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Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

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Your first time.....

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  • Karon Adams
    Charter Member
    • Feb 2015
    • 1515
    • Chattanooga TN
    • Karon Adams
      Consort of the Flame
      Cooking is a Sacred Endeavour
      Big Poppa's Drum conversion
      Maverick wireless meat & grill thermometers
      Thermopen Instant Read Thermometer
      Pit IQ blower

    Your first time.....

    Here's something I like to hear from others. "What dish, event, success or failure (which aren't really failures, just lessons) brought to your life the focus of cooking?"

    What made cooking, to you, personally, more than just a way to fuel to allow you to be functional?

    For me, I grew up learning to cook from my grandmothers, mostly. two very different women with very different influences and needs for cooking. I was always interested in cooking but, with both parents working, often 2nd shift, most of our meals were convenience foods.

    When I grew up, got a job at a nuclear plant, I also was almost gifted a house. a lovely little 2 bedroom Craftsman style house in a marginal part of town. but, it was MINE! at 22 years old, I was a home owner with a job as a Nuclear Power plant operator. My leisure time was often scheduled around Science Fiction conventions.

    Like any convention, publicity parties are important. So, at a planning meeting for our convention, I broke the FIRST rule of the Navy. "Never Again Volunteer Yourself" Yeah, OK. I volunteered to make Meatballs for the party. at that time, probably the only thing I could cook from scratch, with passing good taste, what Italian Red Sauce, Sunday Gravy, Ragu. and it wasn't half bad. The meatballs were pretty nice, too.

    I made 30 pounds of ground beef into meatballs by hand. oh, plus the sauce from scratch. it was exhausting! what I didn't know then was that they were actually GOOD. I was very pleased with myself for accomplishing the project. More inspirational, though, was the feedback. the fans loved them. I managed to have myself a job for the foreseeable future.

    That was the time when I realized that A) I CAN accomplish anything I wanted and B) I was not half bad. From then on, I was always looking for something new to cook. I was 22, single, with a job and a home and I was so pleased with myself.

    There was a little Greek Sandwich shop in town. I'm not really sure how Greek they were but, they made this dessert that was pretty but tiny. I had never heard of it, before. It was baklava. I decided I wanted to make it. No one told me it was hard, so I found a recipe and made it. not knowing it was supposed to be difficult. I actually made some, again, a few weeks ago. this time, though, I made my own Phyllo. AMAZINGLY simple! light years better than the frozen. man. I'm going to need to make more, now.

    Around the corner from my house was a little bread bakery. For me, bread had always been the Wonder Bread style ad I still like that in it's place. But, they made some amazing bread flavors. I couldn't see, however, that much money for a loaf of bread. so, once again, since no one told me bread was supposed to be hard, I just DID it. and now, I make bread weekly during Baking Season.

    Looking back at all of this, I realize that this period in my life was when the kitchen became central to my life. I love it. After marriage, since I was a Stay at home mom, cash was tight and babies aren't cheap. so, most of my cooking back then, was taking cheap stuff and making it good. You learn a lot that way. Now, with the kidlets grown and gone, I revisit the learning I have always done in the kitchen, and now, I can focus on improving technique and marvelous food. I do love it.

    Throughout my adult life, the kitchen has been the focus of my life. Cooking, I have found and come to believe, is FAR more than simple nutrition for food, cooking is love. Cooking is your time, talent, even treasure as well as expertise, all wrapped up and offered to those you love, on a plate.

    in short, Cooking is a Sacred Endeavour.
  • Spinaker
    • Nov 2014
    • 10836
    • Land of Tonka
    • John "J R"
      Instagram: JRBowlsby
      Smokin' Hound Que
      Minnesota/ United States of America

      Dexter (Beagle mix)
      Kinnick (American Foxhound)

      Big Green Egg (Large) X3
      Blackstone 36" Outdoor Griddle 4-Burner

      Karubeque C-60
      Kamado Joe Jr. (Black)
      Lodge L410 Hibachi
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      Pit Barrel Cooker 2.0
      R&V Works FF2-R-ST 4-Gallon Fryer

      Weber Spirit Gasser
      FireBoard (Base Package)
      Thermoworks ThermaPen (Red)
      Thermoworks MK4 (Orange)

      Big Green Egg Plate Setter
      Benzomatic TS4000 Torch X 2
      Benzomatic TS800 High Temp Torch X 2

      Bayou Classic 44 qt Stainless Stock Pot
      Bayou Classic 35K BTU Burner

      Digi Q DX2 (Medium Pit Viper Fan)
      Dragon VT 2-23 C Torch
      Eggspander Kit X2
      Field Skillet No. 8,10,12

      Finex Cat Iron Line
      FireBoard Drive
      Lots and Lots of Griswold Cast Iron
      Grill Grates
      Joule Water Circulator
      KBQ Fire Grate

      Kick Ash Basket (KAB) X4
      Lots of Lodge Cast Iron
      Husky 6 Drawer BBQ Equipment Cabinet
      Large Vortex
      Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum
      Marquette Castings No. 13 (First Run)
      Smithey No. 12
      Smokeware Chimney Cap X 3
      Stargazer No.10, 12
      Tool Wizard BBQ Tongs
      Univex Duro 10" Meat Slicer
      FOGO Priemium Lump Charcoal
      Kingsford Blue and White
      Rockwood Lump Charcoal
      Apple, Cherry & Oak Log splits for the C-60

