The Tar Heels visit Duke on Wednesday, and that can only mean one thing: Mac’s on Tuesday.

Let me explain.

I don’t hate North Carolina barbeque –- but I don’t love it, either.

Oh sure, there are a few must-stops, such as The Pit in Raleigh and B’s Barbeque in Greenville. But unless the restaurant gets it juuusssttt right, I’m not a huge fan of the vinegar-based sauce for which the area is known.

Thankfully, I have good friends like Derek and Makayla Samson, who introduced me to a little slice of heaven called Mac’s Speed Shop.

With two locations in Charlotte –- I prefer the original on South Blvd. –- Mac’s is so good that, on lonely evenings, I call up its menu on the web and fantasize about my next trip.

For a boy who grew up in Texas and lives in Kansas City, that’s sayin’ something.

One of the best things about Mac’s is that they let you sauce your own meat. The vinegary stuff is there if you want it, but a thicker red sauce is available, too. Heck, even if you went dry, the brisket, ribs and pulled pork are flavorful enough to make you forget about the bottles of sauce lurking next to your iced tea.

I’ve been to Mac’s twice now, and on each occasion, I ordered the only acceptable item for a newcomer –- the inappropriately-named “A Little Bit of it All.” Seriously, this is false advertising. The words “Little Bit” shouldn’t be associated with this entrée.

By the time I finish my mountain of pulled pork, two pieces of chicken, a thick slice of brisket and a mess of ribs -– not to mention two side items and Texas toast -– the only thing “little” are the breaths I take as I attempt to gather myself by circling the table with my hands clasped on top of my head.

(Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that last month, Derek, Makayla and I split chicken wings before our main course, and by split I mean that they had one wing each and I had eight.)

Ahem, what was I saying? Oh yeah, I would gladly chip in an extra five bucks for an oxygen tank and a wheelchair to haul me out to my rental car. Instead the price of “A Little Bit of it All” comes out to a whoppin’ $16. I haven’t stumbled across a bargain that good since I bought Mark McGwire’s Olympic Topps rookie card for a quarter at a garage sale back in junior high school.

I’d love to be able to tell you about some of the other things on Mac’s menu, such as the Brunswick stew, the brisket tacos or hand-pulled smoked turkey that looked as tender as a mother’s love. But something tells me I’ll always get that combo platter during my return visits to Mac’s. Just thinking about it is getting me excited.

Maybe it’s time to move to Charlotte.

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Maybe the only person I know who travels more than I do is Charissa Thompson. Any avid sports fan is surely familiar with Charissa, whose resume includes work with Fox Sports Net, The Big Ten Network, NFL Network and NHL on Versus. Last fall, Charissa joined the team at Yahoo! Sports, where she hosts video segments such as this one with me and Greg Anthony.

Along with being one of the most talented people in her industry, Charissa is also regarded as one of the nicest. That made her the perfect fit for the "King of the Road’s" inaugural installment of "Things You Didn’t Know About …" Hope you enjoy. Here's Charissa:

I am currently homeless! I’ve lived in hotels since October. All of my belongings are in storage.

I have at least two coffees a day –- usually iced! No matter what temperature it is outside.

I hate when you’re on a flight and people jump up the second the "ding" goes off when you pull up to the gate. If you’re in a front row seat, fine. But if you’re in 32F, relax! You’re not going anywhere for a while.

I used to throw the javelin.

I sponsor a little girl in Cambodia. I help her with food, clothing and school costs.

I have a glove obsession. I’ll buy tons of pairs of gloves and never wear them.

My guilty TV pleasure is Real Housewives on Bravo. The ladies are pure comedy. They make me feel better about myself because they’re whack jobs!

If I wasn’t in the sports profession, I’d want to be a school teacher or a psychologist.

I have to take a shower every night before I go to bed! No matter how tired I am. And I always take a shower after I get off planes. Slightly shower-obsessed -– a little OCD in that way.

I could live off edamame and chicken.

I always put my left shoe on first, then my right.

I love, love, love Australian licorice –- the strawberry flavor, especially the one from Trader Joe’s.

Larry David is my homeboy!

I love politics and am fascinated with Jackie O. I secretly wanted to be her.

For Halloween I have been every character from the Wizard of Oz. It’s my favorite movie.

I used to get up at 6 a.m. before high school started to shoot hoops in my neighborhood. My dad would come out and rebound for me. I wanted to be the female Michael Jordan. There were girls on my high school team that were 6-foot-5 and 6-7.

My prized possession is a football signed by Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr and Y.A. Tittle.

I always set my alarm an hour earlier than I need to get up, so I start my day smiling knowing I
still have an hour left to sleep.

My mom and dad are only 52 and have four grandkids. They had my sister at a very young age. Not encouraged by my mother -– but luckily they are still happily married.

I am scared of potato bugs.

I never had a "blankie" growing up, but want one now!

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After more than three years at Yahoo! Sports, I can tell you just about anything you need to know about college basketball.

And hot wings.

I can hold my own in a conversation about the Bowl Championship Series, but I’m even better when it comes to barbeque. Week after week, readers request opinions on All-American candidates, coaching vacancies and NCAA tournament bubble teams.

But just as many ask me to list my Top 10 burger joints and sandwich shops.

Consider it done.

Because I’m on the road almost constantly, it would be selfish not to offer my impressions of some of the fine – and not so fine – establishments I visit as well as telling stories about the folks I meet along the way.

Whether it’s a plea for dining advice in New York City, pictures and a review of the massive burrito I took down in San Diego or a travel log of my visit to Austin, you’ll be hearing from me multiple times throughout the week.

If you’re lucky, I may even throw in a video interview with a spunky waitress from South Beach or a Q-and-A with my favorite bartender. It all depends on the demand. As much as this blog is about me, it’s also about you.

As big of a presence as food will have, “King of the Road” won’t be limited to the kitchen. I spend quite a bit of time in Las Vegas each year – and even more time thinking about it – so there will be plenty discussions about the nightlife and pool scene in Sin City. I’ll give you an intimate look into March Madness by blogging about the people, events and goings-on at the NCAA tournament. And don’t be surprised if I end up at the pro wrestling fanfest this summer in Atlanta.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to read about the Million Dollar Man and Kamala?

A few things you should know: I live in Kansas City but grew up in Dallas. I’m proud to be a native Texan. I prefer burgers shacks, taco stands and Miller Lite over sushi, salmon and wine. Most times I’m just as content at Texas Roadhouse as I am at Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris.

Considering I’ve actually judged contests, I’ve also deemed myself connoisseur of hot wings. Still haven’t found any better than the ones at the Watering Hole in Lincoln, Nebraska.

My heroes are Nolan Ryan and Adam Richman and, other than Man vs. Food, my favorite TV shows are Friday Night Lights and Kendra. I grew up watching as much old school wrestling as I did the Dallas Cowboys, so I was just as big of a fan of Bruiser Brody and the Fabulous Freebirds as I was of Troy Aikman and the Dallas Cowboys.

I’m also big on exercise, sports bars and Chevy Chase, so you’ll understand why I measure myself with other golfers by height.

With that, I hope you enjoy traveling with the King of the Road. This column is for you, so feedback and suggestions are not only welcomed, but encouraged. Feel free to let me know if I’m steering off course. I can always change direction.

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