Countdown to the Kingsford Invitational: 3 Eyz BBQ
November 6, 2013
This weekend, seven of the year’s top team coverage on New York’s famed Intrepid sea, air, and space museum for the second annual winner-takes-all Kingsford Invitational. Today we’re catching up with one of those teams – 3 Eyz BBQ, the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s 2012 Team of the Year.
Clint: Dan, last year 3Eyz BBQ achieved one of the most difficult challenges in competition barbecue, beating out every other team on the circuit to be named the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s team of the year. Was this something that you all set out to do at the beginning of the year or did it evolve as you found yourselves rising in the rankings?
Dan Hixon: It definitely evolved. I’d be surprised if any team ever expects to be able to obtain TOY. For me, I’d given up to be honest. I didn’t think we could compete enough, or do well enough to even be in the running. In May last year, we didn’t even have a GC yet in the current year. We won several, decided to try for lucky number 7, got that and then rode it out. Doing all those contests from Maine to Florida and out to CA was really one of the hardest things I ever did.
C: Every year, the race for that top spot seems to come down to the last few contests of the year. When did you all realize that you had the lock on Team of the Year?
D: I refused to provide my ring size until the calendar year was over. I never believed it was locked and was still stunned at the KCBS awards banquet. Hell, did that REALLY happen? Still kind of surreal.
C: Were there any particular wins during your monumental 2012 competition year that you all are most proud of?
D: Fryeburg, Maine sticks out in my mind. That was #7 on the year and our first auto into the Jack. I wish I could bottle that feeling!
C: Aside from winning KCBS Team of the Year, do you have any other moments in your competition barbecue career that really stand out?
D: Every single GC is an amazing experience. It’s like a drug. You get one, you want a second one, get 2, you want 3, etc. So, each and every one of those final walks to the stage stand out in my mind.
C: Going back a bit, did you grow up around bbq and grilling?
D: On my birthday each year my dad would take me out to a local place to get a slab of Baby Back ribs. He’d order a Cheesburger, never saw him eat BBQ. Certainly never saw him make it. A BBQ in our family was grilling out and cooking up burgers and dogs. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s not BBQ to me. So, I think he was first to see the joy BBQ brought to me which is why we went out every year for that slab of ribs.
C: Now we’ve known each other and have competed against each other for several years but perhaps you can share about when and why you got involved in competition barbecue?
D: Beer + TV can bring about many a bad habit. So I blame Coors Light and the Food Network for my hobby…er…addiction! Seriously, I was watching a BBQ competition (Pellet Envy won) and I thought to myself, I can do that. So…..I started asking questions, cooking (bad at first) BBQ and trying to improve.
C: Where does the team name 3 Eyz BBQ come from and who else comprises the team?
D: Over the years a team can and does change. The current lineup of 3 Eyz BBQ is myself, Chris Hall, Dan Mcgrath and our friends and loved ones.
The name came about with myself and Jason McNew who founded the team. Jason only has one eye, Dan 2, thus 3 eyes between us. So, again after a beverage,”3 Eyz BBQ” was born.
C: Looking back on your cooking career, are there any lessons or tips that you might be able to share with a new team that’s looking to step up their game?
D: LOL. Don’t ask. ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS toe your canopy down. I’ve seen some bad things happen.
Also, don’t over think BBQ. It’s not rocket science, its food. We all constantly fight the urge to “improve”, which is code for “make it more complex”. Fight that.
C: Finally, because of the KCBS Team of the Year win, 3 Eyz is heading to the winner-take-all 2nd Annual Kingsford Invitational. You’ll be competing against some of the best teams of 2013 including the winners of the Houston Livestock & Rodeo, the American Royal, the Jack and others. Any overall thoughts or expectations regarding the contest?
D: It doesn’t matter what you did before, or how good you were yesterday, it matters what is turned in that day. And I can tell you one thing, we are bringing our best!
– Clint Cantwell, Grilling.com Editor