top chef texas “bbq pit wars”


The chefs are gracing Austin with their presence, even though Austin probably never asked them to. Patti Labelle makes an awkward appearance, which appears to make Sarah cry, but doesn’t really. Sarah does cry, however, when Patti tells her she wins. Heather fails to rescue a pot of yuck. And then she goes home. Beverly feels a personal satisfaction.

Heather’s demise is the topic of conversation at Hotel Wood and Fur. Ty-Umlaut and Sarah are firmly in Camp Heather, while Ed and Beverly…not so much. But they can still all get wasted together! Ed bitches about Heather winning with his cake recipe. Twice! Sarah gets mad at Ed for talking behind Heather’s back. And she does so…behind Ed’s back. Ed bugs me, though, so I am kind of with Sarah on this one, even if she does have poor Heather-related judgment. Ugh, this show is such a soap opera.

Amidst their beer-fueled Heather funeral, some waiter man comes into the suite with a box of wine big chunk of books, more specifically, with the five-volume set of Modernist Cuisine, which Ed calls a “GAME CHANGER,” stretching his jaw to its utmost limit. The accompanying envelope, marked ‘CHEFS,’ holds a message referring to the massive tome as the chefs’ homework. That’s rude. There are five books and nine chefs, so I’m sure that won’t be a problem. According to Amazon, the entire work is 2,438 pages long. That’s 270.9 pages per chef. Get reading, kids.

Book in hand, Ugly Chris is all, “What are we supposed to study?” Since his bio on Bravo says that he went to “The School of Hard Knocks,” perhaps homework is a new concept to him. Then, immediately after knocking it—just like he learned in school—by saying that much of it is simply classic techniques, he goes on and on about how it is elite and magical. Maybe he has a split personality. That would sure be an interesting twist to this season.

Beverly studies into the night. Because she’s Korean. She probably had a Tiger Mom of sorts. The Korean sort. I tutored Korean kids for awhile. Their moms are no joke. They’ll cut a bitch. And then teach their kids about fractions with the pieces.

Anyway, the next morning, the chefs head to the Quickfire Challenge at Le Cordon Bleu, which Ugly Chris refers to as Lay Cordon Bleu (because that’s how French is taught at Hard Knocks). And before you call me nitpicky, when someone constantly says, “oui” instead of “yes,” they are asking for it. Ugly Chris and his poor French aside, in the kitchen waiting for the chefs are Padma and the author of the box wine Nathan Myhrvold. Unexpected twist! Nathan goes on and on about the modernist movement in food, ending with the basic gist that the chefs just need to be creative. He is like a shittier version of Alton Brown. I bet he hates Alton Brown. After Not Alton is done with his sermon, Padma explains that the Quickfire Challenge is to illustrate modernist cuisine. They have 45 minutes, and the winning chef gets immunity and the five-volume set of Modernist Cuisine. Ty-Umlaut explains that the book was published in 2011, but that it has been impossible to get ahold of. Because it’s elusive and slippery. Or because the company pulled an Apple and didn’t supply enough to the distributors. Also, it costs over $500 on Amazon. Really? Really. And no, Amazon did not pay me to plug them twice. I gave it up for free. Twice.

Ugly Chris is sad that he hasn’t won a Quickfire, but he thinks he’s gonna win this one. Because he has supposedly done a lot of the techniques in the book…first. Really? Girrrl, I don’t know about that. For his dish, he is using the Miracle Berry, which messes with your taste buds and temporarily affects the flavor of whatever you eat. A couple of my friends ordered that shit online when we were in college, I think in order to make something in our dining hall taste better. I made fun of them for it. I don’t really remember anything other than that. Fools.

Certain chefs are predictably more comfortable than others with this challenge. Malibu says that he is in his comfort zone. Because he is a modern person. All of his cavemen competitors, on the other hand, are likely to struggle. Then we cut to Malibu’s audition tape, during which we see the artwork in his apartment. The initial shot is one-half his face, and one-half a huge red ass behind him on the wall. The rest of his artwork is, similarly, of naked women at various angles. Apparently Malibu painted them himself. Whatever, dude. Poorly painted naked ladies ain’t be that modern. Picasso been doing that shit for years, although maybe Malibu wasn’t painting prostitutes.

Regardless, time’s up, and Ugly Chris just, “for the love of Pete,” wants to win.

BEVERLY flash-steamed clams and mussels, curry whipped cream, mango chili.

