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Jan 10, 2008 08:36 AM

Food Network "Down Home with the Neely's"

Is this Food TV trying to dispel the complaint about the network not having people of color?

I like bbq so it looks interesting.
I hope it's more cooking than a "Hogan knows best" type reality TV show.

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  1. Who exactly are the Neely's? I don't get the Food Network anymore so have no idea about some of the shows.

    8 Replies
    1. re: HollyDolly

      I think they own a restaurant - BBQ - Memphis.

      I would rather have an Indian or Thai show, personally. But, that is a different thread entirely!

      1. re: stellamystar

        Interstate Barbecue in Memphis: http://www.jimneelysinterstatebarbecu...


        Neely's Bar-B-Que in Mempis and Nashville:

        Not only do they disagree between wet and dry, but on spelling too.

        1. re: stellamystar

          Why not all of the above type of shows? Meaning, why not a Neeley's, Indian, Thai and other cuisines. This is why Food Network is failing now--limited thinking.

          1. re: Ora

            Food Network needs to get away from stupid reality shows like "The Next Food Network Star". Give me Alton Brown and Good Eats anyday.

            1. re: jpc8015

              I like Good Eats as well I just wish he could eliminate those cheesy skits. Those are awful and in my opinion take away from the show.

            2. re: Ora

              Hell, for the Indian show they could bring over "Indian Food Made Easy" from the BBC more or less intact. Caught a few episodes while over there on vacation and really wish it would run here.

          2. re: HollyDolly

            I think I saw the Neely's guest star one time on Paula's show. That's probably where they came from- they had nice chemistry with Paula though.

            1. re: HollyDolly

              The Neeley family owns several resteraunts in Memphis. Having just moved from there, it's nice to see something familiar on TV and I get some of the receipies fto bring the flavor to my new home. Their food was great and I enjoy eating there on return trips.

            2. Have not seen the show. But good to hear they are getting away from the low-cut-quick-and-easy set. I just hope that the Neely's have not been indoctrinated into the FN cult of (louder and outrageous is better) personality. And does this mean their family is going to be a big part of the show as well?

              That being said however there are already numerous BBQ specials and several souther cooking shows already on. As someone already said it would have been nice to see FN try something completely different.

              Perhaps they are the first of the new crop of talent that FN is cultivating to make money from merchandising.

              Anyone been to their restaurant?

              6 Replies
              1. re: Withnail42

                Yes, their restaurant is very good. It's not touristy at all (about 95% local clientele), and it is one of the better bbq restaurants in a city famous for bbq restaurants. The Neely's seem to be a louder, more boisterous group, but they aren't faking it and seem to be a lot of fun. I think the Food Network is looking for more minority representation. Nearly 1/3 of our nation is not white, yet this isn't represented on the food network. While there is a lot of "barbeque" on the food network, hardly any of it is real barbecue in the traditional sense of the word. The Neely's should bring the element of real barbeque and soul food (not the same as Southern) to the network.

                1. re: tennreb

                  I remember the Neely Bros. from an episode of BBQ with Bobby Flay (yeah, I watch too much Food TV). In that episode, the 2 brothers fought over wet vs dry ribs. Either way, both styles looked pretty darn good.

                  1. re: Bhutani

                    Yes, both styles are very good, and it is really a matter of preference. "Wet or dry?" is the classic question in Memphis, like asking someone if they are Democrat or Republican. I'm a dry-leaning independent. It really depends on what restaurant I'm in. Some places have better wet, some have better dry.

                  2. re: tennreb

                    The Food Network is decidedly lacking in "people of color" and yes they were on Paula's Party, at least that's where I first saw them. So I say WTG Food Network for your attempts at diversity but.... their show has a bad time slot IMHO, 11 PM ET, and what about the winners of the first Food Network Star, the gay couple, are they even on anymore? If they are it's in the middle of the night or very early in the morning. Maybe the Neely's will be seen in reruns on the weekends. I for one am sick of seeing the same shows every weekend. Case in point, right now they are showing the Beef Cookoff competition, which was shown yesterday, and twice last weekend, etc, etc. I hope the Neely's is a hit and gets a better time slot.

                    1. re: Missi

                      Yes, they are still on, usually around 10:30am, but I don't kow the last time I saw one of their shows.

                      Here's their schedule, Party Line with the Hearty Boys:


                2. WTF???? I just caught this show and it was the most horrible thing I've ever watched on The Food Network. Whoa. My head is still spinning... as is my stomach.

