Anybody who knows barbeque knows Myron Mixon: deep South pitmaster, television personality, restaurateur, and author. Oh, and don’t forget beating over 200 of the world’s best barbeque competition teams in this year’s Memphis in May for a record tying fourth time. Can I get a witness, because this guy is legit. He certainly has a lot to be proud of (and tired from) this year. Not only is business taking off with his cooking school, smokers, and culinary equipment, but he is also traveling the country promoting his brand new book, Myron Mixon’s BBQ Rules: The Old School Guide to Smoking Meat. These travels took him north of the Mason-Dixon line last week to NYC, for an interview on SiriusXM Radio’s Roland’s Food Court program, which airs on Opie Radio. It’s a program inspired by Roland Campos, who is the talent booker for the Opie and Jim Norton Show, and co-host, Chef Carl Ruiz, a renowned chef and restaurant owner in suburbia Morris County, New Jersey. Together, these two put on an exciting show that explores food in all of its facets, from little known dives in the city to veterans of the culinary world that are pushing its boundaries. You would be very hard pressed to find guys that know and enjoy their food more than these two, or love to talk about it. Roland can fall into an ecstatic seizure when the conversation turns to one of his favorite dishes and Carl can meet chefs in their world, using his experience to elevate and shape the discussion to another level. It’s a unique and cool chemistry, one that they invited me to experience with them.
I met Carl through another friend, two weeks ago at a party, and coincidently, at the same house that inspired the post, “Brazil Next Door”. (The Brazilian barbeque was back this year too!). Carl’s place was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Drive-Ins, Diners, and Dives”, and he had later won Guy’s Grocery Games on the Food Network. The three of us are very much into barbeque, and Carl is growing his barbeque-loving customer base at one of his restaurants, Marie’s Chicken Joint, in Chatham, NJ by wisely parking his smoker in the lot and cooking up chicken, beef brisket, and pork for those lucky enough to get there early. My friend, Abi, has been going there about three times a week since he has smelled the first whiff of smoke drifting west into our town. The conversation turned to Roland’s Food Court, and how Myron was coming in to talk about his book while on tour. He asked if I would be interested in coming in to watch the broadcast and meet the Master, to which I was quick to say, “#%*@ yeah!”. Carl called and put me on the guest list immediately. I couldn’t believe it. I would meet one of the most renowned pitmasters in just a few days.
The SiriusXM studio is extremely cool. Roland came out to the lobby to get me and we went back to the office area. Each channel has an office, albeit a small one, where the hosts have desks and prepare for the show. I was a bit early so I hung out and waited in the Opie Radio office, listening in on the prep work, reading through Myron’s book, and listening to our hosts talk with other guys about crazy things that happened that week. The interview had been moved up, but we were still running a bit late. When the time came, we walked down the hallway, past open glass studios of screens, audio equipment, and broadcasters, in the midst of their shows. I listen to Sirius everyday, but had no idea of who anyone was from looking at them. Who knew which shows that I always listen to were going on as I walked past. And because I know some of you are wondering: no, I did not see Howard.Our studio was one of the larger ones that I saw, though I suspect there are bigger ones for shows with more people. There is a large table with five microphones around it, a smaller desk with a computer and mic, and a seating area. As we came to set up, Roland asked if I wanted take part in the interview or hang on the couch. Carl looked at me like, “Well, what do you want to do?” and I quickly elected to sit in. A week ago, speaking on a national radio show with these hosts and talking barbeque with Myron Mixon was something that I would never had guessed I would be doing. I had a number of questions for Myron, as you would guess, ranging from winning competitions to the state of barbeque in New Jersey, each waiting for someone of Myron’s experience and success to answer. Our competition team captain, Justin, simply texted me to “Get some cooking tips.” But this was not a local show where most listeners would be in the tri-state area. It would go out across the country, so Jersey specific questions, while interesting to me, were not the concern of most of the audience. We had about twenty minutes with him, at which time he would move on to his next appointment, and we had to make the most of it.
Myron and his son, Jack, arrived in the studio, each wearing their Jack’s Old South shirts. He looked just like he did on television, and while he can be abrupt on-screen, which I see as a symptom of his passion for cooking, he was very charismatic and friendly. My nervousness ebbed away as we all talked about his book, his family, some favorite recipes, and how barbeque is evolving. I don’t believe that it my right to disclose the things that were said that day, as the interview has not aired yet, but we did discuss something that I will address on the site at a later time, which is: how does a place, like New Jersey and other areas not currently known for its own barbeque, develop its own identity? I believe that this is one of the most important questions that I look to answer in each and every one of my posts. Myron did give some insight to that question, and it has helped with my understanding of New Jersey’s role in this delicious art form. You just have to listen in if you want to find out.
The interview with Myron Mixon on Roland’s Food Court with co-host Chef Carl Ruiz (and guest host Stephen Cullis 🙂 )will air multiple times this Memorial Day Weekend on Opie Radio (Channel 103 (Sirius 206)). It will also be available on iTunes for download. Tune in for the extended weekend, spend time with friends, and cook up some great barbeque.
HUGE thank you to Chef Carl, Roland, Opie Radio, and the entire SiriusXM organization for hooking me up for this unforgettable experience.