4 NC pitmasters fought tough on Food Network’s ‘Chopped.’ Only one will contest in a finale.

Adam Hughes, a rival pitmaster from Edenton, will paint North Carolina in a “Chopped” showdown to finish all grill showdowns.

Tuesday, on Food Network’s “Chopped Grill Masters,” Hughes prevailed over 3 other pitmasters from North Carolina — complicated hitters on a foe circuit and a ready of one of a state’s best-known grill joints.

They were Melanie Dunia, a executive ready during The Pit in Raleigh; Chris Prieto of Prime Barbecue; and Jerry Stephenson of a Redneck BBQ Lab.

Dunia finished as a runner-up.

On Aug. 28, Hughes will take on a winners of Memphis, Texas and Kansas City episodes. He competes scarcely half a weekends of a year in grill tournaments underneath a name “Old Colony Smokehouse.”

The ultimate leader will take home $50,000, though clearly informal grill bragging rights are on a line.

Throughout a part in a “Chopped” kitchen, a chefs were given a basket of North Carolina-tinged mixture that they had to incorporate in a plate in a time frame. First, appetizers in 20 minutes, an snack in 30 mins and a dessert in 30 minutes.

At a finish of any round, a pitmaster was separated or, ahem, chopped.

Stephenson exited after Round 1 and was followed by Prieto in Round 2 with his entree.

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That left Dunia and Hughes to come adult with a dessert regulating a strawberry sonker (already a fruity dessert), honeyed tea, honeyed potatoes and Moravian cookies.

Hughes done a honeyed potato pudding with strawberry fluff, an paper to his grandmother’s honeyed potato casserole.

Judges praised a dish’s influences and that a pitmaster had focused some-more on display than prior dishes in a competition.

“You unequivocally brought it here today,” pronounced Marc Murphy, one of a judges.

Dunia, called a “chef on a rise” during a show, served boiled wontons filled with strawberry sonker wonton, alongside honeyed potato puree with a honeyed tea reduction.

Host Ted Allen pronounced a preference came down to a technical cooking of Dunia contra Hughes’ cooking from a heart.

Ultimately, Dunia came adult short, with Hughes holding a win and earning a right to paint North Carolina opposite a other grill regions.

Here’s a demeanour during a North Carolina leader and associate competitors, who were interviewed before a episode.

Adam Hughes, Old Colony Smokehouse, Edenton

This ubiquitous executive from Edenton spends half his weekends a year during grill competitions.

Hughes started barbecuing while in college during East Carolina. Grilling incited into smoking, and smoking incited into perplexing out foe grill on a lark.

Hughes has been cooking on a Southeast rival grill circuit given 2015, though has won 3 grand championships and has a few dozen Top 10 finishes.

Adam Hughes.jpeg

Though he customarily cooks shoulders, pig ribs, duck and brisket, Hughes pronounced North Carolina’s array baked whole sow is a many elemental grill of all region.

“North Carolina is a many elementary form of barbecue, it goes behind to a roots of man,” Hughes said. “As distant as representing North Carolina, a dishes we prepared spoke to North Carolina: traditional, elementary ingredients.”

Hughes believes his passion for his home state is what landed him on a show.

“There’s substantially not another chairman in a competitions that has as most honour in North Carolina,” he said. “I’m so unapproachable to be from North Carolina — Eastern North Carolina. It’s something we wear on my sleeve.”

As a home ready whose hobby became a passion, Hughes pronounced he felt a small out of place in a Chopped kitchen, a six-burner stovetop in a center of a brightly illuminated studio. There’s TV magic, for sure, he said: hours of interviews and print shoots, though a cooking is real.

“I was a shaken mutilate a whole time we was there, though once a time started and we was cooking, we was doing what we like to do and it was fun,” Hughes said. “When we watched (“Chopped”), we suspicion certainly they have some-more than 20 minutes. But a time is a time. There’s no second take.”

Melanie Dunia, The Pit, Raleigh

As a executive ready of a Pit in downtown Raleigh, Dunia steers one of North Carolina’s best-known grill restaurants. Dunia grew adult in Raleigh and cooks whole sow grill day in and day out.

