Kix Brooks approaches life with a singular motto: “I’ve never done this before, but I know I’ll be good at it.” And it’s paid off!
The former Brooks & Dunn singer parlayed his country success into an eight-year gig hosting the syndicated American Country Countdown radio show, and he’s also built an award-winning winery in Tennessee’s Arrington Vineyards – despite no prior experience in either venture. But when the country star, 59, decided he wanted to open a steakhouse, he took a different approach.
“I thought, ‘Man, how many celebrities try to build restaurants that go upside down?’ ” he tells PEOPLE. “So every now and then I take the time to scratch my head and do a little research.”
The result is Steak Out with Kix Brooks, a special airing on the Cooking Channel on Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. ET, in which Brooks visits seven acclaimed steakhouses in Chicago, Louisville and Nashville to learn the secrets of their success.
“I raise beef cattle and I love a good steak, and the one thing I realized traveling back and forth across the country for the last 25 years is that it doesn’t matter if you’re in Chicago or some little town in west Texas, you ask somebody where you can get a good steak and everybody lights up and has their answer ready,” Brooks says. “It’s an American thing. It’s not just a place to eat but also sort of a community center and it’s something all communities seem to take real pride in.”
Brooks spent four days on the road visiting – and feasting – at Nashville’s The Standard, the Cork and Cow in nearby Franklin, Tennessee, Louisville’s Jeff Ruby and the Cattleman’s Roadhouse, and three famous spots in Chicago: Gibson’s, Chicago Cut and Zed 451. He picked up seasoning tips (“Most of us have our favorite marinade, but almost all of these chefs just salt and pepper their steak and cook it and the sauces came later,” he shares), and ideas for his own future steakhouse (“A really cool bar sets the mood for everyone who is eating,” he says). And despite all that eating, he insists he was none the worse the wear after many, many days of red meat.
“I just eat the hell out of steak,” he says. “It’s never been a problem so far – I guess I’ll keep going until it is!”