How'd you get into barbecue? *****

Great topic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My wife and I were going to have a valentine party and invited several couples over. Before the party my wife got sick and we canceled the party. One of the couples farther made a smoker in their back yard and smoke some pork for the party. They brought it over and we ate it for dinner one night. It was good. 2 weeks later my wife and I are at a store that had smoker their. I walk over to look at them and she said "I am surprised you don't do that." I said "do what?" See said "smoke food." My reply was "I heard it was pretty hard to do, you really have to know what you are doing." She said "so you investigate the <span class="ev_code_RED">
s_ _ _ </span> out of everything!!
" And that was it. The seed was planted and 3 smokers later here I am.
I always liked eating bbq, but all I had ever cooked was ribs on the grill. Eventually I bought a Brinkmann Gourmet charcoal smoker and learned to cook on it. I found the Virtual Weber Bullet, realized that almost all the advice here translated to my smoker. I also came to realize that all the work I had done to modify the Brinkmann, and all the headaches of trying to do a long, low and slow cook with it could be avoided by getting a WSM, which I finally did. (My wife's question of why I should spend $179 (this was some time ago) on something that looked just like my old $59 smoker was answered by my asking why she would spend big bucks on a sewing machine that looked so much like the $99 one on the shelf at Wal-Mart.)
This ain't gonna be short.

When I was young, "barbecue" was any meat we grilled, and we put sauce on everything. It was good because the sauce usually Mauls, was good. (Man I miss that stuff) My uncle was the resident king of the grill, and his tool of choice was a cut 55 gal drum. His favorite accessory was a welding helmet and gloves. The food wasn't good at times also mostly due to lack of fire control. Fire control was one of us kids with a spray water bottle. -we never wasted beverages for that- We had many good times, but burnt on the outside raw in the middle chicken wasn't any fun at all. Always enjoyed grilling with the family.

Fast forward to the early '90s, my family. Colorado. Married with three kids, 2nd duty station Army life. I'd been grilling on the usual junk with no fire control, and my efforts were'nt that much better than my welding uncle. My older brother Gerry highly recommended the Weber kettle. He was in Germany or something, Army too. I bought an 18inch kettle for $8 at a yard sale. My cooking skills increased dramatically. I cooked for many large partys on that yard sale junker. Loved it...but it was burgers, brats, dogs. Maybe some grilled pork. I still to this day don't cook much chicken.

PCS'd to Kentucky early 2002, left the yard sale special behind. Got a 22 ketlle w/table for birthday/fathers day that year. Continued grilling like a fool. Graduated to kabobs on occasion. Deployed to Iraq which was a rough time. Through internet and computer, visted more with my brother Gerry than I had in years. I vented through him, he listened. He shared his life (his hobbies) with me because my life was on pause. So I began researching BBQ. I didn't know what barbeque really was until Gerry taught me.

Under his tutelage, I bought an 18.5 WSM. It was waiting for me when I came home. He drove out with his and fired them both in my back yard for a welcome home bbq. He cooked a ton of food, it was all amazing, and he made it look soo easy. Not long after that, my wife found .99c ribs on sale at the commissary, and bought several cases. I had my troops over every weekend for rib's -n- beer.

BBQ'in is my escape, it's been that way and always will be. Kudos to my brother for introducing me to such a wonderfull hobby. Before this I was just foolin around. Just now scored a 2nd 22 WSM on CL, and plan on driving out this summer and giving it to my brother Gerry.

D Shatte: This is the sauce?

If so Here are some more info:

Maull’s Genuine Barbecue Sauce was first created in St. Louis, Missouri over 70 years ago from Louis Maull’s original family recipe. It is still made exactly the same way today, by the Maull family, with the same unique blend of 20 select ingredients that gives Maull’s its distinctive tangy flavor.
Thanks for your post and for your service, Dennis. Most of us really can't begin to imagine what our troops go through today. I'm just glad you're home safe grillin' and qin'. (I'm was an Army brat, but I still don't understand just what we are doing in that part of the world. That does not in any way diminish the pride and support I have for the men serving our country there.)

I grew up in Southern Illinois, in Maull's country one could say. I can still get some if I drive home or my mother mules some out to me when she visits.

Wonderful stuff. Thanks for the info.

This website! I knew I loved bbq. So I read up on the best smokers out there. I already had a kettle and loved all weber products so it was a no brainer to buy the wsm! It was only like 180 dollars on back then delivered! My wife admited after like 5 years of using it, that she thought it was something I would not use at all! "You mean like them 5 purses a week you buy" I thought!
"You mean like them 5 purses a week you buy" I thought!

