Monday, November 16, 2009
JOS BBQ Cooking Class
Unadilla Georgia, here I come
This past weekend I traveled to Unadilla GA to attend a cooking class given by Myron Mixon of Jacks Old South fame. I flew into Atlanta Friday morning, had lunch in North Atlanta with an old friend, and then began the 100+ mile drive south to Unadilla. South of Macon, just off interstate 75, Unadilla is a sparsely populated town located in Dooley County Georgia.
After checking into my motel in Perry Georgia, I traveled another 10 miles south to Myron’s house located in Unadilla. Friday at 6 pm he had a ‘meet and greet’ on the schedule. I arrived around 6:15 and found the yard already packed with a large group of eager BBQ students from all over the Country. As soon as I set foot into the lighted area under the Ezy-ups I was greeted by one of Myron’s staff and the fine southern hospitality never stopped from that point forward.
Everyone was given a name tag and a goody bag while a few of Myron’s gang laid out a fish fry that really hit the spot after a long day of traveling. Myron made the rounds and greeted everyone personally, much of the discussion was centered on what you wanted to accomplish or learn in the next two days of his class.
After dinner and a few cold beers, I was ready to head back to the motel for some sack time as we were instructed to be back at 7:00 Saturday morning to begin to work on the whole hog. Most of the others were as tired as I was and also adjourned to their rooms to get some rest.
The following morning found all the students back on site, notebooks and cameras at the ready, as Myron and his team began to work on the 210 lb hog that was being readied for the cooker. From that point on, it was a full morning as Myron moved from hog to shoulder to the KCBS meats. We took a short break to eat some burgers and hot dogs before we began the afternoon session which went right up till dark.
As soon as the sun set, Myron’s crew spread out a low country boil for supper that was delicious. Not long after diner, folks started to drift off to their motels to get some much needed rest as we were told we had at least as much, if not more, material scheduled to be covered on Sunday.
As promised, Sunday morning we were right back at it as meats were finished and presentation boxes were made. During the entire session Myron was clear and very thorough with the information he was presenting. Many times adding in some of the famous ‘color’ that he has come to be known for around the BBQ circuits.
Myron Mixon is a 3 time World Champion that has won many contests in an assortment of sanctioning body’s all across the Country. He has been cooking competitively since 1996. With his trademark hairstyle and black shirt he has become one of the most easily recognizable figures in today’s BBQ World.
Some might say that he is not going to give up all his secrets to a BBQ class, whether he does or doesn’t, no one knows for sure. What I can tell you is this, he gives enough information to fill a spiral note book about ¾ full and that’s for a guy that is not a super note taker. He allows his students to take pictures and ask questions, appearing to hold nothing back. Myron will explain that teaching his students his current methods makes him work harder and get better in order to keep up with or beat the folks that he has taught. Makes sense to me.
The mix of people that were in the class ranged from complete novice non competition, never cooked BBQ before, to guys that have already won more than a few contest Grand Championships, and everything in between. If you ask me, hearing Myron Mixon give his MIM whole hog presentation was worth the price admission all by itself, not to mention sampling some mighty good tasting BBQ.
Overall, there was a lot of good information disseminated and a ton of questions answered. The information was presented and demonstrated in a clear and concise manor. Recipes, formulas and mixes were all given including all measurements and amounts. Sources and websites used to gather needed supplies and equipment was provided. Was information held back? I think not. Will Jacks Old South be doing their contest cooking exactly like presented next season? Maybe not, but I think it will be very close. Will Myron Mixon continue to work to improve his product each and every time out? Without a doubt, I believe he would be doing that even without giving the classes.
The huge question now is can I take any of the information and apply it to my competition cooks, only time will tell. What I do know is you could give 10 cooks all the same box of cake mixes, the same type of equipment, and you will get 10 different cakes, every time. I am hoping I can bake a cake somewhat similar to what I saw this weekend. I am looking forward to trying some of the things I was shown and plan to begin this Sunday. After all, there are only 150 days until Salisbury and I have a lot of work to do.
Be sure to watch December 3 at 10 pm on TLC for the new show called the BBQ Pitmasters. The series will be shown in 8 segments which includes BBQ contests from all around the Country. Highlighted teams include Jacks Old South, Cool Smoke, Woodchicks, Slap Yo Daddy and many more.