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Top Chef S9-9: BBQ Pit Wars

Updated on January 7, 2012

BBQ Wars

Top Chef Texas is on its 9th episode and we have 9 cheftestants battling it out for the title of Top Chef.

Remember, there’s still The Last Chance Kitchen, which can only be seen online, but you want to be spoiled about that, check out my review of that online episode.

Don’t forget, if you don’t want to be spoiled about this episode, get out of the kitchen now!

The episode starts with the cheftestants at their hotel, sitting around a table talking about the newly departed Heather. Lindsay says she was the heart of the group, but it seems like Bev and others don’t really feel the same.

The other person that did feel the same is Sarah, who, upon hearing Ed gave Heather his cake recipe in which she won two challenges, lambasts Crazy Ed. Sarah smack talks about Ed’s statement and because he didn’t say it directly to Heather, now he can’t be trusted.

I guess the only two people who felt the love for Heather are Sarah and Lindsay…and I feel I’m being teleported to the beginning of the season when I disliked them both immensely. Let’s face it, Heather was a bitch on the show and when Padma calls you the Queen of Mean, that tells you where you stand.

While the group is still mulling over Ed’s question of “At what point do you stop helping people?” a ring at the door gets everyone’s attention. On a cart, they are brought Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold. It’s a 5 book encyclopedia like cookbook about modern cuisine.

This is when we find out that Malibu Chris is also an artist and apparently likes to paint graphic, modern silhouettes of naked women. We all have our hobbies, no?

Nathan Myhrvold
Nathan Myhrvold


The cheftestants enter to see Padma and Nathan Myhrvold who will be the guest judge. Their task is to create a dish that illustrates modernist cuisine. They win the Modernist Cuisine book and immunity.

The tasting begins with Bev, who shows what a klutz she is by spraying foam on Padma’s dress then knocking over a bunch of trays filled with food onto the floor. She says her social awkwardness comes from being isolated as a child. The best part is when Ed calls her an oddball in a talking head. If Crazy Ed calls you an oddball, then you’re in trouble.

Guest Judge Nathan says the group tried their best, but as always, some did better than others.

In the ‘could have done better’ group was Paul, whose endive salad, egg yolk, parmesan and truffle powder didn’t have enough depth of flavor. Bev’s clumsiness aside, made a flash steamed clams and mussels with curry whipped cream and mango chili. Nathan thought it wasn’t different enough and really didn’t fit a modernist cuisine. Grayson made a trout sashimi, dill caviar and pickled watermelon, cucumber and radish dish that was too simple and the elements weren’t great.

Bitch Can Cook

On the other hand, Sarah made a breakfast raviolo, pancetta and egg yolk that looked scrumptious. She may have bad tastes in friends, but the gal can cook. Nathan thought that for meal ‘grandmas make’, she modernized it and it worked. Picture me drooling, cause…yum.

Moto Chris, who had his nose and head halfway up Nathan’s arse put a tablet named Miracle Berry on the plate, then had them taste some fruit. He did actually make something, which was a deconstructed cheesecake, sparkling water with lemon and lime. It sounds and looked like a hot mess, but apparently it tasted good and was nicely staged. Me thinks a little arse kissing went along way here.

Ty-Lor made a watermelon, vanilla bean honey, black pepper and salted olive oil powder. Sounds horrific, but Nathan thought Ty showed a lot of creativity and the execution and spices were spot on. Not only does Ty get that 60 pound book, he nabs himself immunity.

The Other Highlighted Dishes

Crazy Ed made a salmon bellow sashimi, compressed watermelon and brunoise radishes. Lindsay made marinated baby octopus, tempura sea beans and togarashi and Malibu Chris made Risotto foam, scallops, raisins and fried capers.

Elimination Challenge

If the Quickfire was about modern, the elimination is about traditional. The cheftestants are tasked to cook BBQ for over 300 guests at the famous Salt Lick. They must have two sides and three proteins: chicken, beef brisket and pork spareribs.

Padma tells the cheftestants to separate themselves into teams of 3, which…drahma. Heather…I mean, Lindsay doesn’t want to be in a group with Bev. Sarah doesn’t trust or like Ed, but she wants to work with Ty since he used to work for a steak shop. Apparently, she forgot Ty tanked the last BBQing challenge and has immunity. Ty, on the other hand, immediately goes for Ed on his team since they worked so well together in the past. That leaves Moto and Malibu who find Bev humbly standing beside them.

