Give InsideGOLF and get 25% off a membership for you
Chance Cozby of ‘3 Pieces of Pecan’ fame.
Chance Cozby appears on screen, wide grin on his face, hands on either side of his large flat-top griddle, sporting a blue long-sleeve t-shirt with the logo of his son’s baseball team. He lays out the day’s assignment.
“It’s Saturday morning,” he says in the video, “and I’m making breakfast burritos for 30.”
Over the next minute and 24 seconds, mouthwatering images fly across the screen. Four pounds of bacon sizzle, corner to corner. Six dozen eggs cascade across the griddle. Two pounds of shredded cheese tumble over the top. Cozby’s Oklahoma drawl connects the shots with simple, staccato directions.
“Take some of that bacon grease and ladle it over the top.”
“Hit ’em: salt and pepper.”
“Chop up your bacon.”
“Drop a spoonful of that goodness down. Tuck it. Wrap it.”
The camera follows the process as bacon, potatoes, eggs, green chiles and cheese get mixed, wrapped in heated tortillas and dropped in immensely satisfying fashion in a large foil container. We see the baseball team post-practice, eagerly grabbing a burrito two at a time. They gather together for a taste and a review:
“That’s damn good!”
The “total views” number shows up in the lower left. 14.1 million.
At home in Scottsdale, Ariz., Cozby shakes his head.
“I did not see this in my future at all,” he says.
This time two years ago he was just a dad who liked to cook. Okay, nobody is just a dad — maybe that’s one of the lessons here — but Cozby was a golf industry vet and content family man with no delusions of grandeur nor fame. But he sure did like to cook.
For Cozby’s family, as for many others around the world, 2020 had meant extra time at home. That meant plenty of at-home cooking for Chance, his wife Erica and their sons, Campbell and Catcher. After months seeing what came out of the kitchen, Chance’s son Catcher had an idea: it was time to put his dad’s cooking out for public consumption.
The first video was posted on New Year’s Eve of 2021; Chance’s brother had gotten him a bourbon smoking kit. Catcher agreed to make a video. The second video was also fun, if not exactly viral — they lit their Christmas tree on fire. But a brand hadn’t yet emerged.
Their experimentation continued with a few beauty-style cooking videos, attempting to make tasty food look good. Those were fun, too. But Catcher, playing producer, decided it was time to switch things up.
“You’ve gotta go on camera,” he told his dad.
Chance obliged. He went in front of the screen for the next edition, touting “roasted broccoli even your kids will eat.” That got some run.
“Still, we weren’t even trying. There was no agenda, no goal. We were just having fun,” he says.
Then came the salsa video, pitting his own recipe against one he’d seen elsewhere on TikTok.
“We posted it and then we went to a barbecue and a couple hours later my son came over and goes, ‘I think we got something,’” Chance says. “I go, ‘What’s that?’
“He said, ‘the salsa video has a million views after two hours.’”
Part 2 of Salsa taste test. I have seen this recipe a lot on TikTok #salsarecipe #spicysalsa #mexicanrecipe #homemadesalsa #mexicanfood #fyp
Chance Cozby grew up in Oklahoma as an avid golfer in an avid golfing family. His father Jerry had grown up as a talented player in West Texas and went on to become a big-time golf pro at Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville, just north of Tulsa. He was head pro there for 41 years, earning the 1985 PGA Professional of the Year award while raising a family with his wife Karole. Jerry is in the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame as well as the PGA of America Hall of Fame.
Chance describes a family that liked to cook and liked to play golf. His mother taught him the ins and outs of cooking while his father taught the grilling and smoking.
He learned to play golf, too. He and his two brothers, Cary and Craig, each played at the University of Oklahoma. Upon graduation he moved to Phoenix in 1999 to work for Ping, which turned into a two-decade career. All three brothers are still in golf: Craig works at Ping as sales rep for the state of Kansas, while Cary is the Director of Golf at Southern Hills in Tulsa. (You likely saw him playing a practice round with Tiger Woods ahead of this year’s PGA Championship.)
As for Chance? He left Ping in 2019 to serve as WM Phoenix Open Tournament Chairman. After that he took over as Executive Director for the Thunderbirds.
But all of this has just about zero to do with his cooking alter-ego, 3 Pieces of Pecan, which was quickly gaining traction both on TikTok and Instagram. His Sooners gear made appearances, as did his love for golf, but mostly it was just good eats. And it was a side gig on steroids. By December 2022 he’d amassed more than 200,000 followers on Instagram and more than 800,000 on TikTok, giving him more than a million across the two platforms. By now more than 200 million people have watched his videos.
Chance had always had a saying: “If you’re going to eat, you might as well eat good.” Now he added a couple lines. “If you’re going to cook, you might as well film it. And if you’re going to film it, you might as well share it.” So share they did.
