The Great Food Truck Race episode recap: Bring home the bacon


In The Great Food Truck Race episode recap, the food trucks headed to Yuma, Arizona. This week’s challenges brought home the bacon, both figuratively and literally.

For this week’s The Great Food Truck Race episode recap, the four food trucks headed to Yuma, Arizona. After a somewhat slow start in the first couple of episodes, the town proved to be a profit bonanza. The food trucks raked in the most profits all season. Was this town just a food truck haven or have the teams gotten into a grove?

For the first episode challenge, the food trucks had a type of mise en place relay challenge. Each team had to prep five artichokes per person. Once completed, the teams could take their seed money, a slab of bacon and prepare for selling. Truthfully, this challenge had two parts.

First, the prep/relay race was a little difficult to watch. Properly prepping an artichoke isn’t easy. Sure, Tyler Florence did a quick demo, but it was a simplified version of cleaning/prepping an artichoke.

Host Tyler Florence at the Artichoke and Bacon challenge at the Yuma Territorial Prison Museum and Park in Yuma, Arizona, as seen on The Great Food Truck Race, Season 9. Photo provided by Food Network

Watching the teams, only one person (Chef Eddie from New England Grill) did a good job on this prep. While speed was important, it looked like the teams butchered the poor artichokes. Food television fans have seen this type of challenge on shows before. Randomly clipping off artichoke leaves could ruin the product. Personally, watching the prep work was a little hard.

More importantly, the prep work was important because the artichokes were being used in a dish this week. Each food truck had to create a dish using artichokes and bacon. The team that sold the most specials would receive immunity.

This challenge was really important for the teams. Immunity, especially this late in the race, puts a food truck in the final three and closer to the big prize. All the teams should have really focused on this challenge.

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  • It was very surprising that Just Wing It used the special as a one-off. Granted, bacon and artichokes don’t necessarily go with wings. Still, with immunity on the line, they should have at least attempted to make the dish a better seller.

    New England Grill had a very smart approach to the special. They were able to incorporate the ingredients into their food truck theme. The BLT with an artichoke spread was genius. More importantly it was a huge seller.

    Beyond the special ingredient challenge, the big lesson of this week’s episode was smart purchasing and planning. In the first couple of weeks, the food trucks were selling smaller quantities. They didn’t need to purchase/plan for a big food run. This week’s events were quite different.

    In both days’ challenges, all the teams ran out of food. Yuma is definitely a food truck town. These people wanted to try everything from the four teams. More importantly, the weekend had events that were perfect for food trucks. A local art fair is a built in audience for big sales.

    Since the food trucks were accustomed to smaller sales, they didn’t buy very large quantities. Unfortunately, the teams had to shut down and go shop again. Every minute that a food truck is down or out of food, it loses money. The teams that had smarter plans were more successful.

    For example, New England Grill sent one team member out to shop while the other team members continued to sell/prep. But, Mobile Moo Shu shut down and moved their truck to the grocery store. This extra down time caused a loss of sales. Wouldn’t it have been better to send one person to the store when the food was getting low?

    Host Tyler Florence, prepares his lines before the elimination, as seen on The Great Food Truck Race, Season 9. photo provided by Food Network

    A couple of items weren’t addressed in this episode. First, Just Wing It had frozen chicken wings on the truck. It appears that they didn’t try to sell frozen wings. But, did they really think that those wings would properly defrost in a couple of hours? Personally, this situation was a little unnerving for me.

    Second, Just Wing It’s chicken wing shortage brought up a bigger issue. What should a food truck do if the town runs out of a particular food, like chicken wings? Granted, everyone wants wings from a wing truck. Why call your truck a wing truck if you’re selling tacos?

    Still, if there aren’t wings to buy in store, what can that particular food truck do? It seemed that Just Wing It didn’t have a back-up plan. If there were no more wings in Yuma, would the food truck have just closed up shop and stopped selling? What is something that works with wings that the team could have sold to make a profit?

    The lesson that hopefully these teams learned was adaptation. A second or third plan should always be in the back of their minds. If New England Grill can’t find lobster, then they switch to shrimp. Could a very specific themed truck have difficulty being successful?

    As alluded to in the beginning of The Great Food Truck Race episode recap, all the food trucks had hugely profitable totals. All four trucks totals were in the thousands of dollars. It was a rousing success.

    The food truck winning immunity in this Great Food Truck Race episode recap was New England Grill. Additionally, they had the highest total sales for the weekend. It was a double win for them.

    It seems like this particular truck has found their groove. They are buying, prepping and serving efficiently. As long as they don’t knock another teammate unconscious, I think that they have a good chance of making the finale.

    In a huge surprise, Just Wing It took second. This team of friends seems to have found their niche. From working social media to enhancing their selling technique, they appear to be finding their way. The question becomes if this momentum will continue or will their limited menu become a hindrance.

    Chop’s Shop writes the menu to sell food in the streets of Phoenix, as seen on The Great Food Truck Race, Season 9. photo provided by Food Network

    The bottom two teams in this Great Food Truck Race episode recap were Chop Shop and Mobile Moo Shu. Usually, Mobile Moo Shu is on top. The purchasing/shutting down hurt them this week. Also, there was a little in-fighting between teammates. Discord in the kitchen is never good.

    The team going home was Chop Shop. Their food sounds delicious. I think that they have a great concept, but the pace might have been too much for them. Hopefully, they can make a successful food truck business in their home town.

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    What’s next after this week’s The Great Food Truck Race episode recap? The teams head to Coachella. Next week’s episode will definitely be an entertaining one.