      Buck 119 Special
      Cuda 7' Fillet Knife

      Dexter 12" Brisket Sword
      Next Major Purchase
      Lone Star Grillz 24 X 48 Offset

    Very well written. You hit many points that I think about all the time while cooking. Most of the food that I make is given away to others. Being that I'm a bachelor, I don't always have people to feed every night at home. However, My food often makes it to the lunch table at the farm to help feed the crew and keep their bellies full for the long days work. That is where I get the most joy out of cooking. Nice write up Karon. Meathead should seriously consider adding you to the staff to write some articles. You have great insight in to the world of cooking.


    • Karon Adams
      Charter Member
      • Feb 2015
      • 1515
      • Chattanooga TN
      • Karon Adams
        Consort of the Flame
        Cooking is a Sacred Endeavour
        Big Poppa's Drum conversion
        Maverick wireless meat & grill thermometers
        Thermopen Instant Read Thermometer
        Pit IQ blower

      Thank you, you are very kind. I just write what I feel. Cooking is a passion. I tend to become almost 'obsessed' when I find something that touches me. whether music or films, history or politics. it doesn't matter. if I find one that hooks me, I tend to dig in and learn as much as I can. I can probably answer pretty much anything about Freddie Mercury, for instance.

      The difference between those topics and cooking is, eventually, you have learned about all there is to know about, say, Freddie. he has passed away, not creating anymore. in very real terms, it is a finite topic.

      Cooking, however, is not. I told my kidlets, you can never tell someone 'I love you' too often. there is an old photograph I thought was adorable floating around online. An elderly couple sitting on a bench, both dressed for church. the caption reads :"Why don't you ay you love me, anymore?" the husband replies, "I told you 60 years ago. if anything changes, I'll let you know." It is adorable but in it's way, very sad. you can't say it too much.

      Cooking is one of the ways I tell my family, daily, "I love you". When I cook to offer gifts, that is a LOT of hard work, but that moment when you walk in, for example, my dentist's office (I know, but I have been with this office for 25 years and we are regulars, there.) and hand them a platter covered with 20 different kinds of marshmallows at Christmas. there is no more wonderful feeling.

      I don't know if I posted an essay I wrote a long time ago about love, and home made gifts. If you got a tin of marshmallows from me, last Christmas, it wasn't just candy. I can buy candy, even FINE candies, I can buy. I can even have them drop shipped to the recipient to save time. but, when I give you a tin of marshmallows, I am not giving you candy, I am giving you my TIME. to me, that is far more sweet.


      • Breadhead
        Banned Former Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 0

        I learned to cook sitting at a long mahogany counter that was for customers in a fine Steak and Seafood restaurant in Portland, Oregon. A place called Opus Too.

        That mahogany counter was 4' away from the cook line. I sat and watched them cook every dish while I was waiting for my dinner. I got to know the executive Chef and when he had the time he would explain the nuance and intricacies of each dish as he cooked it. I would go home and replicate it. It's the only steakhouse I've ever been to that offered NO potatoes. They served fettuccine Alfredo with an option to add some pesto instead of baked potatoes. That was an easy dish to duplicate. They offered Hollidaise and Bernaise sauce for toppings on Steaks and Seafood and my Chef friend showed me how to make those sauces.

        Their grill was a wood fired grill that they used mesquite wood to cook everything. It was about 20' long and they even sautéed fish and veggies on that grill. That's where l learned to grill steaks. They grilled about 200 steaks a day to the doneness requested by each customer and had no thermapen back then. After a while I had learned their entire menu and could have worked on that cook line.

        I used those skills to cook for friends and family. I never intended to use those skills to make a living. At the time I was traveling the country selling furniture wholesale to major retail chains. I used those cooking skills to escape from the intensity and pressure of the furniture industry. When I was cooking I never thought of anything other than perfecting that cook. It was and is a great escape from the pressure we all feel from time to time.

        There is no greater pleasure for me than perfecting a cook and presenting it to my guests and sitting quietly dining with them while they comment on how great the food is.😎
        Last edited by Breadhead; September 22, 2015, 02:09 PM.


        • Jerod Broussard
          • Jun 2014
          • 9932
          • East Texas
          • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
            Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
            Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
            Weber One Touch Premium Black 26" Kettle (gift)
            Slow 'n Sear XL for 26" Kettle (gift)
            Weber Smokey Joe Gold
            Weber Rapid Fire Chimney
            Maverick ET-732 White
            Maverick ET-732 Copper
            2- Auber SYL-1615 fan systems(Awesome!!!!!!!!)
            Thermoworks Thermapen w/ Back light (gift)
            Thermoworks Timestick
            Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
            B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
            B & B Pellets

          Not properly resting a Select brisket. Took two times to learn my lesson. Cooking don't mean crap if you can't follow thru post cook.