                  Barbecue spaghetti, strawberry shortcut cake and more sexual innuendo than Hugh Hefner can muster. Seriously, don't the execs at Food TV coach these folks or at least watch one of these taped episodes? Gina Neely said things like "wah-la" (voila) and her brother in law said "eggcellento". Ugh.

                  The ribs looked good but the rest of the stuff they called "food" was worse than something you'd get at the local school cafeteria. Barbecue spaghetti made w/ barbecue sauce & shredded pork - ew. Strawberry short cut cake made w/ boxed cake, jello, strawberries and whipped cream.

                  I rarely watch Food TV as it is and catching this show just reaffirmed why. The Neely's, Rachel Ray, Paula Deen & Sandra Lee have destroyed any credibility the network had from Mario, Brown, DeLaurentis, Garten, etc.

                  43 Replies
                  1. re: lynnlato

                    "Barbecue spaghetti made w/ barbecue sauce & shredded pork"

           opposed to barbecue spaghetti made WITHOUT barbecue sauce and shredded pork? Sorry that the dish isn't to your taste, but barbecue spaghetti is a common dish around Memphis, as well as one of the renowned specialties of Jim Neely's Interstate Barbecue, the family restaurant.

                    Anyway, you lost me when you claimed that the idiotic Little Big Head gave Food Network any credibility: call me when she runs a restaurant one-tenth as good as Neely's Interstate.

                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      Barmy you took the words right out of my mouth, about the BBQ spaghetti that is. While I don't think it's my cup of tea, it certainly is a staple in the TN area. I think the Neely's have a restaurant also in the Memphis airport. I ate there, had the BBQ sandwich and it was wonderful. I'd love to try their ribs, both wet and dry. I've watched their show and they come across as just a good old down home wholesome family. They don't put on airs, as a certain New York male chef does, and they act like they are having fun while they are cooking. To get right down to it, isn't cooking and having fun with your family while doing so what it's all about? I certainly think so.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        I thought I was the only one who noticed the Big Head!!! Are we talking about GDe????So funny!!!

                      2. re: lynnlato

                        I thought the barbecue spaghetti looked delicious. It's one of those Southern barbecue things that they do: a real regional thing I guess, so it's not really right for us to judge the validity of the food. I also don't think that DeLaurentis has any cred at all, I think Paula Deen has more cred than she does. Paula is an expert in Southern food and though she has become a strange exaggerative character she still knows a lot about food. Also, to not the Neely's talking, it's quite weird. Their accents don't seem region specific or anything, I would never have expected them to be Southern but could expect them to be from the west coast or something.

                        1. re: digkv

                          Forgive me, barbecue spaghetti is so against the grain for me, the daughter of a Sicillian cook. I've never heard of such a thing and would never, ever eat what they made. Some things are just wrong and that is one of them. Have u seen the show?

                          You can defend it 'til the cows come home... Paula Deen doesn't know food, she knows commercialism. Deep fried cheese cake is not "Southern" food it's gross.

                          Call it regional food or whatever you like. The Neely's, although probably lovely people, have no culinary skills outside of their bbq. They over used, and improperly used, the term "balance". As in "the onion powder balances the paprika" or "the cayenne pepper balances the black pepper"... what? And they made comments like "the apple cider vinegar is bitter to the sweetness of the sugar" It's not bitter it's acidic. Why would you add jarred lemon pepper seasoning to the cole slaw when you've already added fresh lemon juice and zest. Because you're not paying attention, that's why.

                          I could go on but why?

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            actually, paula deen does know southern food -- but we haven't seen it in a long, long time....

                            1. re: alkapal

                              Haha, I love how my sort of sarcastic response was deleted by the admins. I guess I offended someone out there? Anyways, since my mom doesn't actually know an actual "recipe"I found on online that was similar only difference is that my mom would actually sear the pork. She used this weird dark brown sugar "candy" for the caramel but I think turbinado is a good substitute. She also used frozen coconut juice. To eat this properly you have to serve it with pickled bean sprouts and scallions called gai chua. Just to make sure this isn't deleted: the neely's seem like nice people.

                            2. re: lynnlato

                              "The Neely's, although probably lovely people, have no culinary skills outside of their bbq."

                              Good thing that's what they sell in their restaurant, then, isn't it?

