Why master the football field when you could master the barbecue pit?

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
June 10, 2019
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As all Southerners know, barbecue is a competitive sport. At Burnet High School in Burnet, Texas, about 35 miles from Georgetown, it's also a varsity team sport.

With spatulas and aprons replacing helmets and shoulder pads, Burnet's UnderDAWGS team is committed to the study and craft of barbecue. Recently CBS This Morning took an inside look at the barbecue team, which is one of 102 such teams across the state of Texas. Like soccer or basketball, these teams compete in tournaments throughout the year, honing their skills and chef knives along the way. Last year, the UnderDAWGS were regional champions, and came in eleventh in the statewide tournament.

"You don't have to be the biggest kid. You don't have to be the smartest kid. You don't have to be the richest kid," Chef Mike Erickson, who coaches the team, told CBS This Morning. "And you can go to the Houston Livestock Rodeo or our state championship and win… And for some young people, that's...it's a dream."

Of course, the devoted students are in it to win it, but there's something more that lures them to grill: "I enjoy our teamwork and the stuff that we do as a barbecue team. It's a lot of fun," one student told CBS This Morning. "I get the same feel as with football. The difference is it's more personal."

Watch the full video segment below.

Meanwhile, over in Forney Independent School District, outside of Dallas, high schoolers are busy at work making custom smokers. So whoever thinks all aspects of barbecue are reserved for the 18 and older set, is clearly is underestimating things.

WATCH: Five Best Cities for Barbecue in America

Congrats to Chef Mike Erickson and his UnderDAWGS team members. We hope you have another enriching and tasty year ahead of you.

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