          • mgaretz
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 888
            • San Ramon, CA
            • Mark Garetz
              Rec Tec pellet grill
              Weber Genesis Gasser
              Maverick ET-732 and Thermapen and others

            When I got divorced, my daughter (16) spent half her time with her mom and half with me. Mom was the cook, I did most of the grilling. My kids (son was already away at college) never wanted to eat what Dad cooked, except what I grilled. So when my daughter was with me, we ate out a lot. So I decided to take cooking classes and I learned. (I was always good at coming up with recipes, could tell you what was in most dishes, but had no cooking chops.) At some point I was ready to try cooking for daughter. Knowing that she likes Thai food, I decided to make her a Thai Basil chicken dish that I had found a recipe for.

            So when my daughter came over to stay one week, she asked what we were doing for dinner. I said I was cooking and making Thai. She said, "Nooooooo!" "Why not?" I said, "You like Thai food." She replied, "But it will be terrible and we'll starve!" "Don't worry," I said, "we're not on safari. If it's bad we can still go out."

            She loved it so much she had thirds! From that day on my daughter (and new wife, and my son too) have loved my cooking. When they come home to visit, they want me to cook, not go out.


            • x101airborne
              Club Member
              • Aug 2015
              • 61
              • Victoria Tx

              The Army ruined me on any food not home made and my tastes ruined me on most food not legally and ethically hunted, caught, raised or grown. We were always poor dairy farmers and I never knew much about grocery store anything. Huge gardens, fresh fish from the farm ponds, beef from the herd, hogs in the spring, deer in the fall. Now we are not quite so poor and can afford to buy sugar, but my favorite foods are the ones I make and grew up on. If you have never had the pleasure of being able to scrape the butter off the top of 5, 50 gallon barrels then to take the cheese curd and hang it in cheese cloths over the clothes line trust me it is a wonderful sight. We still make our own molasses, slaughter our own beef and pork, hunt our deer and feral hogs, can and preserve our vegetables from the garden. My steaks are better than any I can get in a restaurant, my fish is cooked just like I like it and even my bad BBQ is better than 70% of the BBQ shacks around here. I love home made, it made a home.


              • Karon Adams
                Karon Adams commented
                Editing a comment
                That's neat. One of the things HWMO doesn't do that I wish he would is hunt. I love venison but, since there are no hunters in my family, I rarely, if ever have any. Now, as for fish, my father was an avid if less than average fisherman. He could catch something in the pond on the farm anytime, but, off his property, he didn't catch a lot. which was fine with me. My mother and I both would say the same thing when he left to go fishing, "Don't bring home anything we have to eat!" I'm just NOT a fish person. Not much of an aquatic insect person, either, though I can do with some spider legs (crab). Shrimp? nope. catfish (a mainstay around here) not in a million years. well, maybe but I would need to be REALLY hungry. Part of my aversion to fish is the fact that, no matter what the fish or it's source, how much was being cooked or how many people were eating, if there was a SINGLE fish bone in ALL of the meal, it would appear in MY portion of fish. Yeah, if it doesn't breath air, it is going to need to be battered and fried to within an inch of my life for me to eat it. even then, we're talking a LOT of malt vinegar and salt, or worse.... ....ketchup.... Ahm, er, no, I did NOT type that word on this site. you must be mistaken.

                As for fresh milk, yup. We raised beef cattle on my paternal grandparents' farm but we always had at least one heifer in milk. We didn't make cheese with it but we did make butter and buttermilk. Much of my cooking lessons were had while I watched my grandmother with her cast iron pans while I sat, dutifully and endlessly churning!

                Home made is indeed a wonderful thing. I don't get to raise as much as my father and his family, when we moved up here to ChattaVegas, we became city mice but we have rarely gone through a summer without SOME vegetables growing. I still do that, today. and on my tiny little 75 x 150 lot, I have fruit trees, nut trees, fig trees, we have recently added 8 female Kiwi vines (which should bloom next year) and a half dozen cherry bushes. All that topped off with, currently, 4 beehives. What can I say, I get bored. then, there's HWMO and his beer brewing.

                but that's us. Home made is best made. I always felt if you hunt or garden or raise food animals, you are far closer to the real world. the further people distance themselves from their food, the less they appreciate what they have.
            • Craigar
              Founding Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 1116
              • Papillion, NE
              • * - Weber 26.75" OTG
                * - Weber 22.5" Premium cloaked in Crimson
                * - Slow 'N Sear
                * - Smoke E-Z - 26.75" (The Grain Silo)
                * - Lodge Sportsman Grill
                * - Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter
                * - Thermoworks ThermoPop
                * - Thermoworks Dot
                * - iGrill2 - 4 probes
                * - Favorite Beer - the cold one in my hand (craft beers of all flavors; haven't had a blue yummy in over 6 years) my tastes change with the season so it is difficult to name just a couple. However, I will occasionally have a vanilla porter float in the summer (Empyrean Vanilla Porter w/a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream) as I usually drink stouts & porters in the colder months, pale ales & IPAs in the warmer months. I have to add Not Your Father's Root Beer to beers I use for floats.
                * - Booze - I don't really have a favorite, but lean towards single malt Scotch & Irish whiskey
                * - Wines - Reds: mainly the heavy stuff mixed in with the occasional pinot noir ( I have yet to meet a malbec I didn't like); Whites: German & Nebraska (hey, I have to support the home team)
                * - Favorite Spice outlets - Frisco Spices in LaVista, NE (the local butcher supply shop); Volcanic Peppers in Bellevue, NE
                * - Current butchers: Just Good Meats & Fareway Foods

              Hmm...wow...good question Karon Adams. Since reading this post yesterday I have pondering your query and the one thing I keep going back to is Thanksgiving at Granny's when I was a kid. Granny & mom would be in the kitchen getting everything ready and when it came time to grind the giblets, neck meat, onions, celery, etc. for the dressing I would be right there at the kitchen table turning the crank on the grinder. This might be one of the many reasons why my shoulders give me fits from time to time. It surely isn't from the 4 separated shoulders from playing football. The scents from that kitchen still intoxicate me to this day.

