis is Acting and Enjoying Motherhood Now
Known for her roles in ‘iCarly’ and ‘A.P. Bio,’ Lyric Lewis is the second host on Netflix’s ‘Barbecue Showdown.’ In addition to keeping the contestants on their feet, she strung the debut season together flawlessly. Once the show concluded, Lyric continued to star in different projects, including ‘Waffles + Mochi’s Restaurant’ starring Michelle Obama, ‘Robbie’ and ‘Royalties.’ Not just that, the TV personality has been a guest on the ‘Summer in Argyle’ podcast. Besides keeping busy with her work, Lyric Lewis also fawns over her daughter on social media and regularly posts snippets from their lives online.
Kevin Bludso is Judging and Expanding the Culinary Empire
Kevin Bludso was once a correctional officer, yet a twist of fate led him down the job of his dreams. After working as an officer for thirteen years, he entered the food industry and hasn’t left ever since. Chef Bludso’s first restaurant opened in 2008, where he worked as the pitmaster. From there on, he has continued to open numerous branches across California and has made a name for himself amongst barbecue aficionados.
After featuring as a judge on Netflix’s ‘Barbecue Showdown, ’ Chef Bludso published his cookbook ‘Bludso’s BBQ Cookbook,’ which has become a New York Times bestseller and has been nominated for the James Beard Media Awards. The renowned chef has been a guest on Rasheed Philip’s podcast and appeared on DDD with restaurateur Guy Fieri. Interestingly. Chef Bludso has returned as a judge in the sophomore season of ‘Barbecue Showdown.’
Melissa Cookston is Leading the BBQ League and Judging
Melissa Cookston is the second judge on Netflix’s ‘Barbecue Showdown’ and is a 7-time World Barbecue Champion. The owner of Memphis BBQ Company, she is the author of two cookbooks. After the show ended, the nationally recognized champion started the World Junior BBQ League, a nonprofit organization that engages 14-18 years old in barbecue competitions and instills culinary skills, partnership, and leadership in young children. Melissa sells cooking products on her website and even has a catering company. She has also rejoined the show as a judge in season 2.