Padma announces that since great BBQ takes time, they group will be participating in another all-nighter. According to Ed, it’s another, “Slama Jama BBQ”. Well said.

Sarah being wheeled out.
Sarah being wheeled out.

No, We Can’t All Just Get Along

Red Team

Ty seems like the guy who gets along with everyone and he doesn’t seem to know how to deal with two people he likes, but don’t like each other. Crazy Ed and Sarah snap at each other and can’t seem to get over their differences to create a harmonious group. It’s baffling to Ty, who really liked Ed, because he’s so easy to work with. Hmmm…

Some time in the morning Sarah starts panicking. She’s having issues and asks for a medic. Lindsay is right there to help her and it’s only later that her team members even realize she’s ill. They never say what’s wrong with her, but it’s clear as the symptoms she’s having that she’s dehydrated. Drink water, lady. After she’s carted off by the ambulance, Ed starts to panic and he and Ty decide to cut their meat before hand instead of to order.

Crazy Ed says that he would have pushed through the pain and finish their task at hand. My fist thought was that was a crappy thing to say, then I recalled that is exactly what he did first episode. He cut his hand and worked as the paramedic patched him up. At least he’s not a hypocrite.

Ed is, however, a huge douche after she leaves; slamming things around and throwing a tantrum. But, I go back to the first episode and am reminded that this is the same guy who wanted to kill the other contestants. Well, he is Crazy Ed and I don’t know why I would be surprised that he goes crazy from time to time.

Blue Team

Paul steps up as the leader and decides that their BBQ will have an Asian flair. It’s a risk, but he decides that going traditional is too expected.

A few hours into cooking, the blue team finds out their meat has dropped in the cooker and all that time was wasted. They fix the issue, but now they’re worried that the meat won’t tenderize enough.

Tom on his sniff and sneer for Team White
Tom on his sniff and sneer for Team White

White Team

Malibu Chris decides that since Dr. Pepper is made in Texas that he’ll make a Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce. I see it…sort of. Has he never heard of beer? Because, I know Texans like beer, since when I was lived there, they had drive thrus handing out beer like they were Venti White Chocolate Mochas. I never saw a Dr. Pepper drive thru, but that may because I wasn’t looking hard enough.

Did I mention that Bev is odd? She had me laughing so hard watching this episode. Malibu Chris warned her not to cook the bourbon inside their trailer. So, she enters the trailer and starts cooking with the bourbon, then proceeds to watch calmly as fire rages from the pan to the vent, eventually setting off the alarm. She watches it like she’s watching a goldfish in a fishbowl. After a few moments, she takes the pan outside, finally realizing that she just might start a fire.

This must be the type of behavior Heather, Lindsay and Sarah have such a huge issue with. She really is an oddball. A nice oddball that makes good food, but an oddball nonetheless. Good call, Crazy Ed.

The Tasting

Hordes of people arrive to eat some BBQ, while Tito and the Taranchula jam. Anyone else squee when they saw Tito, then wonder who those chicks are and where the rest of the band were? Only me? :(

The Blue Team made Asian spareribs, chicken and brisket with Brussels sprouts and watermelon salad. The judges thought the ribs were sticky, sweet and spicy. The brisket was under-seasoned and the brisket was undercooked. They did like that the team looked outside of the box when making their meal.

The White Team made beer can chicken, brisket and Dr. Pepper glazed pork rib. The judges thought the chicken tasted roasted, not BBQed, and though it was good, it was not smoked enough. The brisket was a little chewy, but juicy. The ribs, on the other hand, were too salty and everyone commented on that. The coleslaw was good, though most prefer a more acidic slaw and lastly, the beans were under-cooked.

The Red Team two manned all of the guests until Sarah joined them just in time for the judges. Ty’s trying to make it all work, while Ed is being rather pissy about the whole thing. Sarah served her part to the judges, then left the guys to serve the rest of the guests, not only that, she has ‘no guilty feelings’ about that. I knew Top Chef wouldn’t let the episode go by without replacing one bitch for another. Thanks for stepping up, Sarah.

They made Sarah’s Texas chicken, Kansas City style pork ribs and smoked brisket. The sides were poppy seed coleslaw and pinto beans. The judges though the chicken was moist, the ribs had good flavor, but was too chewy. They also though Ed’s brisket had the best flavor but really suffered from being sliced too early.