              Later when I was older, maybe 10 or 11, I was so obsessed with grilling hamburgers, hot dogs and the occasional steak mom and dad broke down and bought a gas grill (very, very similar to the Modern Home Products WNK4...who knows it might have been for all I know) and I was put in charge of cooking on the grill. While that doesn't sound too special keep in mind this was back in the early to mid 70's, we lived in a small town in rural central Nebraska and the only place to buy a gas grill was from the gas utility company in town. I think they paid as much for that bad boy as they did for our first color TV. In any event, I have been hooked on grilling and smoking ever since. Now that the curtain crawlers have ventured out of the nest, I am hoping to devote more time to hone my skills.


              • mayapoppa
                Charter Member
                • Dec 2014
                • 201
                • San Francisco Bay Area
                • PBC
                  Weber 22" Kettle
                  Slow N' Sear
                  Weber Spirit Gas Grill
                  ThermoPop Thermometer
                  Maverick Wireless Thermometer

                I don't come from a cooking family, neither parents, nor their parents were much into cooking. Except for one thing, which I only found out about recently. When my mom was growing up in Virginia, on the border with North Carolina, her dad would barbecue whole pigs, ribs, butts... just sitting outside "painting a pig" as she says. My mom learned how to make ribs in the oven from him, and that was the one dish I would ask for for all year long. Money was tight for us, so it became my birthday meal. I never knew where she learned how to cook ribs, or why they tasted different from nearly every BBQ I had since, until I decided I was going to learn to make ribs. When she heard, she sent me a box of Carolina Treet sauce, and told me about her dad using this sauce as his "pig paint." Once I made the ribs, I realized the taste I had been missing. That led me to getting a smoker (a PBC), and the rest is history. Taste and smell are powerful links to our history.


                • RAmorris
                  Charter Member
                  • Dec 2014
                  • 449
                  • Winter Haven, Florida
                  • Equipment:
                    Thermoworks Chef Alarm Food and Smoker Thermometer
                    2 Landmann 2 Drawer Vertical Water Smokers
                    Backwoods G 2 Party Insulated Vertical Water Smoker
                    Brinkmann Trailmaster Limited Edition Offser Smoker
                    Weber Spirit E-310 t Three Burner Gas Grill
                    Char-broil Classic 4 Burner Gas Grill

                  My dad was killed in an accident in 1960 when I was seven, and my maternal grandfather became like a second father to me. I started cooking over a fire when I was 10 years old while on camping trips with my grandfather where we hunted and fished. Breakfast was bacon or ham, fried eggs and grits. Dinner was whatever game we killed (squirrels, rabbits, deer, hogs) or fish (bream, catfish, bass) that we caught, usually fried. Sides were canned pork and beans heated in their cans next to the fire, boiled potatoes, and sliced light bread. If we got a fat wild hog, we would grill it over coals.

                  In the 1940s, 1950s and part of the 1960s, my paternal grandmother and grandfather operated The Morris House, a boarding house in Macclenny, my hometown. My grandmother prepared all the meals for their boarding house. She had previously prepared meals for the workers in their turpentine camps. Her fried chicken dinners (lunch) on Sundays attracted customers from over 30 miles away and were written up in the nearby Jacksonville newspaper, the Times Union. I learned indoor cooking from her. It was simple southern fare. Fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried spare ribs, stewed hog backbone and rice, chicken and dumplings, meat loaf, mustard, collard, and turnip greens, black-eye peas, fried okra, butter beans, biscuits, cornbread, etc. Vegetables were cooked with smoked hog jowls.

                  My maternal grandfather died when I was 13 and he was 80. I started working cows (cow hunting) the summer after he died. It was for several families that together leased tens of thousands of acres of range land and ran cattle on it. The land they leased was so far away that we stayed there and camped on it until the round up was finished, usually two weeks. Our group was six or seven men and about as many teen age boys, plus dogs to help herd the cows. It was always the boys’ job to cook dinner and I was sort of elected to lead that process because of my earlier cooking experiences. Cooking was on metal grates over a couple of fires. In those days we had an ice house in Macclenny, so blocks of ice were brought in large metal coolers to put food on. Someone went back to town every three or four days to replenish our ice supply. The food was fried venison from deer killed the previous hunting season, grilled hamburgers, fried round steak, fried or grilled wild hog if we were able to kill any, pork and beans, boiled potatoes, turnip and collard greens homemade smoked sausage and bacon, fried eggs and grits, biscuits, etc. After the round up was finished, we would butcher and quarter a steer and cook it on a special metal grate slowly over coals. I believe this took about 20-22 hours. The men supervised this. We would take the left over meat back home and divide it up between us.

