Q&A with ESPN’s Mike Golic

If you listen to ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike In the Morning,” you know that former NFL defensive lineman Mike Golic is one half of the equation and the counterpoint to long-time “Sportscenter” anchor Mike Greenberg. While both share a passion for sports, Golic takes the role of the “man’s man” and frequently discusses his passion for food and in particular, his love for grilling out. Well, lucky for us, Golic recently teamed up with Kingsford Charcoal to promote their new and improved briquets (and their new flavors of KC Masterpiece sauce and marinade), as well as with chef Chris Lilly, who owns Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q and is an award winning barbecue chef. So we’ve got some of their special recipes on our Grub For Guys page on Bullz-Eye.com, but we also had the opportunity to interview Golic about ESPN, grilling out, and of course, football:

The Scores Report: Hey Mike, we know you love to eat and love to grill. What is your favorite KC Masterpiece new flavor and why?

Mike Golic: I’m an original flavor kind of guy – no bells or whistles needed for me. But, I’ve tried the new KC Masterpiece Smoky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce and the smoky, sweet taste gives the original flavor some good competition for best sauce.

TSR: What are your thoughts on the new briquets, and do you use your grill year round?

MG: I have a fairly busy schedule with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN analysis, and my family, but I definitely try to keep my grill fired up year-round whenever I have down-time. There is no better way to bring family and friends together than over the smokey flavors of a charcoal grill. In fact, when my boys where in high school, I used to travel to their football camps in early-August and grill for their entire teams during two-a-day workouts.

Kingsford MatchLight is my go-to charcoal – it has lighter fluid built into the briquet formula so it lights quickly and easily – which is especially convenient when I’m tailgating. I’ve heard that Kingsford briquets now light easier and faster, which I can also appreciate since I’m always crunched for time with my busy schedule.

TSR: Do you have any go-to items you like to grill for Super Bowl Sunday, or are you usually too busy working to cook that day?

MG: I will be working the whole week leading up to Super Bowl in Miami, but I’m excited to be able to go home and watch the actual game with my friends and family. But, while I’m in Miami, I will be firing up the grill with my buddy, world champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly earlier in the week. Chris has taught me quite a bit about grilling over the years and has inspired me to create a few tailgate recipes of my own. I will be demonstrating my BBQ Blitz Chicken Wraps for a few TV interviews with Chris before sharing a little tailgate with the lucky winner of the “On the Grill with Golic” sweepstakes that took place earlier this year. The recipe is attached in case your readers want to try it at home. For more great grilling recipes become a fan of Kingsford on Facebook at Facebook.com/KingsfordCharcoal.

TSR: The press notes said you have tips and recipes to share….can you give us a glimpse into that at all, or offer a recipe we can feature on Bullz-Eye.com?

MG: Since I’ve already shared my BBQ Blitz Chicken Wraps recipe, here are a few tips:

· Feeding a crowd doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are many flavorful, inexpensive cuts of meat to choose from that are ideal for serving to a large group. For example, I use chicken thighs in my wrap recipe, which is a cheaper alternative to breast meat that I actually prefer.

· Plan ahead and marinate meat before guests arrive. Try KC Masterpiece® Marinades, which can penetrate meat in as little as 30 minutes, but feel free to marinate longer for more flavor. Two to four hours works well to increase saturation and intensify taste.

· Even when cooking over a single-zone fire, leave a small space unheated so there is somewhere to move food if you have a flare-up or if something is cooking too fast. Take it from me, no one likes burned food!

TSR: In regard to what looks to be an awesome job at ESPN, is it really as much fun as it looks like, or are you constantly working?

MG: Well, I have been blessed to earn a living doing something that I love – playing football, and now talking about sports – I can’t really complain. You know that cliché saying that if you’re doing what you love then it doesn’t feel like work at all? Well, that couldn’t be more true for my “job” at ESPN – sure there are longer hours some days, but I have a passion for sports and what I do and wouldn’t trade my job for anything.

TSR: Is your ribbing and banter with Greeny more of a show or is it really how you guys are all the time?

MG: Greeny and I have a great time on and off set with each other. We are dynamically different people – everything from looks and personalities, to experiences and backgrounds – but I think that is what makes the chemistry between us so special on “Mike & Mike in the Morning.”

TSR: Which NFL team is the most pleasant surprise to you this season, and which is the biggest disappointment?

MG: I would have to say that Cincinnati surprised me the most this year – with the emergence of Cedric Benson from his woeful first few season in the league, a healthy Carson Palmer who is showing no signs of his knee injury, and Chad Ochocinco getting back to his premier status as one of the league’s most valuable receivers. And it goes without saying that this team has shown great strength through dealing with the loss of not one, but two family members this season with the passing of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s wife, and the tragic death of wide receiver Chris Henry in early December. It was a shame to see the team exit the playoff picture so early this year but I have a feeling this team will be a force to be dealt with again in the 2010 season.

As for the biggest disappointment this year, I would have to go with Chicago. With the huge off-season acquisition of Jay Cutler and what was thought to be a strong running-attack with Matt Forte, no one imagined this team falling apart the way they did.

TSR: I lived in Cleveland for ten years and my wife is from South Euclid…..I’m assuming you live near ESPN now, and if so, what are some things you miss most about Cleveland?

MG: Yes, I live in Connecticut now to be close to the studio, which was a great place to raise a family. However, I will say that I do miss having a local team to root for, as there aren’t any pro teams that represent the state that I now call home.

TSR: Did you agree with Notre Dame (Golic’s alma mater) making a coaching change and are you happy with Brian Kelly’s hire?

MG: I’ve always thought you should get five years and that’s what Charlie got, I like him as a coach very much, but the wins have to come with it – I think the Golden Domers made a great hire with Brian Kelly. The guy has a proven track record everywhere he has coached – building a Division II powerhouse at Grand Valley State with two National Championships in three years, restoring a Central Michigan program to glory with three MAC titles, and recently bringing Cincinnati to the forefront of the college football world with two Big East titles and an impressive undefeated season going into their bowl game.

Kelly is going to bring a different look to South Bend with the run and shoot, shotgun offense, and given the Notre Dame five-year coaching standard, I think he will bring the team back to national prominence.

TSR: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food item indefinitely, what would that be?

MG: Well, I would have to make one exception to your question – I would want to be stranded on a desert island with a charcoal grill with an endless supply of charcoal. As for food, I would have to go with a nice, juicy steak. I am a meat and potatoes type of guy.

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