As half of the legendary country music duo Brooks & Dunn, Kix Brooks has spent decades hunting down good meals while crisscrossing the country. Eventually, he realized his happily earned gustatory knowledge (Brooks is also co-owner of Tennessee’s Arrington Vineyards) might benefit his fans — and fans of a tasty piece of beef and a good glass of the grape to wash it down with — as well.
“Jumping off a tour bus, somebody’d always be hanging around the bus and you’d ask, ‘Hey, where can you get a good steak around here?’ I realized everybody’s got some 30-minute story about their local steak house and why they’re proud of it and how great the food is,” says Brooks. “I thought, ‘Now wouldn’t this kinda be a fun travel/cooking show?” The result is Cooking Channel’s Steak Out with Kix Brooks now airing Tuesday nights.
Brooks says that even grill masters will learn something new from the people and places he’ll introduce on Steak Out.
“That was my biggest question going into this — are there really that many ways to cook a steak that this going to continue to be interesting?” he explains. “I came out of it with the answer to my question — absolutely. Every chef has his own take on that. A lot of times it’s all about the sauce. They start with a great piece of meat, salt and pepper. You cook it the right way, just like we know at home, but instead of buying some sauce at the grocery store and pouring it on there, I learned a lot about how to cook down different things and come up with your own great sauces, which is a lot of fun.
“For me, it’s a show about discovery — not just where our great steakhouses are in America, but also for those of us who like to cook a piece of meat to learn a little something,” Brooks continues. “Chefs are a lot like musicians. We’re all just trying to make stuff up that makes people happy, and excites people. It’s like writing a great song — you can’t wait to share it with somebody and see their reaction.”
We asks Brooks to cook up some answers to our 7 Questions.
1) If your TV only carried three shows or television networks, which ones would you choose?
Cooking Channel of course. Gotta see my new steak show! Probably CNN because I’m a news freak. And CMT because I gotta stay in touch with my hillbillies!
2) What are three things you must always have in your refrigerator or your pantry?
In my fridge there’s always going to be ginger beer because I love a Moscow Mule in the afternoon. Yogurt and berries — got to have my breakfast. And skim milk for my coffee.
3) Tell us about your most memorable fan encounter?
Not to get too heavy, but a young medic, named Jessica Ellis who met me backstage when I was in Iraq, just really made an impression on me with her and a bunch of her medic nurse buddies. I received a letter from one of her friends the next year that she’d been killed in action. That’s a memory that always sticks with me. I’ve stayed in touch with her parents and I wear her killed in action bracelet. I’ll wear it for the rest of my life to remind me that that stuff’s real and they’re still over there doing it.
4) Tell us about a time that you yourself were starstruck?
Willie Nelson! Or even Merle Haggard, who I just admire so much, was on tour with Ronnie and I in 2010, our last tour, and got to hang out. Willie Nelson is still to me just bigger than life and has an aura around him that makes it hard for me to carry on a normal conversation with him.
5) Do you remember the first record you ever bought with your own money and where you bought it?
I think it was “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones. At Stan’s Record Store. Stan the man in Shreveport!
6) Tell us me a little bit about the shows with Reba in Las Vegas. They sound like a country music fan’s dream.
Man, it has been so much fun! You’d expect me to say that, but we just finished our first run and it was all sold out. We’ve just got a great band and are having a great time on stage and every night it’s just a little bit different. We’ve gotta play those songs that we know fans are gonna want to hear, but outside of that, there’s a lot of grins going on. It’s kind of a dream gig for us because we don’t have to travel every night. We’ll be back in December for the first two weeks during rodeo finals, and looking forward to it.
7) What’s it like looking out over that sea of faces know how long they have been coming to see you and singing every word of your songs and Reba’s songs?
I just feel like Peter Pan because I haven’t gotten any older and it’s been going on for so long! [Laughs] I just look in the mirror every morning and I can’t believe I’m still this pretty.
New episodes of Steak Out with Kix Brooks premiere Tuesday nights at 9ET/6PT on Cooking Channel.
Photo/video: Cooking Channel