                  When I was in college living in a dorm I mostly ate at one of the college cafeterias. I was married at the beginning of my junior year (1972) and we lived in an apartment. My first wife, Nancy, was an excellent cook. Her dad was an avid hunter, and there were 12 members in his hunting club. Before we were married she was their hunting camp cook. She was running late for our first date because she was butchering a deer her brother had killed. After we were married, since Nancy worked and went to school like I did, we shared the cooking responsibilities. Her venison hash over rice was incredible, and so were her biscuits.

                  We started smoking meat over a charcoal bullet water smoker in the late 1970s. By the early 1980s we had smoked spare ribs, chicken, brisket, pork butt, salmon, prime rib, Spanish mackerel, lamb, venison and wild hog. In 1984, I had one of our welders at Tropicana where I worked build a much larger version of the bullet smoker out of stainless steel, powered by an electric coil. It had 4 large racks, but I don’t remember the dimensions. Smoke was from wood chunks placed on the coil. It worked great and would cook at temperatures from 200 to 375 F. In 1985, when the CEO of Beatrice Foods, the company that owned Tropicana, and three of their Vice-Presidents came to visit, my boss asked me to prepare my barbecue for lunch. There would be four from Beatrice and five, counting me, from Tropicana, plus Nancy, which made a total of 10. We lived on 5 acres about 30 minutes’ drive from Tropicana’s offices. Nancy and I prepared a feast of smoked spare ribs, smoked chicken and a number of sides, and served it on picnic tables under the oak trees in our back yard. From then on, every time they came to Tropicana, they asked me to prepare a barbecue lunch.

                  Nancy and I were divorced in 1987, and she got the custom made electric water smoker. Within the week I went to that welder and had him build me another one. I would often prepare barbecue for women I was dating, usually on Saturdays, and sometimes other couples would join us. My barbecue was so well-liked that Gloria, my second wife, insisted on my taking the smaller bullet water smoker on our honeymoon in 1988 so she could have my barbecue. One of our most frequent arguments was over cooking. I had full custody of my two sons, and they were always complaining that Gloria’s cooking wasn’t as good as Nancy’s or mine. Gloria was a stay-at-home wife and step mother, and believed that she should do all of the cooking but grilling and barbecuing. The day she left, a little over two years after we were married, was when my oldest son, Stephen, refused to eat her biscuits because they were dry. I offered to teach her how to make biscuits like we liked, as I had done frequently before, and she stormed out yelling obscenities.
                  Kate and I met at a business conference in California in 1990 where both of us were speakers. She was an economist for the USDA, stationed in Washington, D.C., and I was in charge of fruit procurement, juice procurement, and operations planning for Tropicana. During our first weekend together at my home on the five acres in Bradenton, I prepared my barbecue and also steamed lobster. We were married five months later, in 1991. Her hobby is gourmet cooking. In 1997, we moved to Winter Haven, about an hour’s drive from Orlando. In 1998, I started planting spring and fall gardens and we would invite guests over for freshly prepared garden vegetables and barbecue. My bad back forced us to stop planting the garden several years ago, but we still have family, neighbors, and friends over for barbecue or one of Kate’s gourmet meals frequently. I got more serious about barbecuing in 2014, found the Amazing Ribs website, and joined the pit club last December. Here are a few pictures.


                  • Breadhead
                    Breadhead commented
                    Editing a comment
                    RAmorris ...

                    You've lived an interesting life my friend. It's nice that you and your current wife both like to cook.

                    I bet you can bake better bisquets than she can.😎

                    Those are some beautiful dishes with a great presentation.

                  • Karon Adams
                    Karon Adams commented
                    Editing a comment
                    If you want to grow veggies again, I would suggest Straw bale Gardening. since the plants go into the top of the bale, no weeding, not stooping. and since those bales are each their own discreet compost pile, the plants are incredibly productive.

                    That is an incredible story. sounds like a lot of wonderful food memories. Kate is a lucky woman. sadly, while I am teaching myself as much about cooking and cooking technique as I can, mostly, I am casting my pearls. HWMO tolerates my desire to create and learn the methods of gourmet cooking. Frankly, he really doesn't care, that much. I could, literally, feed him anything and he'd not mind.

                    It's not his fault. If you had ever sat at my Mother in Law's table, you would understand. When we were dating, I lived here, in ChattaVegas and he lived in Conyers GA (southeast of Atlanta on I20, just a short 10 miles outside the perimeter). So, we saw each other mostly on the weekends. The first weekend I went down to visit, I had the chance to just chat with his mother.

                    The conversation, taking place, as it did, in the kitchen, turned to cooking. Apparently, HWMO had mentioned the home made lasagna I made for him. and she asked me about it. "It's pretty good, I suppose. Hopefully, I'll get better, but here's how I make it..." and went on to name the 5 cheeses and the general outline of the sauce and so on.

                    Then she tells me, "Oh, yes, everyone loves lasagna. As a matter of fact, Jonathan (the youngest of the 4 boys) has a friend over from school, they always ask me to make lasagna, too." I was tickled to have finally found a topic we could both discus (remembering I was a nuclear power operator. she was a bit unclear on nuclear theory). So, I asked her how she made hers?

