Who are the chefs on The American Barbecue Showdown? We found Melissa and Kevin on Instagram!

Think Great British Bake Off, but replace the cakes with barbecue meat to get Netflix’s new cooking competition show.

The American Barbecue Showdown sees budding chefs go head-to-head to showcase their culinary skills using an outside grill. For eight weeks, the cookers’ smoking talents are put to the ultimate test, and at the end of each episode, one chef is crowned star pit master.

Chefs Melissa Cookston and Kevin Bludso make the judging call for the final winner. As the show grows in popularity, viewers now want to find out who they are. We found them on Instagram!

Screenshot: Melissa and Kevin on The American Barbecue Showdown, Episode 1 Season 1, Netflix

Meet Melissa and Kevin

Melissa Cookston, 52, is an American chef and a 7 Time World BBQ Champion. She is also a pit master and owner of restaurant Memphis Barbecue Co, with one based in Mississippi and another in Georgia.  The American Barbecue Showdown judge, who is also the author of two cookbooks Smokin in the Boy’s Room and Smokin’ Hot in the South, was born and raised in Mississippi.

The chef isn’t short of achievements, as she served as a judge on season 4 of Destination America’s BBQ Pitmasters, and was named one of America’s most influential BBQ Pitmasters and personalities by Fox News.

Melissa’s co-star and pit master Kevin Bludso, who has been barbecuing since he was 9 years old, also has his own restaurant. Named after himself, it is called Bludso’s Bar & Que and is based in Los Angeles. The Bludso family were born in Texas, where they are best-known for perfecting the craft of slow-cooked meats.

The flavour of their meats was all started by Kevin’s grandmother Willie Mae Fields, and continued to develop through secret family recipes. She had a barbecue stand in Texas, and Kevin worked alongside her where he learned how to “use something for the rest of his life”. He also starred in Firemasters on Canada Food Network.

  • CHEER: Who is Gabi Butler? Meet the Netflix star on Instagram!

Melissa on Instagram

As Melissa is sponsored by American-owned pork producer Prairie Fresh, the chef regularly creates dishes for the brand such as Korean BBQ ribs, which she showcases on her Instagram page.

The chef has 131,000 followers on Instagram, which is not surprising for any meat-lovers who need some cooking inspiration. A wide range of her meat dishes can be found on there.

  • HOME EDIT: Clea Shearer’s age revealed – how old is the Netflix star?


Kevin on Instagram

Kevin, who has over 8,700 followers on Instagram, talks passionately about his cooked meats and said the best way to cook it is “low and slow”. His restaurant is well-known by many, including celebrities such as Kourtney Kardashian. His restaurant also caters for big and small parties, so it is believed they may have contributed his food to one of the Kardashian’s iconic parties.

The chef mainly posts food dishes, which consist of curries and slow-cooked or grilled meats, along with occasional sunsets and idyllic views. It is not short of food inspiration just like Melissa’s, so give Kevin a follow!



Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know