Michael Funk spends most of his days working at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, but he has always had a passion for barbecuing. His passion has taken him into the next round of the Char Champion grill master contest.
The contest is divided into weekly voting competitions, with fewer contestants advancing each time. Contestants are competing for $5,000, a Cimarron smoker trailer from Yoder Smokers, and a spotlight cover on Barbecue News Magazine.
Funk said that his love for barbecuing took off after trying the Big Green Egg grill from Green River Appliances.
“It wasn’t until I got introduced to a Big Green Egg that I really got bit by the bug that took me to smoking meat and kind of getting into all the other kinds of dishes,” he said.
With that grill, Funk was able to spend more time perfecting his craft and learning more about the world of barbecuing.
He said he is doing the competition to meet more people in the barbecue scene and should he win, he hopes to put the money towards his craft.
Funk said he typically uses firewood grills because they provide a more consistent heat in his opinion. But with the money and the extra things that he would earn from winning, he said he would try to acquire more knowledge for other types of grills.
The first round of the competition began Monday, and Funk finished in fourth place among roughly 80 contestants.
“I think more than anything, it’s been humbling because of all the votes that people are putting in to keep me in this spot,” Funk said.
As they continue on to the next round, he said he’s excited to see more people support him through the daily votes.
The contest has a partnership where for every dollar spent, you can purchase the equivalent amount of votes. Each dollar spent will go toward the James Beard Foundation. Funk said he only knows of a couple people that have bought their vote for him.
Nonetheless, Funk said he is thankful just to be in the contest. He was able to talk to another barbecuer about lessons he’s learned, his response was passion, patience, and practice.
to further that passion,” Funk said.
To vote for Funk, click here. There is one daily vote allowed every 24 hours.