For those confused about the concept, what exactly is a Meat Fight?
Meat Fight is a barbecue competition that benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and people living with MS.
Why the MS Society?
In 2010, my brother was diagnosed with MS. So we decided to make a backyard party we had thrown the year before into a charity event to support that cause.
That’s how it started, just in your backyard?
Yes, in fact my husband and I had gone to a friend’s house, and he made us the best brisket we’d had in our lives. And because we are lazy, we were like, How do we get that brisket at our house? So we don’t even have to leave our house to eat it? We decided to have a barbecue competition in our backyard. And because we are fully committed to things, we named it Meat Fight so that people would think it was a thing before it was a thing. The next year, when we did it in support of the MS Society, we had 70 people in my backyard and raised $2,000.
And last year?
We had 750 people in a big, dirty green warehouse in Trinity Groves, and we raised $100,000. Tickets were $95 for general admission, and we sold out of those online in six minutes. VIP tickets sold out in 15 minutes.
What is the first rule of Meat Fight?
It should be that you don’t talk about Meat Fight.
But we are talking about it right now, and we are going to print these words in a magazine, so we’re breaking that rule pretty badly.
I know. I need a better first rule for Meat Fight. Chicken is a vegetable? That’s a rule.
How do you get some of the fanciest, best chefs in town to participate in this silly thing?
That goes back to the first year that we decided to make it a public event, in 2012. We hoped to get four chefs. When I called people and asked if they would compete, every single person immediately said yes. I just kept asking. We got 12 chefs that year—well, 11 and Jack Perkins. It was shocking to us. We’ve only had one or two people say they couldn’t do it [a second time around], and usually it’s like, “Oh, Matt McCallister has to go meet Jacques Pépin in France that day.”
This year you have a great lineup of teams, four of them with four chefs each. How do they get formed?
We name team captains, and then they draft their teams, like kickball.
Who got chosen last this year?
No way, sir.
What’s new this year?
The Meat Midway will be back but with different games. Aaron Franklin, Barbecue Jesus, will be back to judge. And we’ll have a theme this year. It’ll be Merry Meatmas. It’s a holiday now. We will have Meatmas Eve the night before,
for the chefs. Meat Santa will be in
attendance. There will be a bacon sleigh. And there will be meat elves.
You won a James Beard Award for humor writing in 2013, for work you did in the Dallas Observer. How much has that completely changed your life?
It’s been really cool. When I wear that award to Taco Bell, the service I get is so much better. You just notice it immediately.
To wrap up, I would like you to come up with your own question and answer it.
F— you. Do your job. [laughs]
That’s not a question at all! That’s profanity.
My own question? F— you. There’s my question and answer!
Meat Fight is November 15. Tickets go on sale October 5 at 10 am. For more info, go to Meatfight.com.