The Prilosec OTC® BBQ Shootout Series is a KCBS-sanctioned series of head-to-head competitions at various NASCAR® raceways across the country. Each competitor was invited to participate. Given their tremendous success on the KCBS circuit, Mike and Debbie Davis of Lotta Bull BBQ are one of the teams competing.
In addition to the competitions, some of the teams appear at a local participating Wal-Mart store the Wednesday or Thursday before each event to meet the fans, conduct cooking demonstrations and sign autographs.
Mike and Debbie have been a great inspiration to me as a new competition cook, so I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to ask Mike a few questions about the series. He and Debbie are very busy people, so I greatly appreciate his taking the time to give us his thoughts.
Me: You're obviously a very, very seasoned KCBS cook. How does cooking at a Prilosec OTC BBQ Shootout event differ from a standard KCBS competition?
Mike: As far as the Prilosec OTC event versus a standard KCBS cookoff, it really doesn't. It's just another day at the office.
Me: Are you cooking during a race? If so, what do the noise and crowd do to your competition mindset?
Mike: There's a race going on? (laughs) You just have to focus on the task at hand, and try to tune out the noise, but you can't tune out the crowd. I mean, you have to, to an extent, but some of those folks came to see you, and some follow your career better than you do, so you have to make time for them.
Me: The travel for the Shootout series must be pretty hectic. How many of these events will you participate in?
Mike: The Series is pretty easy, it's when we throw in all the other things we've got going on into the pot that it gets hectic, but we are hoping to do all 6 events.
Me: There have been a lot of comparisons of competition barbecue to the early days of NASCAR. Do you see that as a valid comparison?
Mike: Kind of. It was all started as a grass roots good 'ol boy type of thing, just good folks having a good time, only we ain't running 'shine. But then, maybe that is where they were running it to... a BBQ!
Me: Can you envision competition BBQ becoming as popular as NASCAR one day?
Mike: I would like to think that it would, but we're gonna have to make it more interesting for the fans. If you know some of the cooks, it is okay, but just for the average Joe it's... Well, quite honestly, it's like watching grass grow sometimes. But then I think this where the folks like the ones at Prilosec OTC come in to play. They are from outside our normal circle. They bring things to the table that we wouldn't normally think about. That's why I am so excited to be a part of the Prilosec OTC BBQ Shootout Series and see what it will bring.
Me: Do you have any tips can you offer up-and-coming competitive cooks?
Mike: RUN... AND FAST! (laughs) But really, lots and lots of practice, and then do it again. Do some research and take a class from one of the pitmasters that offer them. You'll save your self tons of aggravation and money while shortening the learning curve tremendously. But most importantly, remember there is a greater plan for us all, and to keep your priorities in order.
Thanks again for your insight, Mike.
I also want to thank Amanda Walsh of MS&L Worldwide for her offer and help in coordinating this. She was a joy to work with.