“There’s so much knowledge out there now,” Mixon says of how the barbecue scene flourished in the age of the internet and reality shows. “It was never, ever intended to be on this level. When those TV shows hit” they made the industry bigger, stronger, and better -- even if, he admits, “we were winning way more easily” in the ’00s. Of course back then the Mixons were competing in 40 to 50 BBQ festivals a year, so there were more victories to be had.
The spread of knowledge has also accelerated the cuisine’s development. What wins a competition one month might no longer be in vogue at the next big competition that year.
“Flavor profiles? Let me tell you something,” says Mixon, “you have to be cooking every weekend or you’re gonna get rusty. It changes week in, week out. It’s hard for me to predict the next form of evolution.”