On the professional barbecue stage, entrepreneur Megan Day is reigning queen, bringing Kansas City-style barbecue to national TV audiences. Together, she and her husband, Jason Day, comprise the husband-wife competition team Burnt Finger BBQ, whose barbecue and business savvy have propelled the couple to the forefront of the industry and Megan to Food Network stardom.
Since it’s founding in 2008, Burnt Finger BBQ has racked up countless awards on the competition barbecue circuit, including numerous state championships, first place chicken at the prestigious American Royal World Series of Barbecue, and overall top 10 finishes at both the American Royal and World Food Championships. Jason’s signature recipe, Bacon Explosion™, was catapulted into viral stardom by a front-page feature in the New York Times. Megan was the darling of Food Network’s Chopped Grill Masters Season 4 by winning her preliminary round and besting all other pitmasters in the series finale.
Jason and Megan are regularly seen promoting barbecue on local and national television, including appearances on Fox & Friends, CNN, TODAY Show, Food Network, and many more. When not touring the pro barbecue circuit, Jason and Megan spend their time teaching, consulting, promoting their line of products, and creating content for their website, www.bbqaddicts.com.
The duo will be hosting a BBQ demonstration Friday, July 20, from 12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., exclusively at the AAMP Convention in Kansas City.
AAMP interviewed Megan for a look into their lifestyle and what convention attendees can expect at their demo.
How did you both get your start?
Jason, a life-long Missouri resident, was raised on KC-style BBQ; it’s in his blood. Jason would grill meats for friends in his dorm room, and later, upgrading to a smoker in his college house backyard. After he proposed, we decided to gather a group of friends together to form a competition team. The weekend after we returned from our honeymoon, Jason and friends entered their first BBQ contest. Instant success and a desire to compete more and more drew me into the fold as event coordinator and helper. About five years in, I started taking on ancillary categories such as dessert and sides. I was soon hooked and started playing a bigger role in recipe development on the competition meat side. By 2013, we were making a name for ourselves as a prominent husband and wife team.
How did you come up with the name Burnt Finger BBQ for your business?
When Jason would cook BBQ for friends, they would gather around and eat platefuls of meat (forget the sides, they wanted the meat). Some brave souls even tried to snag the meat right off the smoker or grill… It’s so good you’ll gladly burn your finger to get the first bite. Thus, Burnt Finger BBQ was born.
How often do you tour and compete?
Once we took over the team in 2013, we started hitting an average of 20 contests a year. The goal for 2018 is to reduce the number of contests and focus on competing in some of the biggest world championships, while hitting a few bucket list contests along the way. National television appearances are keeping our travel schedule busy as well.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Every single week, fun new requests, collaborations, and appearance opportunities are popping in. We love being ambassadors of live-fire cooking and the world of food sport. Finding new ways to engage and represent the sport we love makes for a deeply passionate workday. We are living the BBQ dream and sharing it with friends, family, and our two small children.
How do you continue to find inspiration for new products?
Our wonderful fans encourage us to bring high-quality BBQ products to the marketplace. As a competition team, without a restaurant, Burnt Finger BBQ has to find innovative ways to get our food, sauces, and seasonings into the hands of the people who appreciate KC-style BBQ.
What do you think are some takeaways AAMP convention attendees will learn from your demo?
Competition food sport is all bout the details – from sourcing meat to understanding equipment. Incredible care is taken to develop a competition cook plan and executing those steps to ensure the cook can be consistent, repeatable, and timely. Anyone can cook an entry. True competition pitmasters can time the cook so that the meat is done, rested, carved, meticulously displayed, and presented to the judges during a specific window of time. And then repeat that same process for three more meats for back-to-back turn-ins. It is thrilling!