Myron Mixon Shares Tips On How to Get Paid
 How to Rise in Ranks Amongst the BBQ Elite

Myron Mixon is known as the winningest man in BBQ. He recently won this year's Grand Championship at Memphis in May. He's won over 180 grand championships and still counting, resulting in over 1,700 total trophies, 30 state championships, 8 Team of the Year awards, and 11 national championships and countless other winnings. Myron is a good friend of NBBQA and was recently an NBBQA Dream Team Captain at our JAX BBQ Bash in Jacksonville, FL during I Am BBQ 2016.  In this article, Myron shares his wisdom about BBQ and road to stardom. The interview was full of Myronisms: straight talk, call it like it is, no-holds-barred language. We thought it appropriate not to quote him verbatim, but we can't deny the man knows how to make cue that will make your tongue slap your brains out!

Myron Mixon made a name for himself on the competitive BBQ circuit. He decided to launch his first restaurant in Chicago, four blocks from Wrigley field near the Cubs Stadium. He shares his strategies on how to rise in the ranks amongst the competitive BBQ elite.  

1. Competitor to Restaurant Owner: Study Your Demographics
Myron Mixon's Smoke Show restaurant has its grand opening scheduled for sometime in August. We can't name an exact date yet. We have another restaurant opening in Alexandria near DC area in August as well. I would not open a BBQ restaurant south of the Mason-Dixon line. I saw a demographic survey examining BBQ restaurants in southern metropolitan areas; it is an incredibly saturated market. You have to ask yourself why you are doing this? Do your research and look at the local demographics first before considering the investment.

2. Myron's BBQ Sponsorship Strategy: Get Paid 
When I started out in BBQ, I competed for the prize money to pay the bills. I was under a lot of pressure to win. You look at things differently when it comes to sponsorships when BBQ is your livelihood. People want desperately to secure a sponsor because it signals success in their minds. They don't necessarily approach sponsorship from a business perspective. I had the mindset from the very beginning of my career that I would not accept free trades or swag bags just to be called "sponsored." A charcoal company will give you huge pallets of free charcoal, then expect you to put logos all over your trailer. For me, it was easier to go down and buy a $20.00 bag than go through the hassle of storing the extra charcoal. I never allowed logos all over my trailer either. There has to be a cash incentive for me to do business with a brand. 
3. The Sponsor Represents Your Reputation
A company offered me a sponsorship. I asked them to send me samples to try, and I liked the product. If I believe in the brand, then it is easier to sell and be a better advocate for the brand. I don't want anything tied to my name that isn't a good product. 

4. Sponsors Can Cost You Money
Ask yourself, what are you getting out of this sponsorship deal? Are you desperate to accept any deal just to call yourself sponsored? Some contracts end up costing you money or time in the end. You may have to pay out of your pocket to wrap your trailer or do favors for the brand to cook up meat for free, etc. Time is money.
5. Hard Work is Behind the "Celebrity Chef Fantasy"  
I paid my bills from winning BBQ competition prize money. I used to leave one competition to drive to another contest hours away for bigger prize money. In the 90s, 2000s there were no TV or book deals, just me working hard to make ends meet. A lot of people didn't know me back then and how much I hustled. Success comes after hard work.
Culinary schools nowadays have an acting class to teach kids how to act on TV. They are selling the dream of becoming the next Celebrity Chef to boost enrollment numbers. I feel most people just want to get on television. It takes hard work and years of dedication to build a career in this industry. A lot of these chefs spend 10-15 years as a line cook under a talented chef before going out on their own. They work 60-70 hours weeks and weekends. People on celebrity chef are in their late 40s to mid-50s after a lifetime of dedication to their craft. If getting on TV is your ultimate goal then maybe you should consider doing something else. You have to love what you do to work that hard.

6. Technology Does Not Replace Experience
My dad, Jack Mixon, died back in 96'. I learned everything I knew from my father on his masonry pits. In the early days, BBQ did not use advanced gadgets, crazy app timers, or over-the-top ovens. My dad taught me hot to cook by smell, taste, and touch. He showed me how the meat breaks down and tenderizes. That knowledge gave me an early advantage when I started competing on the BBQ circuit. I love seeing our industry evolve with new and exciting technology. All the gadgets and fancy apps will never replace experience. 

7. Television Time Doesn't Necessarily Mean Millions
I meet a lot of people that think as soon as they get on TV the money will come. If you don't have products on your website, then you're not fully capitalizing on the TV opportunity. The people in California watching the TV show are not going to travel to your restaurant across the country. It is far more likely they will buy a bottle of your sauce. That little bottle of sauce keeps your name top-of-mind long after the show has aired. Be smart and prepare for your TV moment. 
8. Be a Mentor: Do Not Lie. Don't Blow Smoke...
TV shows like BBQ Pitmasters now appear throughout the world and have created BBQ enthusiasts from all around the world to attend my classes. People come from Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Australia, and various places in South America and Europe. You have to comfortable in your abilities to teach your BBQ secrets to students. In the past, students I've taught have beaten me. Some successful competitors give BBQ technique classes but never share any real secrets. Those students leave disappointed and want their money back. Being hands-on with your process, being open with your secrets, and sharing your recent flavor experiments makes the industry better as a whole. My students that go on to win competitions and sing my praises puts money back in my pocket. 

8. Treat Fans with Respect & Give Them Your Time
If ever if I am in a grocery store sometimes I get asked to take a quick picture with a fan or asked a BBQ question. I always give people my time and respect. I think you have to treat fans with the proper courtesy, so they keep on supporting you throughout the years. If ever you find yourself in the public eye, give people your time and consideration.

Click on the "Connect & Discuss" link to start a conversation, share you own thoughts and ask questions by connecting with other NBBQA Competitor Members at the members-only NBBQA Competition BBQ Network Group on Facebook.  

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