Melanie Dunia.jpeg

But she didn’t grow adult on it. Hailing from New York State, Dunia pronounced her relatives know “barbecue” as hamburgers and hotdogs grilled out behind on a summer day. Her possess grill upbringing started as a sous ready during The Pit, where she eventually worked her proceed adult to a executive ready spot.

While many of a Grill Master competitors are old-school barbecuers, Dunia’s kitchen chops might be her advantage in a Chopped studio.

“It gave me a possibility to unequivocally uncover what we can do,” Dunia said. “At initial we thought, there’s no proceed we could ready a sow for 10 hours in 30 mins … But we consider it unequivocally does assistance me. At The Pit, guest are entrance in and looking to get a plate in and out.”

The Pit serves brisket and a stylings of Eastern and Western Carolina, though Dunia pronounced her heart belongs to whole hog, Eastern-style.

“North Carolina prides itself on cooking whole hogs and has been doing it for hundreds of years,” Dunia said.

She pronounced she was a fan of “Chopped,” though when producers reached out to be on a uncover she was primarily hesitant, preferring to tend to fires behind a scenes than star in front of a camera. But after a array of Skype interviews and an application, she took a plunge.

“I try to stay out of a spotlight,” Dunia said. “But it was all we suspicion it would be. An heated environment.”

Chris Prieto, Prime Barbecue, Knightdale

Raised in Texas, though staid in North Carolina, Prieto’s grill credentials is divided. He embraces them both — a brisket and a whole sow — though wants to see some-more Texas passion in North Carolina’s grill landscape.

Chris Prieto.jpeg

“When we mount in line during grill places in Texas, everybody is happy to be there,” Prieto said. “There’s a low grill enlightenment in North Carolina, though no one unequivocally watchful in line. we consider it’s time.”

Though he’s created grill cookbooks, seemed on a Destination America array “BBQ Pitmasters” and taught classes, Prieto just pennyless ground on his initial restaurant, Prime Barbecue in Knightdale. It’s on lane to open by a finish of a year.

Prieto says he takes a intelligent proceed to barbecue, researching and perfecting techniques. That includes a traditions of North Carolina.

Champion pitmaster prepared to open his 1st restaurant: 'I was called to barbecue'

Champion pitmaster prepared to open his 1st restaurant: ‘I was called to barbecue’

“My culinary credentials unequivocally bloomed in North Carolina, we unequivocally grown here,” Prieto said. “I have a lot of passion for North Carolina. It’s where my kids were born, it’s where my mother is from. Every plate we done we wanted people to know they could furnish a hulk NC dwindle around it.”

Jerry Stephenson, Redneck BBQ Lab, Benson

Jerry Stephenson non-stop his initial restaurant, a Redneck BBQ Lab, a year and a half ago, backing a walls of a Benson grill with dozens of foe trophies as a kind of grill bling. He and his sister, Roxanne Manley, spend half a year on a highway competing underneath a name Redneck Scientific.

The Redneck BBQ Lab opening Monday in Benson

The Redneck BBQ Lab opening Monday in Benson

Stephenson is on a uncover since of his daughter, a “Chopped” fan who wanted her father to give it a try. She pleaded with him to give it a go.

Jerry Stephenson.jpeg

“Next thing we know, I’m removing a call from a radio producer,” Stephenson said. “I was hesitant. I’m not unequivocally a open guy. we hatred being a ‘I’ guy, a ‘Me’ guy. we did it for my daughters and Johnston County and to foster a emporium and store.”

The hardest thing, Stephenson said, was being sworn to privacy by an air-tight nondisclosure agreement. His mother didn’t know he would be on a uncover until about a month ago.

Stephenson knows foe grill like breathing, though pronounced being on “Chopped” is like comparing apples and oranges. But even underneath a splendid lights of studio camera, a pang of adrenaline and meditative on a fly is a same.

“The impulse you’re station over a basket, when they ask we to open it up, it’s like looking in a smoker and saying a brisket drying out,” Stephenson said. “The uncover is split-decision stuff. You can’t unequivocally ready for it.

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