New series hits the road and visits six cities for outdoor cooking battles
"Food Network Star" season 11 winner and former NFL player Eddie Jackson goes primetime this fall with his new six-episode series, "BBQ Blitz," premiering Friday, Oct. 9 (10:30 p.m. ET/PT). Jackson hits a new city in each episode and welcomes three of the best local grillers, smokers and fire-roasters to an outdoor cook-off for a grand prize of $5,000 and barbecue bragging rights.
The action happens in front of a crowd of cheering spectators, and kicks off with Jackson challenging each competitor to transform a signature grilled masterpiece into a completely different dish for two hungry judges. After an elimination, he chooses one special ingredient that the remaining two must turn into the barbecue dish of their lives. The judges then determine who cooked the best bite, and the $5,000 grand-prizewinner is named in front of fans with stadium-style hoopla. Each judging panel mixes culinary experts (such as Ingrid Hoffman and Kent Rathbun) with Jackson's food-obsessed pals (including former NFL players Anthony Lucas and Ken Hamlin).
The road battle visits locales with connections to Jackson, including Miami and Charlotte, North Carolina, where he played professional football; Dallas, his childhood hometown; Little Rock, Arkansas, from his college days; Montgomery, Alabama, where his extended family lives; and America's barbecue seat, Kansas City, Missouri.
"Eddie is a natural on-camera, and everything viewers loved about him on 'Food Network Star' makes him the perfect host of 'BBQ Blitz,' a new competition centered around the food (he) grew up with in the South," said Bob Tuschman, general manager and senior vice president at Food Network. "With the cooking chops of these barbecue masters, the energy of a sporting event and the fun of a tailgate, this show is a perfect way to kick off the weekend."
Jackson is a former NFL player who joined the food world as a private chef, food truck owner and personal trainer. He proved to be the ultimate culinary champion during "Star," as he was known for his charismatic personality, charm under pressure and spectacular cooking skills. His take on food, which combines his southern background with his passion for rich, bold flavors, consistently distinguished him with the viewers and judges.
Jackson grew up in Texas and owns a Caribbean grill-inspired food truck and gym in the Houston area.