Local grill master, Adrian Davila sacked his competition in the Food Network show “BBQ Blitz.”
In the episode “Texas Takedown,” — which premiered Friday night — Davila put his skills to the test, competing against Roe DiLeo and Kyle Noonan and coming out champion.
“It was a humbling experience,” he said. “I was going against these chefs who have very well respected establishments in the Dallas metroplex, and getting to cook alongside them was very humbling.”
Davila was joined by dozens of people, including family and friends, for a watch party at his family’s restaurant, Davila’s BBQ.
The crowd watched as Davila took an offensive, yet risky approach with lamb ribs in the first round.
“Choosing to cook lamb is very risky because they will either like it or not,” he said. “But I counted on the other competitors bringing something a little more commonplace, such as pork ribs or beef. And it worked out for me.”
Davila’s lamb ribs spiraled him into the next round, where he was a little taken aback by the host, former NFL player Eddie Jackson’s, choice of protein.
“The second round was Texas Gulf Shrimp, which I was totally unprepared for,” he said. “Mentally, I had prepared for something more exotic. Shrimp, although it is easy to enhance and infuse flavors into it, it is not the most flavorful protein, so I was really surprised by it.”
But that didn’t stop Davila.
He wowed the judges, owner of Dallas-based restaurant Knife and James Beard Award nominee John Tesar and former Cowboy Ken Hamlin, by using old techniques to add a new spin.
“I tried to be true to who I am and what I know in my cooking, which I call the Vaquero style — which is the forgotten cowboy or the original cowboy,” he said. “It really brings back the uniqueness with flavors and colors. TV-wise, they just fell in love with that. And I think that was the difference. The most basic of techniques is what gave me an edge on the new barbecue competition.”
In using this technique, Davila removed the grate from the grill and cooked everything either on the fire directly or its red-hot coals.
“I wrapped a sweet potato in tin foil and put it directly on the coals,” he said. “I made a fire roasted tomato salsa by putting the jalapenos, tomatoes and onions directly in the fire to truly fire roast them. There was nothing between them and the fire, which is truly the old way of doing it. I gave them the flavors of Texas and the Southwest.”
Davila grilled nopales, onions and tomatoes and served them along side the shrimp with fire roasted salsa and roasted sweet potato for the win.
“It looked good,” he said. “I really hoped that it tasted good, and that they would like it. And they did.”
Winning the competition has given Davila a chance to bring home more than just a trophy, he said.
“I have some other projects in the works,” he said. “This competition, this chance has opened some other doors for me. I’m excited for what the future will bring.”