                              The BBQ spaghetti is a local Memphis thing. It seems like an odd combo to me, but hey - to each their own. I'd never try to argue BBQ with anyone. There are folks who think vinegar sauce on 'cue is just as weird, but there are tons of us in North Carolina who love it.

                              1. re: Suzy Q

                                Et tu, Suzy Q?

                                Check out the show. They were so over the top. I take issue more w/ FTV for not helping these folks. Where's the production? It's as if they set up a camera and left.

                                Mr. Neely, "trimmin' the skirt" (eyebrows up & down at Gina).

                                1. re: lynnlato

                                  Over the top, bad this your first time watching FN?

                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                      That's exactly what I was going to say...this definitely wouldn't be the first time an FN show was over the top. Paula's Party, anyone???

                                    2. re: lynnlato

                                      Lynn - you know I always have your back but you said so yourself, you don't watch a lot of FN. This is what it's become. That's why so many CHers rant and rave about what once was great entertainment and is now aimed at the lowest common denominator. I don't know why I can't stop watching. But this show is like a lot of FN. It's a train wreck. I can't not watch.

                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                        Ha! I suppose that's why I watched the show through to the end in the first place. Kind of like nascar, some folks just watch it for the wrecks - ha!

                                    3. re: Suzy Q

                                      I put this in the Cincinnati Chili category. To each his/her own! Personally, I think it sounds tasty - but with macaroni not spaghetti.

                                    4. re: lynnlato

                                      Best not try Cincinnati chili either then.

                                      I agree with the assessment that the show is terrible. Mrs. Sippi is from just south of Memphis and was all excited about watching. I gave up half way through and since she hasn't bothered to talk about it/watch it again I'd say she wasn't very impressed.

                                      As for the food, just because it's not your cup of tea doesn't mean you should dismiss it. Secondly, how do you know if you don't love bbq spaghetti (or something else) unless you give it an honest taste drive??


                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                        It is a common fact that what is considered nasty and disgusting in one culture is a culinary delight in others. I personally hate calamari and find it puzzling why anyone would choose to consume such a thing. On the other hand, others may question why I throughly enjoy black eyed peas and sweet cornbread mushed together in one bowl, eaten with my hands. We are all different and those differences should be celebrated not criticized. So Gina Neely said a word incorrectly. Big deal. Let her use her colloquialisms. It makes her her.

                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                          I think that's a pretty closed minded position on food.

                                        2. re: digkv

                                          Having lived in the Deep South for about 40 years, I find that the Neelys do have an accent. It one of a educated southern African American family. LOL if anyone, black or white, uses y'all a lot while talking, that's a southern accent. Although southern accents do vary from state to state and even to different portions within a state. And I agree that Paula is indeed an expert in the ways of Southern cooking. I don't think she exaggerates very much at all, I just see it as her natural personality coming though.

                                          1. re: Missi

                                            Sorry, but unless you have not noticed the "old south" has changed. Paula does not cook like anyone I know (lived in GA all my life), and is promotting outrageous things like doughnuts as hamburger buns. Many of those in her own city, Savannah, talk about how she lacks authenticity and gives nothing back to her community. She is not well liked there.

                                            Paul is an expert at one thing, self promotion

                                            1. re: Goodinthekitchen

                                              she isn't "from" savannah, but a small town in s.e. georgia, near the fla-ala. border. but i'll bet they don't cook like that there, either.

                                              1. re: Goodinthekitchen

                                                We have some kind of donut burger here in Illinois - donut is the bun. Never had it, but some people swear by it.

                                          2. re: lynnlato

                                            Bar-B-Q spaghetti is a staple at any BBQ resteraunt in Memphis. Don't knock it until you try it.

                                            If BBQ spaghetti sounds repulsive, have you ever tried BBQ pizza?

                                            1. re: lynnlato


                                              I just have to comment on your response to the Neely's off key sorta speech. Well as we all know from Paula and the creepy gothnic Ida Garden, the Food Network has all kinds of off balance characters ie: Alton Brown, Ace of Cakes and even Guy whats his name. I feel the network is aiming to showcase a character that someone from every side of the world can relate to. There is Giada who is very conservative, Sandra Lee who's a blend of southern girl yet modern. Paula is like everyone favorite great aunt, she's loud, lively, full of stories and willing to try just about anything at least once just for fun. Then even the gay guys are people that a certain community can relate to, then we have the bad boys of the network... Guy and the Ace of Cakes guy. So stop coming down so hard on the Neelys as everyone's style may not suite your fancy therefore just tune in and watch the one's you can relate to. Not everyone on The Food Network channel has culinary skills but they give off their own unique brand of cooking and personality that's sure to capture someone's attention in tv land. The Neely's will grow as time goes on just like all the others, give them a fair chance. If you've ever seen old episodes from Bobby Flay, when he first started he couldn't even operate a blender so how's that for starters.

