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What was your first experience with BBQ?

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    What was your first experience with BBQ?

    My sense here is that everyone has that experience with BBQ at some point that makes them think:

    1) I can and should make BBQ better than this


    2) As part of my childhood, I was taught to make good BBQ or had it easily available with local places

    3) I have had some great ribs or something else and I would like to make my own probably because I cannot find anything comparable locally

    I am curious about the differences between folks that join our community in their 20s, 40s and 60s, and maybe why the bug bit them so early or late in comparison.

    I should add that BBQ maybe means considering more than burgers and hot dogs on the grill.

    My dad made BBQ chicken on a 1970's Sears and Roebuck aluminum grill that was painted orange. That was the best effing chicken I ever had. To this day, BBQ chicken is my go to best dish. I love all other forms of BBQ including brisket. But chicken is what hooked me.


      Growing up my parents didn't do much of what I would consider BBQ, and we sure didn't eat out much. Mostly my dad overcooked stuff on a crappy charcoal grill in the 70's. I think I got into BBQ through restaurants in the 1980's, and that is about the time my dad built some smokers as gifts for customers - I have one of them still today. Most of what he cooked on it was chicken - leg quarters or split chickens, and he was very good at it. My dad also got the first Weber gas grill they put out around the early to mid 1980's as well, and we grilled a lot on that. But I think it was those chicken halves in the mid 80's when I was in college that hooked me on grilling and smoking.



        My first experience with "good" BBQ was eating Swiss Chalet ribs in Canada probably around 10 years old. I am sure if I ate them now, they would be bad, but 10-year old me loved eating a full rack of ribs plus fries at Swiss Chalet. I would starve myself all day when my parents would tell me we are going there and stuff myself full of ribs.

        Never over the next 20 years had ribs that really compared.

        Finally, after reading this site for ages and buying a PBC, I made my own ribs. And I liked them. I felt they finally measured up and exceeded my Swiss Chalet ribs of 20 plus years before.

        My parents certainly never made ribs, and if they did, they may have boiled them. We are British. I am sorry in advance.

        And thus, zero credit was born.


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Don't feel bad. When I got my first grill and was living by myself 165 miles from home, I called home asking how to cook ribs on the grill, and was instructed to cut them up into 3-4 bone sections, BOIL them, then grill with some BBQ sauce to finish. And I did it that way for a while. They were tasteless and tough. Horrible.

        • IFindZeroBadCooks
          IFindZeroBadCooks commented
          Editing a comment
          smokin fool I attempted to make the Swiss Chalet sauce recently based off an internet recipe. I thought I was making the rib BBQ sauce but it actually ended up being closer to the chicken or fry sauce they serve and thus wasn’t what I wanted.

        • Murdy
          Murdy commented
          Editing a comment
          jfmorris I think that boil and finish on the grill method was pretty common 50 years ago, I recall receiving similar instructions from my grandma (who otherwise was a fantastic cook).

        We would get ribs from a place called The Rib Joint. In the Mon Valley, ribs were grilled rather than smoked, but they were still pretty good. They had a sauce called Batman the would burn your lips right off your face. Mon Valley bbq sauce isn’t sweet, it’s savory, and tastes like pepper.

        When we went to buy ribs in the store, being dumb kids we would buy the meatiest ones... that were marketed as country style ribs. We bought KC Masterpiece sauce and grilled them, then simmered them in the sauce for about an hour. Truth be told, they were pretty good. But being dumb kids, we didn’t want to spend our money on what looked like a big pile of bones!


        • xallanx
          xallanx commented
          Editing a comment

          The Rib Joint, down by the banks of the Monongahela River with an open pit barbecue grill manned by pit bosses mopping on the Batman sauce. Open until they ran out. A blast from the past.

          Here we go Steelers, here we go!