The Judges Nathan, Padma and Tom.  (Gail is sitting next to Tom out of the picture)
The Judges Nathan, Padma and Tom. (Gail is sitting next to Tom out of the picture)
Blue Team: Paul, Lindsay and Grayson
Blue Team: Paul, Lindsay and Grayson

The Judging

As the cheftestants sit and wait for Padma, Sarah’s already assigning blame to others on her team with the condition that, “she’s just being honest”. How many contestants on a reality show have blanketed their blunt, crap behavior on ‘just being honest’ or ‘telling it like it is’? Welcome to the club, Sarah, because Omorosa, your various ‘real’ housewife, a random Real World person, your buddy Heather and other people who qualify for being a bitch also have a membership. I’m right back at episode 3 and the first elimination of the 16 cheftestants and know I’ve seen this Sarah before. She’s waiting for that proverbial bus, so Ed and Ty beware.

Winner, Winner, Chiken, Rib and Brisket Dinner

Padma arrives and calls out the Blue Team. The judges are Tom, Padma, Nathan and Gail. The judges liked that they didn’t try to be too traditional and loved their brisket the best. They are the winners and this brings Paul to $35,000 in winnings for the entire show. Good job Paul, this was all you and you deserved it.

Red Team: Sarah, Ed and Ty-Lor
Red Team: Sarah, Ed and Ty-Lor
See the look on Tom and Gail's face.  Yikes
See the look on Tom and Gail's face. Yikes

The Food Speaks For Itself

When the judges were eating the food during tasting, they had not so great things to say about all of the food. Every part of each team’s meal got dinged for one thing or another. It’s telling that the winning team had an undercooked side and under-seasoned brisket, which turned out to be the best brisket. In short, the food wasn’t that good. It seems this group of cheftestants can make great food for a small group, but tank every time their asked to cater to the masses, especially when it entails traditional foods.

The judges start with the Red Team. Sarah’s Texas chicken was only slightly better than White’s and was also grilled, not BBQed and Gail felt it was rubbery. They though that Ty’s ribs were seasoned with a heavy hand and a bit on the salty side. Tom mentions that Ty should be lucky he has immunity since he could have easily gone home for his part in the Red Team. The judges’ main issue with the brisket was that it was sliced too early. Ed mentions they made that choice because they only had two sets of hands instead of three. Sarah looks shocked and disgusted that he would mention it, but let’s face it, the judges know. There was also an issue with the coleslaw and the orange mint Crazy Ed slipped in there. The judges felt the taste was odd and didn’t fit.

The White Team suffered from a lack of originality. (Honestly, both White and Red Team did.) Bev’s brisket was OK, not original and her baked beans were really undercooked. Moto Chris’ beer can chicken was grilled, not BBQed and Malibu Chris’ ribs were so salty they were inedible.

Malibu Chris
Malibu Chris

Inedible? That says it all right there and Malibu must PYKaG then go back to California. If there's a dish that bad and a dish that's inedible, better believe the one that's almost impossible to eat is going home every time. Too bad. Malibu Chris was such an all around nice guy.

Which Team Had the Single Worst Protein?

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Last Chance Kitchen

The next duel is the Current Last Chance Kitchen Champion, Nyesha versus the beloved Malibu Chris. Whose food will rise above the drama?


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    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      I agree, the White Team was made of three hot messes and that wasn't by accident.

      I also agree that both Ed and Sarah weren't particularly nice to each other. Ed threw a tantrum that my 6 year old would be embarrassed about. I also don't think Sarah was faking it. She was dehydrated and the symptoms can be really bad. I do think her behavior when she got back was terrible and I do think she was faking it when she returned. Her Quickfire dish? Yum.

      Bev makes me laugh hysterically. She's so utterly clueless, yet so sweet. Her days are numbered.

      I like Ty-Lor, but he's really having issues when it comes to proteins. That doesn't bode well for him.

      My picks for the win are still Paul.....then Sarah and Crazy Ed.

      Thanks a bunch Alecia!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I was afraid for the White Team. Three hot messes do not make a good dish.

      About Sarah, I agree she was mean to Ed and likewise with Ed to her. I mean the girl wouldn't be faking illness to get her sent home.

      About Bev, poor thing is too scatterbrained to get much further. Lindsay and Grayson are in the same boat unless they pull something magical out of the hat.

      My favorites are Paul and Ty-Lor. Paul more so because he can cook, lead, and be encouraging. Ty's just nice but he does a good job every once in a while.

      Great hub!