Breakfast Burritos for 30! #breakfast #burrito #eggs #bacon #baseball #senior #food #fyp #damngood
Even as his page took off, Cozby craved an order to his posting. Soon he found a way it could intersect with the rest of his life. At the beginning of 2022 he reached out to a friend at the PGA Tour with an idea: What if his videos followed the PGA Tour schedule? If an event sent him a t-shirt or a hoodie — he has more than enough golf polos — he’d cook up a dish unique to that tournament’s host city. Themed cooking and cross-promotion for the price of a t-shirt? The Tour was in.
Cozby began with a nod to Hawaii the week of the Sony Open, cooking up seared ahi tuna with blistered green beans and rice. Then came a carne asada burrito, San Diego style (with fries in it) the week of the Farmers Insurance Open. And so it went. Cheese enchiladas with chile con carne the week of the Valero Texas Open. He tackled the Masters’ breakfast sandwich and the pimento cheese, too, just for good measure.
How did he decide what to cook? The process was pretty simple. He’d spend time Googling foods relevant to the city in question and then ask three questions: 1. Did he want to make it? 2. Would he want to eat it? 3. Would people be interested?
Once he found an answer it was cooking time. And even though he couldn’t believe it at first, he gets it now: people really like to see what he’s whipping up. Even when their enthusiasm comes with, uh, constructive criticism.
“I’m not a chef and I have zero training. I have chefs tell me that all the time, that I have zero idea what I’m doing,” he says. “And I’m like, well, clearly! I wish that I could cook like they could in a lot of ways, but there’s something very normal about being a husband, a father, a person that works for a living. And then you have to come home and somebody has to make dinner.”
He had a tough time picking out his favorites, though Coney Dogs (for the Rocket Mortgage in Detroit) and South Dakota Chislic (for the Sanford International on the PGA Tour Champions) both stood out. “It’s like, cubed lamb, and it’s fried, and I’d never heard of it before but I was like, well, that’s amazing,” he says.
By year’s end, as he cooked up his father’s favorite, steak tartare, in honor of the PNC Championship, he had a better appreciation for just how many places the Tour travels. His followers did, too. His Tour-related videos alone had accumulated more than 50 million views.
If there’s a lesson he wants viewers to take away from the videos, it’s that they can cook, too. “I think a lot of people that follow me and follow my cooking think that I do cooking for a living but I just do this on the weekend and at night. The WM Phoenix Open and the Thunderbirds — that’s what I do.
“People have busy lives, but it’s easy to make and it tastes good and I present it in a way that’s like, ‘you can do this!’” he says. “I make the videos step by step and if you want to make it yourself, watch a few times and get it down.”
But it’s already exceeded his expectations by several orders of magnitude.
“At the start you’re just tring to do something fun with your kid. There were no monetary goals. There were no goals, period. I’ve had a lot of people say, because of you, I’m now cooking a couple meals a week for my family. I think that’s pretty cool.”
As Cozby shows me his backyard, it’s clear the cooking world has taken notice, too. A brand-new griddle sits before us. (That’s where he’ll soon whip up a breakfast sandwich plus one wrapped in foil for the road.) An array of grills and smokers wraps its way around the patio, bordering a nifty turf putting green. There’s room to practice both his passions here.
At first he loved the idea that anybody would want to send him anything. But these days? He has to tell brands “no” far more often than yes. He shies away from the word “influencer,” but there’s no question that his videos provide plenty of exposure to whatever may be featured within. Still, he’s not ignorant of the money-making possibilities of his current position and has begun working with “partners” at cookware brand Le Creuset and clothing company Peter Millar.
Despite all the new toys, there’s no question that his prize possession is a smoker that sits in the back corner of the property. It belonged to his late father. When Chance fires up the smoker, he feels like they’re together.
“He loved to smoke ribs,” he says, remembering. “It’s all the same smells and flavors from him.”
Mondays were Jerry Cozby’s day off, because the club was closed, so on Mondays he’d cook brisket or ribs. There was no temperature gauge on the smoker, but he had a knack for dialing it in right where he desired, between 225 and 275, with the help of three pieces of pecan wood. That’s where the name comes from. And now his son does the same.
“I just think about him,” Chance says. “It’s a good way for me to smoke some ribs and think about my dad, have a beer — he always liked to have a long-neck Budweiser — and it’s just a cool part of my life.”
I ask him what the crossover is between golf and cooking. He pauses. They’re both good for the soul, Chance figures. And they bring people together.
It occurs to me that bringing people together is his full-time job, too. In less than two months’ time he’ll help welcome the biggest crowd in golf to the WM Phoenix Open. It’s a zoo every year but it’ll be even zooier come 2023, given its “elevated” status plus the fact that the Super Bowl is happening the same week in the same city.
At risk of corniness, Cozby hopes his videos bring people together, too. He knows not to argue in the comments — nobody wins — but he does learn plenty from what people say. He brings that knowledge back to his kitchen and to his actual consumers, his family and friends, whether the camera’s on or not.
“A lot of good happens around a kitchen island, a kitchen table,” he says. “A lot of good conversations. I think food brings people together, and I like to do that right here.
“Like golf: It’s all about the hang.”
Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com. The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.
GOLF.com and GOLF Magazine are published by EB GOLF MEDIA LLC, a division of 8AM GOLF