A restaurant owner in Missouri’s tourism capital of Branson is being called the world’s number one barbecue cook.

His restaurant is called “Gettin Basted”, and the cook was given the honor by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, which provides oversight to hundreds of competitions and is the largest competitive barbecue organization in the world.

“Gettin Basted” owner, former college football player Brad Leighninger, says he’s been in 50 barbecue competitions this year, with one more to go. He shared the technique that he says makes him a stand-out.

“You always here low and slow, low and slow…we don’t do that,” said Leighninger.  “We cook hot and fast. We get everything done in about a 3rd of the time as everyone else, and I think that turns out a superior product.  That’s what we do at the restaurants, do at the competition circuit, and it’s definitely the new thing in barbecue now.”

Leighninger explains how a college football player goes from competing on the grid to the grill?  “You eat a lot and you cook a lot ..and you get out of shape..and then you realize you still want to compete,” Leighninger joked.

It all started back in 2012 when Leighninger’s friend dropped out of the “Rockin Ribs” competition in Springfield and asked him to step in. Leighninger and his brother-in-law went in together.

“We ended up doing really well,” Leighninger said.  “We won $1000 and a trip to Las Vegas, by cooking potato salad of all things.  It wasn’t even a barbecue. It was potato salad.  Then in the meat categories, we did really well. We ended up finishing 7th overall, out of about 70 or 80 teams that day.  And for better or worse, we were pretty much sucked in at that point.”

“Gettin Basted” manager Sterling McGregor told KOLR-TV the best part of his job is nibbling on the food.  “The food, by far. Get to snack on it all day long. I mean pay for it all day long.. of course,” said McGregor.

Leighninger has one more competition to go before the year is out.  He’s currently ranked at number one, with just one point ahead of second place.

(Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV provided this report)