As Beverly is serving her dish, she just loses her shit, gets whipped cream on Padma’s dress, and then seems to spill everything on and around her station. In a one-on-one, Beverly reveals that she was incredibly sheltered as a child, and so now she spills things on people. Or something.

SARAH “breakfast raviolo,” egg yolk, pancetta.

Sarah really just made that dish so that everyone knows she is aware of the singular form of ravioli. Like panino, which I refuse to say.

ED salmon belly sashimi, compressed watermelon, rice made of radishes and fancy gel.

GRAYSON trout sashimi, dill caviar, pickled watermelon, cucumber, radish.

TY-UMLAUT watermelon, vanilla bean honey, cracked black pepper, salted olive oil powder.

LINDSAY marinated baby octopus, tempura sea beans with togarashi.

MALIBU scallops, risotto foam, raisins, fried capers.

PAUL endive salad, egg yolk, parmesan and truffle powder.

UGLY CHRIS miracle berry, deconstructed cheesecake, sparkling water with lemon and lime.

Ugly Chris gets a little too preachy with his Miracle Berry lore, and is subsequently embarrassed when Not Alton reveals he grows Miracle Fruit in his basement. Then Ugly Chris goes through a five-volume set of instructions about how to eat his dish and how everything is supposed to taste. Not Alton gets all snarky with him about taking a pill.

Bottom: Paul (not enough depth of flavor), Beverly (just didn’t stand out enough), Grayson (too simple with underwhelming elements).

Favorites: Ty-Umlaut (olive oil powder was interesting), Sarah (good twist on a comfort food), Ugly Chris (nice staging). Ugly Chris looks like he is about to have an aneurysm. But this isn’t Top Blood Clot, so Ty-Umlaut wins. Ty-Umlaut gets all hipster excited about how awesome he is.

Padma then explains that the Elimination Challenge will be moving away from the modern, and toward the traditional. To…barbecue. Really? Does everything have to be Texas-themed? Sarah gets excited because, in case ANYONE forgot, she’s from Texas. Strangely, Not Alton is a World Barbecue Champion. Ed whines about/swoons over Not Alton.

The chefs are instructed to split up into three groups. Lindsay privately reveals that she wants to avoid Beverly like The Plague. Sarah doesn’t trust Ed, but gets stuck with him because she wants to be on a team with Ty-Umlaut, who talks a big game about barbecue. He also talked a big game about steak, and then almost got his emo ass kicked off for being so sucky. So good call, lady. Malibu reveals that he has slow reflexes and therefore gets stuck with Ugly Chris and Beverly. Maybe they’ll suck more than you, Malibu.

RED TEAM: Sarah, Ed, Ty-Umlaut

BLUE TEAM: Lindsay, Paul, Grayson

WHITE TEAM: Beverly, Malibu, Ugly Chris

Padma tells them that they will have all night to do their shit. So this is basically just the Chili Cook-off challenge again? Weak sauce. Not Alton also reveals that they need to do three different kinds of meat: chicken, beef brisket, and pork spare ribs. They also need to have two sides. And they need to serve 300 people. So. Much. Data.

Let the random shopping observations begin: Ty-Umlaut talks about his bromance with Ed. Ugly Chris is optimistic about his Bad News Bears team. Ed makes fun of Sarah’s re-Texas-ization, and it has become quite clear that, since Heather left, the new beef in the slow cooker is Sarah versus Ed. Malibu discusses how he has decided to put Dr. Pepper in his barbecue sauce because he’s done it before, and it worked well. But really because Dr. Pepper is from Texas. In fact, it’s from Waco, Texas: The City of Stellar Connotations.

After shopping, the chefs head over to The Salt Lick, where they will be cooking, and where the owners have been barbecuing for 100 years. Surprisingly, David Crosby is the owner. I wonder if his children with Melissa Etheridge will carry on this tradition of the ‘cue. I also wonder when he became half-Asian.

After talking to David Crosby for awhile about barbecue and ponytails on grown men, the chefs venture outside to visit their actual cooking site. But it can’t be reached by foot, only by Toyota trucks, which the chefs proceed to go on and on about, causing the TOYOTA SIENNAS to feel really left out. Upon reaching their destination, the chefs come to find that their site has some Salt Lick-inspired pits, a smoker, and a few RVs. Better than that cornfield with John Besh.

