CLEVELAND — Cleveland native and celebrity chef Michael Symon is hitting the road for a new Food Network primetime series.
Symon will host "BBQ USA," a six-episode series offering viewers an inside look at the world of competitive barbecue grilling. The show will feature barbecue competitions across the country, showcasing the talents of grill masters with stops in a diverse range of locales.
Featured in the series—which premieres July 11 at 9 p.m. on the network with episodes also streaming on Discovery+—will be competitions in barbecue hotbeds like Georgia, Texas and Memphis as well as Alabama, Kansas and New Jersey. Symon released the following statement:
"Having the chance to travel the country and watch these 'cue stars compete on the grandest BBQ stage was a dream come true. I love a good old-fashioned culinary showdown. It doesn't matter if it’s pork, chicken or ribs, there is nothing better than getting over the grill or smoker in the summertime to show off your skills, while interacting with the dedicated fanbase that bring these BBQ contests to life."
In Memphis, Symon will host from the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which with over 200 teams boasts itself as the largest barbecue competition in the United States.
Warner Bros. Discovery executive Jane Latman said:
"Michael Symon is no stranger to cooking competitions, having competed in the toughest contests known to a chef. And with his love for barbecue, Michael hits the road to visit some of the premier BBQ competitions in America, talking with the passionate pit and grill masters who devote their life to different styles of 'cue. Michael is not only an award-winning and world-renowned chef admired by his peers, but also beloved by fans, which makes him the perfect guide for viewers as he tastes his way across the country."
Raised in North Olmsted, Symon's Food Network career spans decades, beginning in 2005 when he appeared as a challenger on "Iron Chef America." He has maintained a presence in his hometown's culinary scene, and while he was forced to shutter several Cleveland-area restaurants in 2020, he still owns Mabel's BBQ on E 4th Street, described on his website as a "Cleveland-style" barbecue joint incorporating local and eastern European-inspired flavors. A second Mabel's location opened this past March in Woodmere.