                                              1. re: holiday6424

                                                Sandra Lee is from the state of Washington, about as un-southern as you can get. Assuming you are referring to Ina Garten, please tell me what "gothnic" means. I'm dying to know! "Even the gay guys are people that a certain community can relate to"? Really? Seriously, really?

                                              2. I don't think its your place to decide if something is good or not.
                                                Ummm, why not? Just because a TV personality says something is good doesn't mean it is! Taste is an opinion - so lynnlato has expressed her opinion, as have many others. Her opinion of this show when she watched it was that she didn't like it or the hosts or the food they presented. It's as simple as that. Just because you don't agree doesn't mean her opinion is any less valid. You like the show and the food, she and others don't.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Actually I don't like or dislike the Nealy show. However I do know that they own successful restaurants and are very knowledgeable when it comes to BBQ and southern cuisine. Yet people here seem comfortable bashing them with no knowledge of southern cuisine or even ever trying their food. These negative type of posts are irresponsible. If you want to share an informed opinion I'm all for it, instead I'm just seeing senseless bashing.

                                                  1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                    Well, now that's just your opinion, isn't it? Just as lynnlato expressed hers. And as KTinNYC said above, it's not really that hard to figure out what BBQ spaghetti would taste like - and it doesn't sound good to me either.


                                                    Nope, BBQ sauce (to ME) doesn't belong on spaghetti.

                                                    Oh - and you didn't answer my question to you - why is it not lynnlato's place (or anyone else's place) to decide if something is good or not? Why is it ONLY the Neely's place, in this instance?

                                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                                        Almost as bad as the Kwanzaa Cake, huh? ;-)

                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                        People like the Nealy's work hard their entire lives. They build up successful restaurants with a passionate following. Then they get scouted and offered a show on the Food Network. After all that hard work and success with a few key strokes you guys feel they should be knocked down or even worse discredit their culinary chops. It just shows ignorance on your part, not theirs.

                                                        It's not lyynlato's place because she never even tried the food. At least try the food. Sometimes you can be surprised by food. It might not sound good at first until you try it. I have no idea if BBQ spaghetti is good or not but I would at least try it before formulating such a negative posting.

                                                        This food snob stance really ruins all the positives of food and cooking.

                                                        1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                          Hey - all we said was that BBQ spaghetti doesn't seem like it would taste good. I think I can closely "imagine" what BBQ would taste like on pasta and it doesn't seem appealing. I like the Neely's and have defended them. I've gone as far as admitting a crush on Pat! I certainly appreciate their hard work. I watched their Cheftography! Are you saying no one on this board can be critical of any recipe anyone whips up on Food Network unless we've actually tasted their food? Because that would seriously limit the number of posts to this board.

                                                          1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                            Ahh, I see - because *you* say it's not her place to to comment on the food, it is so. Got it.

                                                            Look - people make judgments about food ALL the time. It looks good, it looks bad. Whether or not they've tasted it. We do it all the time. An opinion is an opinion is an opinion. You don't have to agree with it.

                                                            But you also don't have the right to say it's not someone's place to say they don't like the idea of BBQ spaghetti because it's their opinion - based on their OWN tastebuds, and based on what *they know* they like or don't like.

                                                            Well, I take that back. You have the right to say it. But people don't have to agree with you.

                                                            1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                              The irony here is that I live in the south and have for 15 years. I adore southern food. Country ham, collards, eastern & lexington-style 'cue, hushpuppies, grits, etc.

                                                              I am by no means a food snob. I could go on and on about how I love hoagies, cheesesteaks, chik-fil-a and bojangles. But if i tried to get some folks to eat scrapple (a common breakfast item back in my home state of pa) some would turn their noses up at it. So, I'm turning my nose up at bbq spaghetti. My doing so certainly doesn't warrant all this debate.