As the chefs begin to prepare their meals, random cooking observations abound: Ty-Umlaut talks about how he wants to improve his “beef skills.” I’m sure his boyfriend feels the same way. Beverly almost burns down an RV with some flaming Bourbon. Ed is wearing yet another of one of his brown v-neck tees, causing his body to look weirdly womanly, which is fun for everyone. Malibu asks Ugly Chris if he “put it in the right hole.” Sounds like it will be a weird night.

Tom comes to visit the chefs the next morning. He talks to Ugly Chris and Malibu and seems less than impressed with their “beer can chicken” and “Dr. Pepper sauce” ideas. The Red Team talks about how they were born to barbecue. And then when Tom goes over to the Blue Team, Grayson first tells Tom that their stuff isn’t that great, but then tells him, “It’s like sex in the mouth.” At least she didn’t say anything weird. After being sexually harassed, Tom reveals that the winning team will also split $15,000. Although, if she wins, Grayson is going to have to give him her share, as recompense for how violated he feels.

Malibu worries about their pork because it’s salty, but he hopes it will work. Yeah, I’m sure it won’t. Sarah’s not feeling so good and asks to see a medic. Apparently she’s not doing great, so she’s gotta leave. That’s legit. She doesn’t want to leave. At least she’s not pulling a Jamie and sitting out because of a single stitch to the finger.

Tom comes over to tell Ty-Umlaut and Ed that Sarah had to go to the hospital. Ed says that he would have just pushed through it. Well, she didn’t really have a choice, asshole. Ed acts like they will be lucky to serve anything at all. Really? It’s not like she did everything. Or did she, Ed? Did she?

Service begins, and everyone starts acting like they’ve never served people before. Ty-Umlaut is concerned about how many plate strokes he will have to make. Really? I hope you lose so badly that Tom vetoes your immunity.

As the teams dish up the judges, we get a peek at everyone’s finished products:

BLUE TEAM asian-style spare rib, chicken, and brisket; kimchi-flavored brussel sprouts and purple okra; watermelon with fish sauce and cilantro.

WHITE TEAM beer can chicken, smoked brisket, dr. pepper-glazed spare ribs, beans of some sort, cole slaw.

RED TEAM texas-style chicken, kansas city-style pork ribs, smoked brisket, pinto beans with bacon, poppy seed cole slaw, white sandwich bread.

There seem to be hits and misses on every team. And during the Red Team’s service, much to Ed’s dismay, his scapegoat named Sarah returns. Instead of being grateful, he bitches that she is too concerned about the chicken she prepared. Ty-Umlaut is sympathetic, but Ed just yells at her until she almost cries.

After service, everyone is all exhausted and heat-stricken. Padma comes in to their makeshift Stew Room and wants to see the Blue Team. Since, last time, the losers were called first, no one is sure what to make of it. But they win! Yay, I like those people! Their originality was appreciated, and their brisket really set them apart from the other two teams, both of whom Padma wants to see. I guess it was a tie for the suckiest.

The judges critique the chicken on both sides. The Red Team takes heat for the pre-cut brisket, which is kind of Ed’s fault. Send that jaw packing! The White Team’s biggest failure seems to be their overly-salty rubs, which Malibu made. Oh noes!

Basically, everyone just looks like they want to cry. Poor kids need a nap.

Tom says it’s a tough one for him, but ultimately…Malibu gets sent packing for the ol’ salty rubs. Awww, I liked him! Bummer. I guess that shot of his naked lady pictures was foreshadowing. Or something.


Malibu’s confidence is sky high as he walks into the kitchen, although he is a bit confused when he sees Nyesha. Tom gives him the business, and then tells both chefs that their challenge is to cook a dish using ingredients found at a gas station. Mwhaha! They have $25 to shop and will have 30 minutes to cook when they return. After some gas station banter, the two come back to find that the truly-eliminated chefs have assembled on one side of the room. The eliminated chefs once again help out with the clock and ask about what each competitor is doing. And then time’s up.

NYESHA beer-glazed smoked sausage, pork rind twill, green chili and nacho cheese sauce.

MALIBU togarashi-spiced tomato soup, spicy pork rinds, grilled cheese with fried ham and pickle.

Tom says that both were really good, and the eliminated chefs have good things to say about each dish as well. Ultimately, though, Tom gives the win to…Nyesha. Three wins against four different people. You go, girl.


Restaurant wars, bitches! Boys versus girls. One team forgets a component on their dish, angering Cro Magnon. Sarah and Grayson cause a kerfuffle. Beverly’s fish is dry. Tom “expected a lot more.” From someone. Oh, Tom!


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