Haha I hear that...They use them, but only once or twice and it's on to the next bag. Kinda like their shoe addiction...
How did I get into BBQ ?

I was tired of grilling on those "El Cheapo" charcoal grills, with no temp control, that only lasted a couple of years, rusted to S***, and then cluttered the yard, and eventually get tossed!

So, back in 1990, or 91 ? I purcased my First Weber, in the form of a 22.5 Bar-B-Kettle.(M code 1990 Model)

I was just the typical, casual, Burgers, Dogs, and Steaks, "Back yard Griller" and I remained just a casual, occassional "Griller"... With the versatility of the Classic Weber Kettle, I had pulled off an occasional, Thanks Giving Turkey, a few Meat loafs, and Vegies. With the old Weber, but I never really got into it!

About 4 years ago, I sold my home and moved in with my Current Woman, In the process of the move it was necessary to clean up my old, and (at that time) much neglected, little used Weber Kettle. That is when I realized, and began to appreciate the quality build of my old Weber. I started to use it again, and with increased frequency. I vowed to never neglect it again!, It had been with me long enough that it felt kind of like part of the family!

Moving in with my woman, came along with a garage that was, (still is) rented out to her X-Father-In-Law for storage!... Amongst the items stored out there was an old "ECB" that had belonged to her X-Husband... I thought, Hey, it might just be a "FUN" to try to smoking something with this "ECB"... BUT I WAS WRONG !
So I started looking for how to info on the internet, in a effort to learn how to go about smoking with the "ECB".. One of the first things I learned about the "ECB" was that it is pretty much a "POS", I tried using it one time, and comfirmed that is was a "POS"..
I noticed that some people were doing MODS to their ECB's, to try and make them actually work!, It was not very encouraging.
Even though I had owned a Weber Kettle, for as long as I had, I was unaware that Weber made a Smoker, the Smoky Mountain Cooker! While looking for MOD info for the "ECB", I somehow stumbled upon Chris's site TVWBB. It was very obvious from what I learned here in the beginning, that successful smoking, required a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.... I managed for a couple of years, with info garnered here, how to smoke with a Weber Kettle... I was succesful at that, but I was hooked on GOOD BBQ, and there was no looking back, after visiting here.
It took me a couple of years before I finally got a WSM.. I think it goes without saying that: if you Don't have a WSM, and you hang out on this forum, you too, eventually will have to get one!

Thanks for letting us play here Chris !
What's my story - well where I grew up there was no bbq, just grilling. Our family had a grill for a bit, one of those with a dish shaped bowl, with an attached back and small lid. The back was semi-circular so the front half of the grill was open. You could mount a rotisserie, though I don't recall us having one.

I will never forget the smell of blue bag K and my Dad grilling clams open. Think we only did that once, but it's funny how some things stick.

Had a small hibachi in the early 80's for a bit, then a small gasser when my girlfriend (soon to be wife) and I were setting up shop. In the early 90's she rescued a Falcon Mark V gasser from a garage sale, which I repaired and kept going for maybe 16 years.

By 2004 I had bought a small funny Napoleon Apollo (not the smoker) as a way to get back to charcoal - it could grill and was too small for smoking. The ash handing was absurd. I still have it.

I went back to school and when coming out of that in 2006 my wife bought me a Char-Griller Smokin Pro. By that time I was reading the Raichlen site. Found that I was having a real battle with temps and the amount of fuel used with that bbq (although it is very versatile). Began visting

Bought a Genesis to replace the old tired Falcon, around 2009. The Genesis will probably outlast me. End of season bought a Performer for general charcoal duties. In early 2010 I finished up with an 18.5" WSM which is a good size for us.

Now I think I am set - have all the gear I am likely to need. (Except maybe a rotisserie for the Performer.... oh and one of those temp control systems for the WSM