                    "Well, it is always home made from scratch. two cans of tomato sauce and the packet of spices. I like the French's packet. The spaghetti is best. I even use two of those packets for my lasagna. and PLENTY of cottage cheese. to top it off, I have a secret ingredient, I use CHEDDAR cheese."

                    here's the part where I pick my jaw up from the floor and mutter something along the lines of, 'well, I can see there is a lot of work in that and I'm sure the family LOVES it......."

                    yeah, from that cooking background, HWMO is hardly the gourmand.

                  • Huskee
                    Huskee commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Wow, gourmet is right! Hi five.
                • RAmorris
                  Charter Member
                  • Dec 2014
                  • 449
                  • Winter Haven, Florida
                  • Equipment:
                    Thermoworks Chef Alarm Food and Smoker Thermometer
                    2 Landmann 2 Drawer Vertical Water Smokers
                    Backwoods G 2 Party Insulated Vertical Water Smoker
                    Brinkmann Trailmaster Limited Edition Offser Smoker
                    Weber Spirit E-310 t Three Burner Gas Grill
                    Char-broil Classic 4 Burner Gas Grill

                  My mother hated to cook and hated to eat. She used to say she wished there was a pill you could take so you didn’t have to eat. Before my father was killed in an accident (before I was seven), we either ate at a local diner (The Blue Haven) or at his mother’s boarding house (The Morris House), which was only a five minute drive away. After my dad died, my mother got a charge account at The Blue Haven restaurant, and we ate all of our meals that we didn’t eat at the Morris Boarding House there. But by the time I was eleven, I had learned to cook, so I cooked our meals. Maybe my mother’s disdain for cooking was a reason that I was attracted to women who were excellent cooks. My wife, Kate, plans to start a video series about grilling and barbecuing, using a Weber 22.5 inch kettle grill, and an 18.5 inch portable Weber grill.


                  • Huskee
                    Huskee commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You just might need to get your lovely wife a Slow 'N Sear for that 22" grill, and her videos!
                • Willy
                  Charter Member
                  • Apr 2015
                  • 1865
                  • High Desert of the Great Southwest

                  The "dish" that got me started on cooking was chocolate chip cookies, which I began making around 10 or 12-ish. Always loved food, all kinds of food, so it just kind of happened from there. I was a single parent for a number of years, so that prodded me, too. I made the kids school lunches, even to the point of home baked cookies. I no longer bake or do desserts (creme brulee is one exception, a very occasional chocolate mousse is another), but I love to cook--and eat! My wife is a great baker--and a darned good cook--so we're a happy household.

                  The first time I made chili, I was probably about 23 or so. The recipe called for three cloves. I used three entire heads.


                  • Karon Adams
                    Karon Adams commented
                    Editing a comment
                    My oldest kidlet inherited my cooking passion. She inherited most of my crafting tendencies. The younger is very much an artist, herself but she thinks in numbers, engineering type things. The oldest is, like me, the one who is into the do with your hands kind of thing. I taught both my girls how to spin and knit when young. Neither one was into it when they were little. the oldest has, however grown into all my crafts. another is cooking. she's pretty gosh darned good. Her favorites, like most kidlets, began with sweets.

                    She was into drama in High School. She loved doing the costuming for them. They were working on a play and, one day, she just up and decided to make cookies. she made a gross of Sugar Cookies and took them to rehearsal the next day. The kids in the play named them "Crack Cookies" because they simply could not stop eating them. She, like me, now cooks all the time. Her gift list usually comes off her knitting needles or out of her kitchen. she has grown into my crafts.

                    Amazing how much of ourselves bloom in our kidlets. I know my craft passions came from my maternal grandmother. I lost her when I was 14. She was the older sister of the Butcher uncle, his senior meat wrapper. She was always into crafts. Crochet was one of her things. I still have the Christmas stocking she made for me when I was a baby. My mother made stockings for both my girls. Her medium was Cross Stitch.

                    My Father's mom was the one on the farm. What I learned from her was practical. how to live off the land and the livestock. and she had done some quilting in her younger days. I still have just the one panel from my all time favorite quilt from her. sadly, my cousins let most of them become wet and deteriorate. I was able to get a few panels to a friend who was a quilt historian. she restored one panel for me and I have it safe. It is a pattern that is very rare. I've never seen it anywhere else and my friend had to search a LONG time to find it.

                    So, I have the farm skills, and the passion as well. When my Maternal grandmother became ill, she set out to learn every craft she had always wanted to learn and put off for "Someday. From diagnosis to death, was about 8 months for her. but, in that time, she learned macramé, ceramics, finally taught herself quilting and a few other smaller ones.

