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Hello from the Western Burbs of Chicago!

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    Hello from the Western Burbs of Chicago!

    Rich here. (aka Smokin’Rick, aka SmokeDog).

    Joined the Pitmaster Club two weeks ago, but just now getting around to making my introduction.

    I grew up in a Bohemian-Italian-American family where both parents cooked wonderful meals of their respective family’s heritage. In the early ‘60s, our family moved from Chicago’s “Little Italy” neighborhood at Taylor & Halsted Sts. to the SW-side of Chicago where I spent my formative years. I have fond memories of family get-togethers grilling on an inexpensive charcoal grill. Most memorable was digging a pit in the backyard for a whole pig roast and helping my father and maternal-grandfather, man the turning of the spit over hot coals.

    After marrying in ’82, my bride and I became suburbanites.
    I did some not so serious grilling of burgers, steaks, and chicken over the years, first using a Weber charcoal Kettle (circa ’83) then picked up a cheap gas grill. When we moved our family to our present home I decided to up my game by acquiring my present Weber Genesis Gold B LP-gasser (circa ’03) and ditched the old Weber Kettle (I know, I too cringe when I think of it.). I got into BBQ as a hobby in ‘11. I was surfing the web for reviews on the “best smokers” when I came upon the amazingribs.com site (AR). That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I purchased my 22.5 Weber Smokey Mountain cooker and first learned to use it by reading Gary Wiviott’s “Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in 5 Easy Lessons“, both based upon recommendations by Meathead on AR. I gained even more confidence and insight and became more adept in cooking good BBQ from the knowledge and guidance made available on this site (AR). I recommend AR to everyone when the topic of BBQ comes up. My wife chuckles every time she hears me say, “My guy Meathead says …”

    After experiencing cooking with charcoal again, I acquired my Weber Performer in Dec. ’12. It’s a blast cooking year-round (except in last year’s brutal winter) using my small but effective Weber arsenal. Speaking of charcoal, I first started using Royal Oak’s natural lump charcoal, but now I prefer using their Chef’s Select all natural briquettes.

    I enjoy cooking spare ribs, pork butt, brisket, salmon, turkey and making my own bacon (a super hit with my family and the friends I’ve shared it with - they can’t get enough). All learned well from AR. I received rave reviews from family and friends on my last brisket cook. I attribute that to the wealth of knowledge gained here. I still have a lot to learn. This site with its live interaction with quick-responsive mentors is better than any book. That is why I’m happy to support the new Pitmaster Club by my membership and to be a part of the greatest group of BBQ enthusiasts and mentors on the planet!

    Welcome Rich, awesome story! nice lineup of cookers you have there. Great job on your sig, I too am a Sam Adams fan, even thought it's becoming mass-produced it's still GREAT beer.

    Looking forward to more posts from you, especially of your cooks. wee need more smoked salmon posts, we're lacking those now. I hope to do a batch myself in the coming weeks just to get that thread started.


      Welcome to The Pit Rick! I think you're going to like it here.


        Welcome SmokeDog!


          Welcome and great write up...except for the ditching the Weber kettle part.

          Feel free to send some of that bacon south


            Hey man, good to meet ya! WELCOME!



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