The contest will be held April 27 in Amelia Island, Fla.
The NMCC consists of three rounds. For each round, contestants are given 30 to 40 pounds of meat consisting of one ribeye, one filet and two sirloins to cut to strict specifications in 1 hour and 15 minutes. These specifications include fat content, length and weight of each type of meat.
Barrios has already made Marietta proud by taking wins in the categories of filet and sirloin during the first round, which was Aug. 29 in Calera, Ala. He competed against eight other meat cutters from Alabama and Georgia.
Barrios is moving on to the second round, which will be in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 25. He feels confident and trusts that his nine years of experience will serve him well in the competition. His manager, Gregg McDermott, and manager-in-training, Charles McMillan, call him “a legend” and say they have to remind Barrios not to be modest about his skills.
This is by no means Barrios’ first time competing; he actually has placed second three straight years in the NMCC. He tells himself this is his year to take first place. He readies himself by pretending each normal day at work is a competition.
Barrios gets tons of practice, especially on weekends when he can work with around 800 to 1,000 pounds of meat, the equivalent of two and a half steers’ yield, in just three days.
Before Barrios became a professional meat cutter, he was a busboy. Soon after starting his new meat-cutter position, he said he fell in love with the job. He may be the only meat cutter at his restaurant, which can be stressful at times, but he enjoys being responsible for producing the quality hand-cut steaks for which Texas Roadhouse is known.
The 38-degree room in which Barrios cuts his meat helps keep him cool under pressure, so cold you can see your breath as if it was a winter day. While he works, Barrios said he likes to jam out to rock or Latin music. It helps him focus.
Armed with his well-sharpened knives like a knight going into battle, Barrios strives to cut only perfect steaks for his customers’ sake.