Now I just need to keep on cookin' and trying the recipes and methods I find here on TVWBB.
I got into smoking due to my buddy Dave. He had a party and made the best ribs I ever had. A few years later I said to do I make ribs like that. He gave me the VWBB site. I was immediately intrigued and got the WSM and smoking has been a passion ever since. So the credit (or the blame) goes to Dave and this great site. Thanks Chris and Dave!
I think I just got tired of paying for it and never having any around later on when I wanted a snack . It can be quite expensive around here for just alright tasteing q plus I like hearing from family and friends just how good mine is compared to some of the other they've tried. Only been doing it for about 4 yrs now.Started with a Chargriller offset but knew all along I wanted a WSM.very glad I have one now.
I've been grilling as long as i can remember likely sice 6-8 years old, we had cheap charcoal grills, dad always dreamed of being able to afford a gasser, was back in the 80's and all the rage, he did get one early 90's he has never been real good at cooking thats why I started do it for the family, my first grill was a homemade out of a freon can, portable type, took it when i moved to arizona cook alot of good steaks on it, it lasted several years and gave out when i purchased my first house, my love of cooking has always stemmed from leaving disappointed from a restraunt knowing my cooking is much better, recived a gift card to lowes from the owner of the dealership i was working at and bought a weber kettle, the a genisis for my birthday, then a 22" wsm for fathers day, been rolling ever since, i can't hardly go out to eat anymore without some level of disappointment in the food.
I worked in a BBQ joint in the boonies of Utah during the late 70's early 80's. I just took orders, made fries, etc....never did any of the smoking. I liked the food but moved on to other things for 30 years.

My wife bought me 'Smoke and Spice' for Valentine's day 2010 (she thought it was a grilling book--she likes steak). This book re-ignited my interest in BBQ. Like many others I ended up buying a WSM after searching the internet..found this site a few months later.

Started grilling as a kid (since the age of 5).

All coal based up to my move to US (left my little grill behind).

Suddenly we had 4 small kids over a couple of years so I switched to gas.

Now were my older son is turning 13 and my younger daughter turns 7 it's time to get back to coal!

Never smoked meat before. Hope to do a test firing this sunday and the following week put a nice pork butt in play.

Originally posted by J. Malte Stoeckhert:

Never smoked meat before. Hope to do a test firing this sunday and the following week put a nice pork butt in play.


You are in for a treat!, just follow some of the good advice you find here, and you are nearly guaranteed success!, and some GOOOD BUTT!
Well, it sort of went like this...

Bought several elcheapo gassers over the years with varying levels of success. Then SWMBO bought a really nice gasser that had enough mass to it to be able to work with temperature control somewhat. I started getting pretty good at various cooks with it but always felt that there was more that could be learned.

Then I bought that first Smokey Joe Silver (still have it and it goes with me to every competition). Unfortunately, I also bought a bag of Matchlight (ugh.. makes me shiver just to think about it now) and didn't do very well with it. Then I bought the chimney and a bag of blue and progress was made. I then switched over to some cheap brand of lump and learned how to cook with that. The rest of the family was convinced that I had turned into a BBQ snob because I wouldn't use lighter fluid but I was actually turning out some Q that was fairly decent.

Then I found out that Weber made the WSM smoker when I was researching a bigger grill and I just knew that it was the path that I had to follow. So I bought it, put it together, and proceeded to realize that I didn't have a clue how to use it. The book that came with it was almost useless so I started doing internet searches which yielded this site and the California Barbecue Association.

I spent about a week reading everything on this site at least once and did numerous searches of the forum. That gave me enough courage to try out a rack of BRITU ribs that I was sure would eventually end up in the garbage from my screwing it up. Wrong! They were the best ribs I had ever had.

In the meantime I read everything on the California site and wondered if Florida had a association. Bingo! Found it and started reading all about it. Decided to go to a competition up in Live Oak (which I will be cooking July 8-9) and see what it was all about. Did not have a clue as to what I would find. Based on my reading I decided to go on Friday as the teams have more spare time than on Saturday.

I walked around and talked to a few teams and found one guy who had a rig setup that allowed me to watch from a short distance away. I must have stood there too long like a statue because the guy (Tim) yelled at me that if I wanted to learn anything, then I needed to get a whole bunch closer, like right over his shoulder. You could have knocked me over with a feather. He took me on right then and there as part of the team and we still cook together now and then. In fact, he and I will be co-cooking Live Oak which is where we first met.

Started competing shortly after that and adding to the Weber stable. I'm actually in the market for another 22 as I'm out of capacity during comps. Bought a trailer and am currently outfitting it for competition. I'll post pics of the new war wagon in the competition area probably this week or next.

Don't really know where this adventure is going to end up.

Sorry, got long winded.

Love this post, fun to see what everybody says - seems like there's a huge range of different reasons people get started but 1 reason they keep going...deliciousness.

Born in KC, lived there for 12 yrs, and then got transplanted down to Orlando. Grew up w/homemade ribs (kinda Rendezvous style, really), but went out for any other bbq. No where down here makes anything decent that I've tried, used to order Kansas City Steaks ribs which are pretty good, but wanted to actually make my own. Got an ECB, rigged it a bit, the bbq was alright but I knew it could be much better. Got sick of the ecb and after exploring this site and talking to a client that owns a wsm, got one and couldn't be happier.
I have no idea on when my dad got a kamado, but it was probably a housewarming present from my grandparents when he bought his first house around 1976. It was just there. It was a fairly large red/green one on a wooden, wheeled platform. I remember that plastic had cracked and it really never got moved. I remember him smoking chicken on it and that was it. Burgers went on the hibachi.

