The Dallas Cowboys might be a touch overrated of late, but there’s nothing overrated about their stud defensive end, DeMarcus Ware. Since 2006, the sack artist has been selected to an astonishing seven straight All-Pro teams. Something else you may not know about him: he’s also a force behind the grill. Here, Ware talks barbecue, division rivals and battling against Wes Welker for Depend to benefit the V Foundation.

Alabama, you’re gonna get more of a barbecue-y tasting meat. Then you go to Texas, it’s more about the pork. In Memphis you’re going to have more of a spicier Southern style. Its all good.”

MADE MAN: During the offseason, do you ever say to yourself, “No gym, and eat whatever I want”?
DEMARCUS WARE: Working out becomes almost like your way of life. It may not be as intense, but you’re going to get in a workout because you don’t feel right if you don’t. For me, I do it year-round: run, lift. It’s just not as intense as when I’m getting ready for a season.

MM: What does a light week for you look like?
DW: I work out probably four days a week, about 40 minutes each time. Cardio stuff. I always try to eat right, but you also gotta give yourself some hot wings and pizza. As the season nears, I probably work out five times a week, about two hours each time. Just amp it up: more intense, more weight. I also do yoga twice a week, Pilates twice a week.

MM: Really?
DW: You have to! Just because you’re a big strong guy doesn’t mean that you’re flexible. You got to be flexible.

MM: How long have you been doing them?
DW: Three years now. They help with my stability, working those small core muscles. As you get older your body is not as flexible and it takes longer to get warmed up. So you do little things to keep your body stretched out. And you may think, “I don’t want to run today,” so you go and do hot yoga and still get the same feeling.

MM: Let’s move away from hot yoga and back to hot wings. How often do you barbecue?
DW: I grill a lot. I barbecue at home a lot. I cook steaks a lot, fish, chicken.

And that’s how Drew Brees’ head got stuck in the Superdome.

MM: Do you have a favorite spice combination?
DW: I have three. If I want more of a barbecue-type steak, I’ll take the barbecue [sauce] and then I’ll mix in honey and some Lawry’s seasoned salt and then a rub that goes on top of the steak. If I want chicken and herbs, I’ll take Dijon mustard and mix in honey—I love putting in honey—and make it a sweet-tangy type deal. Sometimes I just go straight to the Worcestershire sauce with the Lawry’s seasoned salt.

MM: You’re from Alabama and you play in Dallas. Which locale’s barbecue do you prefer?
DW: It depends on what kind of barbecue you want. Alabama, you’re gonna get more of a barbecue-y tasting meat. Then you go to Texas, it’s more about the pork. In Memphis you’re going to have more of a Southern style, spicier barbecue. It’s all good. I don’t have a preference at all.

MM: Do you have a drink of choice when barbecuing?
DW: Probably a beer. I will pour it over the meat before I even put the meat on the grill to make it really tender. Just having a beer—I’d say Coors, Coors Light or Corona—while cooking: drink some, pour some, drink some…

MM: Now that everyone’s incredibly hungry, let’s get back to football. What are you expecting from the NFC East this year?
DW: Every year’s a battle. Every single game, every single team. It’s a brutal battle because we play each other twice. It’s all about who wants it most.

“OK, guys, here’s the plan: everyone play like me today. Got it?”

MM: The NFC East—with the Eagles, Redskins, Giants and your Cowboys—seems to be the only division where every team deeply hates every other team.
DW: Definitely. We know whoever we’re playing, it’s gonna be a long game. It’s not gonna be a blowout. It’s gonna be a 10-3 or 14-13 type game, going back and forth down the field.

MM: What motivated you to wear Depend Real Fit briefs last year, then this year compete against Wes Welker in The Great American Try On to raise money for prostate cancer research?
DW: What really draws me to this cause is just raising awareness of the whole situation. I mean, the campaign last year was the Great American Challenge. Try this product on, see how it is. This year, seeing who gets the most votes between me and Wes Welker. Just every year raising that awareness. Letting people know how important prostate cancer research is and that there are people out there who take it seriously.

MM: Is there a player you model yourself after?
DW: I always liked Reggie White. I looked at Michael Strahan, the way he played. Osi Umenyiora. Then, going back, Derrick Thomas and Lawrence Taylor. Those were guys I tried to emulate… but all that in one person.