                    I do love to see the crafts picked up and passed down. My next door neighbors have two little girls. the oldest is 6 and she has fun helping me in my garden. A few weeks ago, her mom said she had seen the Disney movie Frog Prince and decided she was going to be the same kind of cook. I went out and found a cookbook, aimed at her age, that is supposed to be the recipes from each of the Disney Princesses. she is at Disneyland this weekend and took her cookbook with her to have the princesses sign it. Gotta love kids.
                • Huskee
                  • May 2014
                  • 15417
                  • central MI, USA
                  • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

                    Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

                    Smokers / Grills
                    • Yoder loaded Wichita offset smoker
                    • PBC
                    • Grilla Silverbac pellet grill
                    • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (SnSK)
                    • Dyna-Glo XL Premium dual chamber charcoal grill
                    • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
                    • Weber 26" Original Kettle Premium (black)
                    • Weber Jumbo Joe Gold (18.5")
                    • Weber Smokey Joe Silver (14.5")
                    • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

                    • (3) Maverick XR-50: 4-probe Wireless Thermometers
                    • (7) Maverick ET-732s
                    • (1) Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth (in box)
                    • (1) Smoke by ThermoWorks
                    • (1) Signals by ThermoWorks
                    • Thermapen MkII, orange
                    • ThermoPop, yellow
                    • ThermoWorks ChefAlarm
                    • Morpilot 6-probe wireless
                    • ThermoWorks Infrared IRK2
                    • ThermoWorks fridge & freezer therms as well

                    • Instant Pot 6qt
                    • Anova Bluetooth SV
                    • Kitchen Aide mixer & meat grinder attachment
                    • Kindling Cracker King (XL)
                    • BBQ Dragon
                    • Weber full & half chimneys, Char-Broil Half Time chimney
                    • Weber grill topper
                    • Slow 'N Sear Original, XL, and SnS Charcoal Basket (for Jumbo Joe)
                    • Drip 'N Griddle Pan, 22' Easy Spin Grate, and Elevated Cooking grate, by ABCbarbecue
                    • Pittsburgh Digital Moisture Meter

                    • Favorite summer beer: Leinenkugels Summer & Grapefruit Shandy, Hamm's, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
                    • Fav other beer: DAB, Sam Adams regular, Third Shift amber or Coors Batch 19, Stella Artois
                    • Fav cheap beers: Pabst, High Life, Hamm's & Stroh's
                    • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
                    • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
                    • Whiskey: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Blanton's, Old Forester 1870, Elijah Craig, Basil Hayden's. Neat please.
                    • Scotch: Current favorite- The Arran (anything by them), Glenmorangie 12yr Lasanta, sherry cask finished. The Balvenie Double Wood, also like Oban 18yr, and The Glenlivet Nadurra (Oloroso sherry cask finished) among others. Neat please.

                    About me
                    Real name: Aaron
                    Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

                    • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

                  I grew up with dad grilling burgers and chicken on the grill. In fact I remember helping him assemble hhis first Kenmore gas grill that he still has to this day. I was maybe 9 or 10 I would guess. He was never the meat thermometer type (still isn't despite my encouragement) but he hated dry burnt "hockey puck" burgers he'd call 'em, so he did pretty well with them actually, despite the fact that he hates buns and would always make burgers with bread...oh and cheese to him was and still is Velveeta. Pork chops, ugh. My mom and dad both were of the camp that pork chops had to be cooked to death to be safe. When as a kid, you're eating a pork chop and you think the whole chop is a bone, some parts are just slightly softer, there's a problem. Eventually I got so tired of grilled food that I made jokes that my dad grilled my cereal in the morning and our ice cream at night. Dad taught me hunting from an early age, and he made some mean venison tenderloin though...yum.

                  Then I moved on to spend 2 1/2 years living as a bachelor. I hated doing dishes, had a tiny apartment-sized range/oven combo, and a tiny camper sized fridge. My first meal as a bachelor was spaghetti. Two pots wouldn;t fit side by side on the rangetop. I hated the mess afterward, it sat there a while. Couple days maybe. I hired my [unknowingly future wife] as a housekeeper once a week. I worked construction, and that often entailed 14 hr workdays (once we did a 18.5 hr day- only because we couldn't count the drive home from the jobsite 3 hrs away, left for work at 6am got home at 3:30am) I was known as the grill guy for a while, because of my schedule and lack of kitchen cleanup motivation naturally led me to favoring the speed and ease of the grill. I even had a portable Weber square tabletop gasser that I took to jobsites for our lunches, meat and Powereades in the cooler. You get good at it with enough failures. One charred steak or burger when you're starving can make you pretty mad, so I got pretty good at grilling. I paid attention. I learned that fatty meat (marbling) was a good thing. Prior to that I thought meat was red and I didn't want to buy fat. I looked for the leanest meat I could find. I know, not every 19 yr old is as smart as they think. Lol. But I was on a good path in that regard. Experience equity, as I heard it worded once.

                  Fast forward a few years. I'm married with a baby. My wife's 17yr old nephew is living with us, and raves about me being a grill maestro. I do some mean steaks and chops. I bought a cheap $80 Brinkmann vertical cabinet charcoal smoker from Home Depot. I do lots of mean salmon on it. Once time we seen bits & pieces of some PBS show where they made ribs. Nephew says to me 'You know what would be awesome? if you made ribs on your smoker.' 'Challenge accepted' I said. Never dunnem, but how hard could they be? I hated restaurant ribs, dry, over cooked, covered in gallons of sauce...but I had a feeling homemade ones would be really good.

                  This was about the time Meathead started up AmazingRibs.com. His endeavor would come in handy later, although I had no idea at the time.

