On a sunlit Wednesday afternoon in early December, Myron Mixon sits at a wooden picnic table on the back patio of the new Wynwood barbecue joint Pride and Joy. His long white hair is pushed away from his fleshy face. His thick beard is speckled with dark whiskers. His black short-sleeved shirt fits snugly around his proud, round belly, hinting at a love of whole hogs and brisket sandwiches dipped in au jus. In the distance, the sweet smell of burning wild cherrywood wafts across the restaurant's 220-seat indoor dining room.
"These girls are looking skinny!" he says in a lilting Georgia accent to a passing waiter while referring to my colleague and me. "Get me an order of the baby-back mac 'n' cheese." Judging by the amount of food he's ordered, it appears he's intent on wheelbarrowing us out of the place, which has been open only about a month.
A few minutes later, a bowl of piping-hot, buttery mac 'n' cheese arrives. The creamy pasta is laced with rich slivers of meat, which are shredded from fatty, smoked baby-back ribs. After one bite, our mouths curve into wide grins. This is delicious Americana.
Then, with a pounding thud, Mixon plants his right fist on the table. On his ring finger rests an oversize gold band. It is engraved with the words World Champion and a sketch of a hog, whose body displays the phrase Good Stuff.
"Kiss the ring, girls," he says with a deep chuckle. "Then go tell 'em other Miami barbecue joints to change their menus and shut their doors. 'Cause once you had the best, ain't no need screwing with the rest."