Life at It's Finest
Melton driver Nick Mrak trends gourmet in his road-cooking adventures
When Nick Mrak, 33, isn’t hauling various flatbed materials for Melton Truck Lines, he’s working at perfecting his technique in another love – cooking.
“My lady and I like to camp in our motor home, go to the races and visit our families,” Mrak says. “Cooking is something we do to pass the time.”
Mrak considers himself an avid outdoor cooker who enjoys creating new takes on classic favorites. With two grills set up, Mrak grills the meat while his wife, Tami, who rides along with her husband, cooks the veggies. But you won’t find hamburgers or hotdogs on his grill. Instead, chicken and other lean meats that are healthy and filling are more common fare.
As for seasoning, rubs are where it’s at for this barbecue man. “I feel that a rub can add extra flavor to a rack of ribs or chicken because it stays on the meat better,” he says. “Sometimes I like to add a little sauce to it, but not a lot.”
Mrak’s favorite recipes include mixed garlic, onions, Italian spices and pepper on chicken breast with a side of potatoes and butterfly chicken breast stuffed with fresh ham and Colby cheese.
“Cooking has always interested me and is a great way to spend more time with family and friends,” he says.
Mrak’s chill attitude toward his off-work lifestyle complements his on-the-road attitude and clean driving record. “Everyone on the road wants to hurry to his or her destination,” he says. “Take your time. You’ll get there eventually. I pride myself in safety and have been awarded over 75 of Melton’s safety and fuel bonuses,” he says, adding that he has no speeding tickets and finds his hard work most rewarding when others compliment his driving.
“Sometimes when I pull off at a rest stop other people will come up to me and thank me for my awareness of other cars on the road,” he says. “I really want to change the general perception people have for truckers. The only way to do that is to change my actions on the road.”
In my cab I always take