Going strong: Dayton’s Roby survives week 6 of 10 on Food Network’s ‘BBQ Brawl’



A Dayton pitmaster has survived past the halfway point in Food Network’s “BBQ Brawl.”

Erica Blaire Roby is competing in season 2 of “BBQ Brawl” that premiered June 14. A new episode airs every Monday at 9 p.m. on Food Network and the double-episode season finale is planned for Aug. 9.

In episode 6 which aired July 19, titled “BBQ Brunch Battle,” Roby progressed to week 7, set to air July 26. Roby said it was, so far, her favorite episode to watch because she won “best dish.”

Week 7 is the “Seafood Showdown.”

“When I found out that it comes out on Discovery Plus in the morning (before premiering on Food Network that same day), I set my timer and I wake up at the crack of dawn (to watch),” Roby said. “I hurry up in my bed with my dogs and hold my breath, just praying to God that everything goes well.”

Filming was completed months ago so Roby knows the outcome. Even so, she patiently waits and keeps the secret from friends and family here in Dayton.

“It’s easy because I just like seeing raw emotion from people,” Roby said. “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.”

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 bluesmokeblaire.com website.

About two years ago, Roby began participating in barbecue competitions 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.

Competing under the name “Blue Smoke Blaire,” Roby plans to open a Dayton-area food truck under the same name this August — around the same time as the “BBQ Brawl” season finale. 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, named “Blue Smoke Blair Roadside,” will be located on the side of the road on East Third Street in Dayton.

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