Cooks barbecue for family, chance to win cook-off (video)
By BY KELDY ORTIZ - KORTIZ@VICAD.COM
Feb. 22, 2013 at 7 p.m.
Updated Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:23 p.m.
Barbecuing is Ken Cox's passion, and he's not shy about showing it off.
On weekends, he'll call over friends and spend a few hours cooking chicken and brisket.
"When we get together, we can feed the whole neighborhood," Cox joked. "It's a lot of fun for everyone who is involved."
Saturday, Cox along with teammates Jeff Means and Dave Macha will cook for a chance to claim top prize during the Victoria Livestock Show cook-off.
The three are ready for the challenge.
They started shopping Wednesday, collecting what they will make. Combined, they plan to cook 25 pounds of brisket, 20 pounds of ribs, 10 to 15 pounds of fajitas and beans.
"It's a joint effort," said Cox. "We're here to have a good time to feed our friends."
Cox has competed in the cook-off for the last three years. He has also participated in as many as nine other cook-offs.
It's a hobby Cox stumbled into, said his wife Monett Cox.
Fifteen years ago Cox purchased a barbecue pit and the hobby grew from there.
Over the years he has upgraded to a bigger one he built to hold more food.
Churches have asked to use the pit. He has even cooked for church events.
But in 2010, the competitive bug hit.
"(Ken) submitted beans for a cook-off," said his wife. "He won, and that was when the bug bit him."
Cox, Means and Macha said they don't use any secret ingredients when it comes to cook-offs. Sometimes, they'll make two pieces of chicken with different seasoning.
"One of them is your taster," said Means. "We let people try our food. We get judged before we turn it in."
Cox's wife said she has no doubts about how involved he is in when it comes to cook-offs and times he has spent working on the pit.
"At times, I called it the money pit," she said, as she mentions he has spent nearly $3,000 on the pit changing it twice.
But Cox said he doesn't take cook-offs as seriously as people think.
When shopping for food to prepare, he takes time to look at the meat, making sure it's as fresh as possible.
Saturday, Cox said, will be a day with family and friends. Winning for his cooking skills is not a priority, he said. He enjoys the looks on people's faces as they eat his food.
"When we see people smacking their lips, that's our enjoyment," he said. "That's our grand champion."