MANNFORD, Okla. — They might start with raw hamburger.
“It looks like raw meat with worms in it,” says 6-year-old Ryker Collier.
“It doesn’t have worms in it son,” cautions Ryker’s father William Collier.
But William is busy with molding his son into a champion barbecuer.
Dad started competing when he got back from an Army deployment a few years ago.
“So I went and tried barbecue for the first time,” he recalls.
Ryker kept wanting to come along to cook-offs so he put him to work.
“We were in El Reno last year,” recalls dad on Ryker’s first competition.
As soon as he was old enough father entered son in ‘Kids Q’ contests when they were available.
Ryker’s specialty is hamburger, specifically, meatballs.
Dad is still coach and extra watchful around the grill.
But it was Ryker who pressed with the idea of incorporating his favorite drink when it came time to braise his recipe.
William says, “He ended up pouring his Dr. Pepper in there and the recipe was born.”
A freshly opened can of Dr. Pepper pours over the meat after browning.
Ryker puts a home-made sauce on a little later.
It doesn’t take long for the whole neighborhood to drift a little closer for a sample bite.
Ryker’s barbecue trophies occupy the living room floor with barbecue tongs and a little sister who looks like she might enjoy a meatball right away.
Ryker is only 6, just out of kindergarten, but he’s holding his own against much older Kid Q competition.
William isn’t doing so bad either.
He’s currently ranked 3rd by the Oklahoma Barbecue Society.
Last year he scooped up an invite to the World Steak Cook-off in Fort Worth, Texas.
“It was just me and him,” says William. “We went down to the World Championship.”
Father teaching son makes a nice looking picture this close to Father’s Day.
“I love him,” smiles dad, “And I love him to do all the stuff I do.”
It’s also nice when that picture ends up tasting good too.
The Dead Bird Barbecue Team has a Facebook page.
Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union.