Stages of a hobby (kinda long)


Mark B

Interesting thread Lew. Personally I research things to death and (attempt) to purchase wisely. Not always successful. I too have settled with a Genesis, Performer, and WSM. Covers all the bases for me.

Gary S

I'm there with you Lew. I have to experiment and try different things. I never seem to be satisfied with "out of the box." If I'm going to undertake something I like the research and the learning. Same with cooking and cookers. I have a WSM, my big kettle and now a Keg. They all have their place and after a while I have settled in to my cooking methods and styles. I think it's called experience and there is only one way to get there!:)

Larry D.

TVWBB Gold Member
I think you are much more normal than you think. New hobbies, like any new experience, can be a little bit intimidating at first when you feel like a newbie - interested, but uncertain because you aren't yet familiar with how everything works. Hobbies also come with the "latest, best gadget" curse - your golf game will improve if you just buy this new driver (the one that pro uses), your bowling score will improve if you just buy this wrist brace (the one that pro uses), your barbecue will be better if you just buy the smoker (or rub, or sauce, or remote thermometer, etc) that everyone is raving about. Eventually you find that the most important cooking equipment is between your ears, and at that point you can enjoy (and be successful) cooking with just about anything. And that's when the real fun begins. :)
I'm right there with you.

Back when I first started out, I was OCD to the absolute max. I had to research and know every little detail long before I would actually do a cook. Temperature control was a total obsession and I would stress completely out if the temperature moved 10 degrees. Then I found competitions and it got even worse. I shudder to think about all the money I spent on that. Don't get me wrong, I had fun and met a lot of really great people. But, I could have probably bought a very nice car with all the money I pumped out.

Now, I walk through the grocery store and decide on a cook based on what's on sale. I often don't even decide what to cook it on until after I've started a chimney-full. Temperature?? Close enough for Rock-n-Roll is about as much as I watch it anymore. It's done when it's done. Most of my cooks now are just salt-pepper-maybe garlic type of cooks.


Dave Penn

When I first started getting into barbecue, I joined forums, researched equipment, read books...anything I could do to learn my new hobby. I cooked on an ECB, then modified it so I could maintain temps for 10-12 hrs. I bought a COS and modified it with baffles, chimney extensions, etc. I made some great Q on both.

For the next several years, I bought/sold all kinds of bbq stuff, mostly kettles. At one time, I had 11 grills & smokers. I continued to try several different ways to cook Q: hot and fast, foiling, water pan with/without water, lump, K, natural charcoal. I made my own rubs and sauces, experimenting with all kinds or recipes. I was obsessed. Eventually, I kinda lost interest in the stuff and just concentrated on the food. I'm down to a Genesis, a Performer with a Smoke EZ attachment, and a WSM; I know craigslist misses me. I still enjoy barbecuing as much as ever, I just don't worry about what I'm cooking on or whether I need a new smoker. I still make my own rubs and sauces, but I spend less time trying to find new recipes. I stay away from BGE, UDS, hot & fast/low & slow, and foil/no foil arguments because I don't need anybody to know my opinion. I'm not opposed to new ways or recipes, but finding them doesn't consume my time anymore.

The thing is, I've done this with several hobbies: hunting, fishing, photography, skiing, motorcycling, and LOTS of others. In the first stages, I get lost in the learning, the process, and the stuff. I remember during my early fishing phase, the guy at the fly shop told me, "eventually, you need to stop buying gear and start fishing." In the later stages, I spend much less time on the peripheral things and just do it: ride, ski, fish, etc.

I wonder if there is a psychological profile for someone like me. Have any of you guys who have been Q'ing for a long time taken a similar path, or am I the exception? Do I need professional help?

Lew, I've done the same thing with half a dozen hobbies. I've done worse with some of them, going "whole hog" and then burning out and not doing them at all once I find something new. I won't bore everyone by trying to explain this or any of my other quirks but I've come to accept them.

Matt Marino

New member
Same deal with me on several hobbies. One turned into a career and I havent done it outside of work in over 12 years! I think its good to be self aware enough to realize your patterns. As I get older I catch myself and waste less money (usually), stress less over the details (mostly), and have more fun with it overall. I think experience with other hobbies lets you cut to the chase quicker with new ones. And Internet message boards are just freaking ridiculous stores of information we probably take for granted but are a very new phenomenon. So much easier to learn certain things now but also easier to fall into the trap of thinking about doing instead of the important part, DOING. Good post.


New member
In reading your post, I thought I was reading a biography on myself! I am pretty much the same way. When I first start something I obsess on reading and researching everything. I go hog wild for awhile, then although I might still hold interest, it doesn't consume my time as much. Glad to know I am not alone :)