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Greetings from Gilbert, Arizona

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    Greetings from Gilbert, Arizona

    Hi Everyone:

    Longtime griller, short time smoker

    Grew up in Park Ridge, Ill - Loved Italian Beef sangwiches, and Russell's BBQ in Elmwood Park. Mother was a great cook for beef and fish, not so good for other things. I think it was the era where pork had to be completely dried out to be safe!

    Dad always wanted to grill steaks or cook chickens, but seemed to have the gift of fire. Anything he tried to cook went up in flames. Generally bad enough that it was time to go out to eat.

    Found out much later why my mother's cooking tasted so good. She had learned how to do low and slow in the oven, and the meat was always from Schmeisser's Butcher shop on Milwaukee Avenue in Niles. Looks like they are still there, with the grandchildren of the founder running the show.

    Unfortunately, although I knew where the meat came from, she never taught me why she only bought prime beef. Since Dad was a disaster at outdoor cooking, no one ever taught me a thing.

    Once I was an adult, and had to go to work in snow and ice, rather than go out and play hockey, I decided it was time to move. So, at age 24, I moved myself to Phoenix AZ, and have lived here ever since. That means I can barbecue almost every day of the year if I want to.

    Bought my first Weber kettle in 1976 and always knew that charcoal was the only way to cook. Bought another in 1988 (original one got smashed up), and have it to this day.

    Having a career as an IT exec resulted in never having enough time for anything. So, I was always what is described as a pedal to the metal cooker, and usually did sirloins, strip steaks, ribeyes, with the occasional chicken done (indirect). Standing Rib roasts and turkeys were generally done inside in the oven. Since I ended up travelling the world I got to try local cooking from many places. Sure learned how to pick out the best restaurants.

    Learned to love spare ribs in the 90s at 2 restaurants in Vienna, Austria. (I was on a consulting contract with the IAEA at the UN there). The restaurants were the Strand Cafe, and Schloss Greifenstein. Tried to make great ribs at home, and generally got them too tough. Even tried boiling them first, which made them tender but tasteless.

    At the beginning of 2014, I caught some sort of pneumonia virus that managed to get into my heart and caused muscle damage. A lot of medicine, and a defibrillator/pacemaker later, I'm back up and running, although I'm not travelling much any more. One of my IT clients is a foodservice business, which gives me all kinds of pork items every time I'm there.

    Started reading a lot of stuff on the Internet, and found the AmazingRibs site. After thorough investigation, decided that a WSM was a better idea than a smokenator, and got a 14.5 WSM to try out. Since I have an inexhaustible supply of baby back and spare ribs, I've gotten a lot of practice at refining my technique.

    I learned that the very best ribs come from never letting the temperature above 225. Also figured out that I liked the ribs in Vienna so much because they used a much heavier dose of garlic on them than people do in the US.

    This site has me experimenting with Tri-Tips, standing rib roasts, strip loin roasts, and every cut of pork you can imagine. Once I got the knack of low and slow, everything seems to come out delicious. Per the advice here, I got a ThermaPen, and the Thermoworks TW8060, and keeping the temperatures right makes things perfect. I have to go easy on the salt (doctor's orders) but I refuse to leave it out completely when I'm cooking.

    Still have a lot to learn, but I'm already eating well as a result of this site even though I don't get to run all over the world sampling the cuisine any more. I'll get geared up and start getting photos when I cook (hope you all don't mind the sunny skies, and lack of snow and ice!). It's about 70 degrees here today.

    I've found a few recipes, but haven't had the courage to try one yet, and I don't see one on the Amazing Ribs site. The dish is called stelze in Austria, and Schweinshaxe in Bavaria. It's a roasted pork knuckle, AKA hamhock in the US.

    Best regards,
    Jim Gutman
    Last edited by jgg85234; January 12, 2015, 01:28 PM.

    Interesting life story Jim... Welcome to the pit. Once you learn that low and slow and lots of beer is the answer, life is good. Learning how to BBQ/grill tasty food is a life long journey. Meathead and his crew help you shorten the learning curve.


      Hello Jim, I'm pleased to meat you. Welcome.


        Hi Jim, welcome to the Pit




            Welcome Jim! GREAT intro post, we appreciate learning your story! I live in central MI and I can grill outdoors most any day too! The difference is only about 70 degrees from Phoenix on any given day, lol. Nah some days we hit mid 90s, those days are terrible....

            You did an awesome job on your signature so I assume you've already read our homework assignment post for new members? If not, it will help you flow smoother around here.

            Hope to hear & see more from you!


              Thanks for the warm welcome. I forgot to list a favorite beer in my signature (I'll fix it).

              It's Budweiser. No, not the Anheuser Busch stuff, this stuff.

              Their frisch vom fass (on tap) beer goes better with ribs than any other beer I've ever tried.

              Yes, but I can cook outdoors without a jacket (or even shoes) most every day of the year. Don't think you can say that.
              I had relatives in Holland Michigan, so I know how wonderful winter can be on the eastern side of a lake.

              We don't even know what "wind chill factor" means out here



                Howdy, Jim!

                We have a bit of wind chill up here in Flagstaff, but nothing like on the western side of the lake (Chicago lakefront; I lived in Lake Point Tower by Navy Pier). When I moved up from Scottsdale, peeps down there thought I was nuts. "How can you stand the cold and snow?" I love the weather up here. Four seasons. A hint of cold in the winter. A hint of heat in the summer. Nothing like walking up the lakefront in 20 below + wind chill. THAT'S cold.

                As for your taste in beer?

                Outstanding! I first had Budvar on a train in Austria around 1990. When I asked the attendant what beers she had, she said "Budweis". I said something about not coming all that way to drink that terrible beer. She looked at me funny and showed me the bottle. Not your dad's Bud, that was for sure! I gave it a try. Then had a second one! Great flavor for a lager. The only problem I've had with it here in Arizona is it can be skunked. Transport time plus storage time plus potential extended exposure to high Arizona summer temps can be problematic. Hasn't happened often, though.

                Have you ever had the Mexican beer Bohemia? The export version we get in the States is my favorite Mexican beer, for many of the same reasons I like Budvar. If you ever get a chance to drink the real Mexican version brewed in Monterrey (I had it there, and in Mexico City), do. It's excellent. And higher in alcohol, like Budvar!

                Welcome to the Pit!



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