I'm probably posting a question you've answered to the old timers many times.

Pete in PG

Hi Chris,

Who or what got you starting with your desire to grill and bbq? Were you led to Weber products right away or did you take a longer route?

Thanks for creating this forum. There are so many talented chefs here and learning from everyone has been extremely rewarding!

Chris Allingham

Staff member
Pete, I think I read your question first and then inadvertently answered some of it in Phil Perrin's Inspiration? thread!

I always loved eating barbecue but never in my wildest dreams thought about making it. I remember going to Magic Mountain in SoCal when I was a teenager with my grandma and eating a huge beef rib and us thinking that was the most amazing thing! An amusement park rib! It was probably awful, but what did we know?

My real interest in eating BBQ started when I moved to Mountain View in 1989 and started going to Armadillo Willy's BBQ right down the street from where I worked at HP. Around that same time, I was dating a gal in Atlanta and spent several months there during 1990 on business trips and enjoyed eating barbecue there...I still remember the chopped pork sandwiches at "Big Ed's Pig 'N Pit Barbecue" in Marietta.

But it wasn't until finding my way into Ray Basso's The BBQ Forum in 1997 that I discovered that you could actually make "low & slow" barbecue in your own backyard with something called the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker! I was already a Weber grill owner at that time and understood Weber quality, so it was a no-brainer to buy and try a Weber smoker.

As for grilling, there was not a strong tradition of that in my immediate family. In fact, I don't remember my dad grilling that much, except maybe at the beach using those built-in grills. He may have had a portable, cheap supermarket grill of some kind that he used to burn burgers and chicken and maybe the occasional steak. I do remember my grandpas both had charcoal grills...one had a green grill like the one in this photo and the other had a fancier grill more like a Hasty Bake but certainly not that good.

It really wasn't until after college when I shared an apartment with a roommate that I got exposed to Weber in the form of his Smokey Joe. Later, I got a Go-Anywhere charcoal grill, then in 1992, when I was a bit more flush with money, I upgraded to a red Genesis 2 gas grill (I think it was about $500 back then, and it's still going strong at my dad's house...no cheap supermarket grill for him anymore!). Then came a Summit 425 in 2002 and a 26" kettle in 2007 and a few nice, old 22" kettles that I have since had to part with due to space constraints.