Pretty basic, he would fire it up, thow the chicken on, and usually an hour later it would be ready. It was pretty good, and it was usually what was done when we had guests. I remember my mom explaining that it was smoked and was supposed to be black. I don't remember any complaints.

At some point, my father broke one the internal clay rings. I don't know the real reason, but I remember him griping about the price and how we were no longer going to use lighter fluid on it. At the time, he got one of those electric starters. Sometime, not long after, I was taught how to pile the coals up and put the starter element in, and get it going. I remember struggling with the lid and the the chimney cap was always difficult to get off. I was always afraid I was going to break it. I was about 9 at the time.

I was pretty active in scounts and had lots of opportunities to <STRIKE>burn</STRIKE> cook over campfires. I remember cooking burgers at home for lunch on the hibachi with 5 briquettes. I also remember wondering why we never had a gas grill.

A while after I got married, my wife got a cheap, portable gas grill. After I graduated, we ended up moving to the bay area, where somehow we had one of the $5 charcoal grills from the grocery store. I'm surprised that it didn't fall apart at the first firing

Well after producing burnt/raw chicken a couple of times, I decided to break down and get a weber. My wife may have "nudged" me. I was pretty poor at the time and this was before CL, so I got the 18.5 OTS. Food started getting better immediately. I started to venture out, too. Smoked ribs & a turkey. Started doing roasts, too. But always, the kamado was a "gold" standard.

I think it was 2002/3 I found the kamado website. My dad's had died a few years earlier, and so had my grandparents (I remember them having 2 or 3). Not realizing what I was getting into, I convinced my mom & siblings to contribute and we got a tiled K5 for his birthday in August. Many phone calls later, he drove up to Sacramento and got it that winter. First thing that he did on it was a Leg of Lamb.

I have come to the realization that neither one of my parents can cook very well. They enjoy good cooking, but when they do it, it is almost like they don't care. Habit probably.

As my family grew, I got a 22.5 OTS, and then a gas grill, and finally a 22.5 WSM last week. I am enjoying it a lot. My wife enjoys it when I cook/bbq. My kids, too.

I've thown a few bbq parties, but it is pretty much for me. One thing that I've noticed is that I have improved on the grill, I have also improved in the kitchen, too.

Brett, you answered my question about what type of WSM you have.

I was given a Weber 22" kettle from my neighbor who was moving about 25 years ago here. We lived in a tri-plex and had a small back patio walk-thru where I kept it. The first thing I noticed about it was you could grill in the rain because it had a cover on it! I moved into my first house that I bought in 1989 and kept that Weber until 1997 or so, when I had a yard sale and sold it for $4. My in-laws had bought us a Mastercook for a wedding present, so I didn't think I needed two Webers. Boy was I wrong! The in-laws followed up a couple of years later with the rotisserie attachment for Xmas one year.

I still have the Mastercook, but bought a WSM in 2001 from my neighbor for $25. That's when I found this site. My life was forever changed. I then got a Weber gasser with side burner from my mom for an anniversary present, and then found a Touch 'N Go on CL for $75. That's what I primarily use for grilling and rotisserie cooking since it's newer than my original Mastercook. I use both when having guests or catering a party. I bought a little Smokey Joe for $20 which completes my now current collection, but don't use that at all, and only use the gasser for burgers, dogs and roasting peppers and burning chile for salsa.

As you can see, much of what we own was given as gifts because I was starting to get really into the Weber grill activity.

I owe so much to this site for meeting my best friend Kevin Kruger here, and learning about the art of smoking. Also learning how to cook indirectly and finding exceptional recipes here, and interacting with and meeting people who I normally would never had met. I wasn't active on this board for over a year, but have found that i was missing quite a bit because I wasn't trying new things.

I still have my personal chef business which I do on weekends as I work full time now. I do give my clients a grilled entree or two per service, because I know most people consider firing up the gasser "BBQ'ing." Rubs, sauces, brines and everything else I get here has made our lives so much more complete. When I have guests which isn't that often, everyone tells me it's the best chicken, ribs or whatever I make that they've ever had.

Thanks Chris and everyone who posts here. Thanks to Kevin who has given my family some of the best food we've ever eaten. He cooks for us when he comes through here. Those days, sadly, are probably over, but he's going to be moving closer to me so hopefully I will be able to see him more often.