        I grew up just outside Tulsa, so it's not too surprising my Dad cooked on a Hasty Bake in my earliest memories from the mid 60's. He didn't grill burgers: my Mom made smash burgers on the stove inside every Saturday. He did a lot of chicken and did skewers with beef, ham, chicken and veggies. My grandfather had bad teeth, so he'd throw a one or two pound chunk of bologna on with the food for the rest of us (I'd always steal some of that with the rest of my food). In retrospect, he did a great job on those cooks, but I didn't pay much attention to how he did it. Got a Smokey Joe in grad school and upgraded to a Brinkmann smoker a bit later, so my BBQing has gone on more than 40 years now.

        Edit: I see there's also the question about barbecue we had available. This has triggered memories of barbecue restaurants we frequented when I was little. Seemed like we only ever got chopped pork sandwiches, and thinking back, I loved the stuff then but compared to what we eat now that stuff was vile.

        And, oh yeah, our family also found the country style ribs, my Dad did those on the Hasty Bake and so they were one of the few things I did on the Brinkmann besides turkey.
        Last edited by Jim White; June 5, 2021, 09:26 PM.


          My parents never had a grill - ever. My Dad did build a wood fired griddle in the mid '60s. The griddle was big enough that he could, (and did), fry fish for the whole neighborhood. Neighbors would bring the sides, table, and chairs. Fun times.

          My first experience with BBQ was in the early '70s. My Dad and I had an annual fishing trip that took us to different locations, but mostly to Back Bay on the Southern coast of VA. On those trips, we would travel US 460 from Richmond to Back Bay. One time he stopped at a new place for lunch named Cowling's BBQ. The pulled pork was a revelation. I had never had anything like it, and, to me that's the way pulled pork is supposed to taste.

          The thought of making it myself never entered my 20 something mind. Then the Navy made it impractical. Next came marriage and living in apartments. When we finally built a house in the early '80s, I bought a Kettle, then a gas grill, and back to a Kettle, and then a Cookshack electric smoker, and back to a Kettle again. All this trying to make some decent pulled pork. I had some success, but joining The Pit is when it all started to make sense. Now I do almost all the cooking inside and out, and I like it.


          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment

          For me it was growing up and every Thanksgiving, my dad would make BBQ turkey. He'd carve up a bird and place the individual pieces on the grill (which was similar to the present-day PK360s). Soaked hickory wood chips and the turkey was basted with Kraft Hickory Smoke BBQ sauce.

          When he passed away in 2009, I tried my hand at BBQing....it was an abject disaster. I didn't give it a try again until late 2018 when I found this site. And here I am.

          While I have found far better flavors and means of cooking turkey on the grill and/or smoker, I need to do that Kraft-basting-direct-grilling method again....just to relive a treasured part of my childhood.

          I actually still have my dad's grill. It's sitting in the garage and is in perfect shape, except for the grill grate, which is rusted and warped. All I need to do is find a grill topper (I think I have some....) and I could easily do this again.


            I don't recall my family grilling anything. But during a Missouri family vacation, I was about 10 yrs. old, we went out to a place serving all you could eat hickory smoked ribs and shrimp. The ribs and shrimp were cooked directly over hickory, served without sauce, and I remember thinking how awesome the food was. I can almost taste that food today. I also remember a table of four adults sitting across from us who obviously didn't eat out much. They were confused by the wet naps given out at the end of the meal. After they figured them out and cleaned their hands one of the men also used them to wipe down his armpits, Weird how some memories stick with you


            • RonB
              RonB commented
              Editing a comment
              Sounds like a real high class place.

            • Starsky
              Starsky commented
              Editing a comment
              The thing is, it was a nice place

            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              Welcome to Muhzurrah, LOL!
              Yup, some of us'ns don't git to town, very often...

