Barbecue Showdown season 3 welcomes a star of The Bear as a guest judge

Barbecue Showdown. Host Michelle Buteau in episode 302 of Barbecue Showdown. Credit: Courtesty of Netflix/© 2024 Netflix, Inc.
Barbecue Showdown. Host Michelle Buteau in episode 302 of Barbecue Showdown. Credit: Courtesty of Netflix/© 2024 Netflix, Inc. /

Happy Fourth of July! You probably have your own grill going with your meals all planned out for the day but, if you're looking for something to watch, might I suggest Barbecue Showdown on Netflix? The cooking competition series is a personal favorite and a bit of a comfort watch, to be honest. There's nothing like watching people throwdown in the kitchen, or in this case the pit, to make you feel right at home and invested in their journeys.

Season 3 sees the return of pitmasters Kevin Bludso and Melissa Cookston as judges and the always funny Michelle Buteau as host. But there's a special guest judge for episode 5 who will delight fans of The Bear. I know when I saw him in the trailer a big smile lit up my face. It's always nice when two of your favorite shows collide. If you're not in the loop, I'm talking about Matty Matheson!

Judges Matty Matheson, Kevin Bludso, and Melissa Cookston on Barbecue Showdown season 3 episode 5
Barbecue Showdown. (L to R) Judges Matty Matheson, Kevin Bludso and Melissa Cookston in episode 305 of Barbecue Showdown. Credit: Courtesty of Netflix/© 2024 Netflix, Inc. /

The Bear fans know Matheson as Neil Fak, the lovable and often comedic family friend and handyman for the show's eponymous restaurant (formerly The Beef). In the show's latest season, Neil and his brother, Ted (Ricky Staffieri), do their best to help Carmy and the gang as they "elevate" the dining experience for their customers. In true Fak fashion, their assistance produces hilarious outcomes.

But, unlike Fak, Matheson does have a culinary background. As an executive producer, his expertise in the field has been invaluable to the series and now he's set to lend his knowledge to the contestants on Barbecue Showdown. Matheson is the owner of four restaurants--Prime Seafood Palace, Cà Phê Rang, Rizzo's House of Parm, and Matty's Pattys Burger Club--all located in Toronto with exception to Rizzo's.

Matheson is a great fit for this Netflix competition series as he knows a thing or two about barbecue. He ran a pop-up back in 2020 called Meat + Three where, according to Niagara This Week, he served "fried chicken, pork butt, smoked meat loaf or beef brisket, each garnished with three sides, including tater tots, macaroni and cheese, baked beans and coleslaw."

All of these dishes have made an appearance on Barbecue Showdown in one for or another. And his food had people making trips to Fort Erie, Ontario to sample his cooking. The pop-up has since closed but, during its tenure, it was the place to go to for foodies with the added bonus of being a charitable venture as it was started as a fundraiser for Women’s Place of South Niagara and had raised $6,000.

I'm looking forward to seeing Matheson provide contestants with advice and support while he judges their food and what he, Bludso, Cookston, and Buteau have to say to one another during the asides. That's always a fun time, especially when the pitmasters start talking about what they would do in a challenge like the one put before the contestants or what's going wrong with one of the meals out the gate.

Barbecue Showdown season 3 is available to stream now on Netflix.