Southwest Ohio woman wins Food Network ‘BBQ Brawl’ show, plans to start food truck

Roby has also won a deal for a digital series on Food Network

Credit: Staff

Credit: Staff

The season 2 finale of Food Network’s “BBQ Brawl” aired Monday with an all-day, “super-sized” barbecue competition. Three contestants remained, and in the end, the judges decided the food of Dayton resident Erica Roby was supreme.

“The thing that impresses me most about Erica is she doesn’t get nervous,” said Bobby Flay, Food Network chef and Roby’s mentor on the show. “She knows who she is. She cooks within herself and it really prevailed.”

Now crowned champion, Roby has also won a deal for a digital series on Food Network.

Coming off of the huge victory, Roby plans to open her Dayton food truck named “Blue Smoke Blaire Roadside later this month. The barbecue truck, to be co-owned with her father, was supposed to open right before the pandemic, but was pushed back due to COVID-19 followed by the Food Network competition.



Once opened, Roby said the food truck will be located on the side of the road on East Third Street in Dayton.

Though the season premiered on June 14, the show’s filming wrapped-up in one taping last winter. Roby has had to keep the big news a secret from even her closest family and friends until now.

“It’s easy because I just like seeing raw emotion from people,” Roby said after surviving Week 6. “My friends have a bet on when I get kicked-off, what’s going to happen to me. I’m like laughing and I like that, too. So, it’s just really fun. It’s fun to watch the process.”

About two years ago, Roby began participating in barbecue competitions under the name “Blue Smoke Blaire” and putting her progress on Instagram. Not long after starting her journey, she received a message about “applying for an unspecified show that was about barbecue,” which she thought was a spam message on first glance. After consulting some barbecue peers on social media, she was told the people contacting her were legit and she should definitely write back.

“Me and my husband were running to find the best ingredients in the area and make all these dishes,” Roby said. “And then I didn’t hear anything for a year. So, I was like, ‘OK. Well, at least that was fun.’”

After a year of no communication, Roby received a call in November 2020 that would set in motion the road to her traveling to Austin, Texas to start filming at Star Hill Ranch.

As her successes continue to unfold on TV, Roby is keeping with the momentum in Dayton. Her BBQ sauces and rubs just launched on the website.

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