                                                              Listen, I've been posting on these boards for several years. I've had the pleasure of interacting with many wonderfully talented people who have taught me so much about food and cooking. They've steered me to great restaurants in places that i've traveled to and hopefully I've given back in the same way (I did just get an email from a woman who thanked me for my recs for a restaurant in Portugal that was the highlight of her trip). My point is no one should be criticized or feel attacked for expressing their opinion here. Its counter-productive. This thread was about The Neely's show and I, two years later, still do not care for the show. Some folks do and good for them. I wish The Neely's success and hope that you, my friend, have a happy 2010.

                                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                                I love scrapple, my home state as well. Let's end this conversation on that positive note.

                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                              Hey, I thought the same thing about BBQ spaghetti, as did my friends who ate my BBQ spag at a dinner party I had. They and I loved it. I took BBQ that I really liked and basically added pasta to it. Fabulous! Give it a try sometime. You might be surprised. I know I was.

                                                              1. re: kprange

                                                                I've had it and didn't enjoy it. You could just as easily replaced the spaghetti with white bread and it'd have been as enjoyable. The pasta is really soggy from all the barbecue sauce and it's just not what I like about noodles with sauce as opposed to sauce with noodles, if you get my meaning.

                                                                1. re: bookhound

                                                                  I made my own, and was able to control the amount of sauce that was on the spaghetti. The only other place I have had it where it was good was Marlowe's in Memphis. There was sauce, pasta and tender meat in every bite; no soggy spaghetti. I probably wouldn't have had it again if the pasta were soggy.

                                                            3. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                              I don't have to eat at their restaurant in order to know that they use cooking terminology incorrectly on their show. I just need to watch the show. Which I don't, now, because I lost count of the number of times they were doing something in the kitchen and describing it totally incorrectly. The one that stands out in my mind was one episode where they were cooking a saucepan filled halfway with apple slices (maybe 3-4 inches deep in the pan) covered in some kind of syrup for a dessert. They described this as 'sauteing'.

                                                          2. re: lynnlato

                                                            I agree (to a point). The Neelys' and Paula Deen are "dummying" down Food Network. I will absolutely turn the channel to avoid hearing or seeing these two shows.

                                                            Rachel and Sandra Lee have successfully promotted a return to the kitchen for the "minimizers", but are certainly not on a scale with Bobby Flay, Giada and Ina.

                                                            I think other true cooks from the south will agree that the Neelys and Paula are not only fake, but embarrassing. If I here them say ya'll, sweetie or spice fairy one more time I may get ill.

                                                            I think what American needs to see is true chefs preparing original recipes that are also somewhat healthy. Look to Bobby, Giada and a few others to do that.

                                                            1. re: Goodinthekitchen

                                                              i don't think the neelys are fake or embarassing. paula is over the top, but i think it is over (her own) top.

                                                          3. I HATED this show watching for the first time but it had nothing to do with the food they were making. I've seen broccoli cheddar cornbread and vegetable soup with fried porkchops. It was very homey and all, not exactly my type but that didn't phase me. I'm fine with shows that are for everyday cooks since I basically am one. But I found their style ridiculous and annoying. I wanted to like them and was glad to see FN branching out, but it just looked like they were trying too hard. Like Paula on a sugar rush or something - "give me some of that sugar, sugar" followed by screeching laughter is only funny once if at all. Sorry.

                                                            1. cant have too many shows about bbq in my world.

                                                              caught one episode, and would probaby watch them again if their are no sports to watch.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: swsidejim

                                                                I saw the first episode, wasn't really impressed by it. I like BBQ and all but I'm surrounded by it all the time living in the South. Don't understand why FN would do yet another southern-type cooking show when Paula Deen is already on air all the time with her show and with Paula's Party.
                                                                I know they want to appeal to the home cook, which is fine, but do all these new shows need to be of the same format? I've learned a lot from FN but feel like I'm growing out out of it already.

                                                                1. re: Madelyne

                                                                  I can see your points. I just enjoy seeing different takes on bbq since I own a smoker, and am always looking for others techniques, styles, etc..

                                                                  I dont watch Paula, so I dont get that overload. I do get an overload with two FN channels, the regular one, and FNHD. Other than Bobby Flay not much on either that I like to watch. They are just a part of my channel surfing regulars.

                                                                  1. re: Madelyne

                                                                    That's what FN does they have one type of show and they use it over and over. Same goes for the people. Lose one plump shorts wearing Italian, bring in in another.