Mark Hyman was cooking in his backyard for friends when one of them urged him to enter a barbecue competition. Hyman, of Jefferson City who works at the Dollar General Distribution Center in Fulton, decided to give it a shot and today is an award-winning barbecuer.
He competed in his first contest in the early 1990s, and out of 35 teams Hyman finished in the middle.
The next year, he entered another competition in Tipton and won first prize in the pork steak and chicken categories.
“I thought that I might be on to something,” said Hyman, who practiced on the weekends for almost 15 years—sometimes in pouring rain or falling snow— with family and friends sampling his meats and providing feedback.
Entering as many contests as he could afford, Hyman became a regular at backyard competitions and county fairs. Gradually, he competed in larger contests as he advanced his skills on the grill and smoker.
Then Hyman landed at the World Series of Barbecue – the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri where the best of the best barbecuers compete. A two-time winner of the competition, placing first overall in 2005 and 2007, he credits his success to taking meticulous notes throughout all of his years of testing.
“Whether you’re a backyard cook or a competition cook, you need to write down everything you do,” Hyman said.
Hyman wrote down any factor that could affect his barbecuing, including grill and smoker temperature, amount of fire and charcoal, type of wood, weather conditions, wind direction, seasonings and marinades. If Hyman made a mistake, he was sure not to make it again. If he cooked incredible food, he would know how to create it again.
In recent years, Hyman has been away from the competition circuit. With three children in their early 20s and late teens, he wanted to work more to put them through college.
“I wanted to step back a little bit and give my kids a life that I didn’t have,” he said.
Hyman can still be found cooking at his home and the smell of his barbecue permeates throughout the cul-de-sac. He caters events on the side and shares food with family and friends.
“Barbecuing is all about having fun,” he said.
64 ounces chicken broth
¼ cup Worestershire sauce
16 ounces Italian dressing
1 tablespoon of course ground black pepper (must be course)
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 pack of Adolph’s meat marinade
Mix the chicken and marinade in a bowl. Leave the chicken in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. When you’re ready to cook, set grill to 250 degrees and allow to reach temperature before placing on the chicken. Cook chicken for 1–1.5 hours, flipping the chicken every 15 minutes. Cook chicken until its internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Once cooked, put the chicken in a pan and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Apply sauce or glaze if desired or serve as is.
¼ cup of course ground black pepper
¼ cup granulated onion powder
¼ cup granulated garlic powder
¼ cup Lawry’s seasoning salt
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
Set the grill temperature to 275 degrees. Apply rub to chicken and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Cook chicken for 1 hour and 45 minutes, turning the chicken every 10-15 minutes. The chicken will be delicious with the rub only, but glaze can be applied after cooking if desired.
12 ounces of apricot preserves
4 ounces of honey
4 ounces of pineapple juice
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 shots of bourbon (optional)