                  I grilled them on my smoker. No water bowl. Low and slow meant nothing to me. Food thermometers didn't exist as far as I knew, and if they did exist, they were for blue collar folk and grandmothers and those who didn't know how to grill. I knew how to grill, I thought, I'm a country boy, a hunter, a fisherman, and construction worker. I got this.

                  They had pretty good smoke flavor. They were pink, and as tough as my parents' pork chops though. Humbling. I messed this up big time. Ribs are hard. That was my excuse.

                  Thank goodness for Google and this new website called AmazingRibs, this was circa 2005-2006 maybe. I learned the pink was good, it was the natural reaction called 'the smoke ring'. I was confused as to how I overcooked my ibs and they were still pink. I also learned my ribs weren't overcooked like my parents' pork chops- they were cooked, but underdone. Confusing...

                  After I learned the ropes through Meathead's expansive, voluntary effort to educate the world on proper grilling and smoking, things improved drastically.

                  When my wife would close her eyes with first bite and go "mmm!!" instead of simply the polite "it's good..." I knew I was onto something. And when my 2 brothers in law, who I respected as accomplished grill and wine guys themselves, ask to come over to dinner here and they'll bring the wine...it was solidified!

                  AmazingRibs, along with a few helpings of good ol' live & learn, helped me view cooking not simply as a quick convenience as it was to me in my bachelor days, but turned it into something that is to be shared, an event, memories for my own kids to take with them into adulthood and parenthood. I've smoked meat for a few family reunions, mother in law's move day, 2 large graduation parties, a few candlelit intimate dinners in, and hundreds & counting of regular family night dinners. Now I'm even privileged to call myself part of the team here at AmazingRibs with the likes of some huge names in BBQ. What greater honor?...

                  Good thread Karon Adams, I enjoyed reading yours and everyone else's posts here.


                  • CandySueQ
                    KCBS President, and Moderator
                    • Jul 2014
                    • 1525
                    • Pellet Fired Jambo, T1000 Woodmaster, FEC100, MAK 2 star, Yoder 640, Backwoods Pellet Chef, 14" & 22" WSM, 22" Weber Kettle, Stoven, Hot Box Grill, Hasty Bake Portable

                    I feel like I know y'all so much better!

                    My turning point was cooking for my parents during Mom's cancer comeback. She never would let me cook in her kitchen. She was feeling poorly so I made a simple dinner of fried chicken, rice/gravy and some green vegetable. She looked at me and asked, "Where did you learn to cook?" It wasn't from her, she was not an inspired cooking person.

                    In 2004, right after I'd started cooking BBQ competitively, my Dad told me that he thought it had made me a better everyday cook. It's these things that keep me at it. After all, everybody eats!


                    • leftwngr
                      Charter Member
                      • Sep 2014
                      • 30
                      • Orange County, CA
                      • Pitmaker Vault; AZ BBQ Outfitters Scottsdale Grill; Weber Genesis; Rec Tec smoker (donated to a friend); Blackstone SS 36" griddle; a bunch of thermoworks temperature monitors.

                      My mother is/was/forever will be rather terrifying in the kitchen. Not that she hated kitchen work, just dangerous. Not the most safety conscious person in the kitchen (think burning a pot of boiling water, leaving stove on, knives teetering, etc.). Not so good when there are a ton of kids in the house.

                      Thankfully, Dad enjoys cooking. I was about 11 or 12 when he pulled me aside and told me to cook with him because "if you ever marry someone like your mother, I don't want you to starve".

                      From there I tinkered here and there in the kitchen with easy stuff and started getting pretty daring around the age of 14. By high school, I was cooking for friends which led to grilling and seafood boils. Whether for family or friends, I was always cooking for a crowd. It just went from there to my current state of obsessiveness.

                      Epilogue: Married a violinist who hates cooking... none of us are starving. Thanks Dad.




                      Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

                      SOLD OUT! Secure your spot on our waitlist now. First-come, first-served!
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                      Meat-Up in Memphis


                      These are not ads or paid placements. These Are Some Of Our Favorite Tools And Toys.

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                      If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow 'N' Sear

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                      The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

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                      Griddle And Deep Fryer In One

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                      Click here to read our detailed review and to order

                      The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

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                      The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

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                      The Undisputed Champion!

                      The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is considered by the pros, and our team, to be the single best instant read thermometer. The MK4 includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight and rotating display. Don't accept cheap substitutes.

                      Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review

                      Grilla Pellet Smoker proves good things come in small packages

                      Grilla pellet smoker
                      We always liked Grilla. The small 31.5" x 29.5" footprint makes it ideal for use where BBQ space is limited, as on a condo patio.

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                      Delta by Nuke,
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                      Weber Genesis Grill
                      Delta by Nuke burns wood or charcoal and comes with an adjustable height grill grate. This Argentinian grill will get your flame on!

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                      Genesis II E-335
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                      Webers Genesis line has long been one of the most popular choices for gas grillers. The new Genesis II E-335 offers solid performance, a sear burner for sizzling heat and an excellent warranty.

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                      GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone

                      grill grates
                      GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily rmoved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke.

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                      Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

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                      The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

                      Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

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                      Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

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                      The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.

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                      Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker

                      masterbuilt gas smoker
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                      Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!

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                      Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

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