            Option 3 for me. From Pennsylvania in my 30s and my childhood bbq experience is the synthetic bbq flavoring on potato chips and sunflower seeds. Didn’t think anything of barbecue until I was on a business trip to St. Louis a few years ago and got real ribs from a local joint. I bought a smoker a month later…


              We had 8 people in our house when I grew up so we didn't go out to eat that often. Dad had various grills like they all did in the 60s and 70s. The square one that lasted a year or two and a hibachi to take on picnics. He cooked, grilled, an assortment of meats during the warm months in NJ. We eventually got a Weber kettle which I kick myself for not saving from the trash. I remember him cooking a whole turkey on the Weber and this became a family tradition even after his passing about a year after I graduated high school. I took over control of the outdoor cooking even doing the turkey that I would receive from work during the holidays. Married and in VA in our first house I had a couple of gassers. Missed playing with fire and bought a Weber kettle.
              What drove me here, the free side, was the search to do better wibs. Oh boy things have changed. I now look forward to shopping with Mrs. H so I can look at the meat selection. Kind of freaked her out at first.
              I now make the majority of the breakfasts and as many dinners I can outside year round.
              Last edited by HawkerXP; June 7, 2021, 02:53 PM.


                Every day I fall in love with BBQ, I will never let my love grow old, I will always keep it new.


                • Mr. Bones
                  Mr. Bones commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Preach Th Word, Brother!!!

                  Right there beside ya, lever action Winchester '66 Centennial 'Golden Boy' in one hand, Mason Jar in th t'other...

                  (What could possibly 'go wrong'???)LOL

                  Jus gimme Lotsa PBR cans, fer targets, an I'll amuse my danged ol self, Amigo!
                  Last edited by Mr. Bones; June 6, 2021, 01:08 PM. Reason: +)

                • Mr. Bones
                  Mr. Bones commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Bottles'd be jus fine, as well, btw...
                  PBR wise, reckon I thought that was what we'uns was discussin

                  Save th bottlecaps: I'lll make hatbands...

                  PBR Never goes outta style, Sir...

                  I've drunk enough PBR to float multiple Carrier Task Forces indefinitely.

                • Troutman
                  Troutman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Then what about PBR? Two loves? Why can't we go on as three?

                My first memory of BBQ was going to the volunteer fire departments in the mid to late 80’s for their benefit chicken BBQs. Half a chicken slowly grilled over charcoal that was marinated in oil, vinegar and their secret blend of spices, a foil wrapped potato and a pile of iceberg lettuce with a cherry tomato and a couple pieces of carrot.

                I can’t recall when I had my first low and slow BBQ.


                  Growing up in the 1950s in New Orleans where the food was great BBQ was almost nonexistent. I remember having ribs once which I thought were great. I tried my hand at it when in my twenties, but the results were terrible. My interests picked up when I moved to Texas, but without a coach and unable to afford books, if any existed on the subject, my efforts remained mostly on the poor side. After figuring how to use a cheap water smoker and being able to afford a few books things picked up. By the time I retired I had a pretty good handle on low and slow, and now I am working on upping on grilling skills.
                  Last edited by LA Pork Butt; June 8, 2021, 05:52 AM.


                  • Mr. Bones
                    Mr. Bones commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Very Much Enjoyed yer Journey, Brother... Mirrors my own, in many ways..., except th inconvenient fact that you finally succeeded, vs me

                    An, yet, here we is, today, huh???

                    Love ya, mon cher!
                    Last edited by Mr. Bones; June 7, 2021, 10:15 PM.

                  • LA Pork Butt
                    LA Pork Butt commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Mr. Bones it is hard for me to believe you haven’t succeeded in turning our good Q.

                  Growing up, I remember Dad BBQing on a brazier (those shallow-pan cookers), with a half-round wind shield.
                  When I got married, I started cooking (on a little Hibachi) because ... that's what husbands do.

                  Edit: My first 'step up' was discovering the apartment complex had natural gas grills. Unused, the grills were covered in pine needles by the overhead trees. I thought I had made the 'big leagues' when I could walk out to the BBQ area, and fire the grill up instantly!
                  Last edited by SmokingPat; June 6, 2021, 07:58 PM.



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