Slow cookers are great and all, but they’re also torture.

For a Fourth of July party Thursday, my wife made shredded chicken in the crock pot, starting the process Wednesday night. I awoke around 1 a.m., literally because the chicken smelled really good. I managed to get back to sleep, but then woke up a couple of hours later after a dream about eating chicken.

Then, I had to go about my morning with the delicious smell of chicken continuing to fill the house. And, of course, I could only have a couple of samples before that party. That was probably a good thing, because I would have pulled a Joey Chestnut and eaten all of it before anyone else got a chance to taste it.

Anyway, the chicken was delicious (naturally) and the party was fun. Hopefully y’all had a great Fourth of July, too.

Here are your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:


Fourth of July cookouts are always great, but are they the best? Which holidays have the best cookouts?

As you well know, the best cookouts are the ones hosted by the best chefs, cooks or barbecue masters. So, naturally, the food is the star. But all things equal, which holiday has the best cookouts?

I’ll rank the three major “summer” holidays, which are the ones most synonymous with cooking out and spending time with friends and family outside. But please, feel free to sound off in the comments section with some underrated cookout days!

  1. Fourth of July — Fireworks, food, friends and family. What could be better? Independence Day is the perfect day for a cookout, and there’s Wimbledon, MLB action and the Hot Dog Eating Contest on TV. Then, when the sun finally goes down, it’s time for fireworks!
  2. Labor Day — September weather is often some of the best, and this year, Labor Day weekend falls during Week 2 of the college football season. That gives it an added boost, since it’s a great excuse to bring a TV outside or project a game up on the side of your house while you grill.
  3. Memorial Day — Still a great weekend for cooking out, but it’s still technically spring, so you have to be mindful of the weather. There’s no football on, but there is baseball, which is nice. It’s also seen as the official kickoff to summer, so there’s always a celebratory mood.

Again, you can’t go wrong when you have your friends and family gathered around eating delicious meat (or even grilled veggies) and enjoying each other’s company.


Which SEC quarterback do you think would win a hot dog eating competition against the other SEC quarterbacks?

On Thursday, Joey Chestnut defended his Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest title, winning for the 12th time total and downing 71 dogs in 10 minutes. That was just shy of his world record of 74 hot dogs, set in 2018.

While none of the SEC quarterbacks would be able to challenge that record, I would still love to see the 14 starters compete in an eating contest. My pick for a winner, though, has a little bit to do with his size, but also his last name.

I’ll take Florida QB Feleipe Franks (get it, Franks? Frankfurter? Clever, right?). At 6-6 and weighing in at 240 pounds, he’s the biggest SEC quarterback out there. That doesn’t necessarily translate to competitive eating (as many of the top non-Chestnut eaters are actually small guys), but it doesn’t hurt, either.

Give me Georgia’s Jake Fromm in second place. He’s a guy who probably knows his way around a southern Fourth of July cookout.


With all the insanity in NBA Free Agency — Kawhi and Kevin and Kyrie (Oh my!) and so many more — which of this year’s SEC draft picks are in the best situations?

It has been a crazy week in the NBA, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving going to the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Knicks getting no one, the Philadelphia 76ers loading up on talent and other teams making big-name additions to prepare for the 2019-20 season. Meanwhile, we still wait for Kawhi Leonard’s decision, which is one that could shape the NBA for years to come.

That said, there are some interesting players entering the league from the SEC. In total, 12 former SEC stars heard their names called during the draft. But, who is in the best position after all the early free agency action? I’ll give you my top three:

  1. Tyler Herro, Miami — The self-proclaimed “bucket” ended up with the Heat. Not only will he get to enjoy the South Beach lifestyle, he’ll also get to play alongside Jimmy Butler, who lands in Miami after a sign-and-trade deal with the 76ers. Herro will likely start the year on the Heat’s second unit, but with his skills, expect him to find a bigger role quickly, particularly in crunch time.
  2. Nic Claxton, Brooklyn — The Nets are bringing in Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan this offseason (though Durant will miss the 2019-20 season with an injury). This is an exciting team that made a lot of moves. Claxton, a big man out of Georgia, will be an interesting player for them. He can learn a lot from Jordan, and should be a valuable member of the Nets’ second unit.
  3. Keldon Johnson, San Antonio — Johnson had to wait a little longer than expected to hear his name called, but the 29th overall pick lands in a great situation in San Antonio. The former Kentucky star will get to work with legendary coach Gregg Popovich and will have a chance to get immediate playing time. The Spurs have Bryn Forbes slotted in as their starting small forward, so Johnson could take that spot as the season wears on.

Those are the top guys as things stand right now. However, there are still a few months until the season tips off, so we’ll see what happens between now and then.


How many years in a row will Kentucky beat Florida now? Thirty-plus?

I love the optimism here, but I think the Wildcats are going to have a tough time extending their winning streak over the Gators to 2 years in a row, let alone 30. Yes, they snapped Florida’s 31-year winning streak in 2018, but Florida is loaded heading into 2019.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, are trying to replace guys like RB Benny Snell Jr., LBs Josh Allen and Jordan Jones and S Mike Edwards. Those were some generational talents for Kentucky, so they’ll need to improve in a hurry to avoid a major dropoff.

The good news for Kentucky fans is that this year’s game against the Gators is in Lexington, giving the Wildcats a home-field advantage. The other good news? The game comes in Week 3, so perhaps the Wildcats can surprise the Gators before they settle into a groove.

While I won’t be picking the Wildcats to upset Florida this year, I do expect this rivalry to become much closer in the years to come. Mark Stoops is doing a great job at Kentucky and I don’t think Florida will be putting up many double-digit win streaks against the Wildcats anytime soon.

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