Some of my relatives came directly from Italy so I should have known a lot about pasta. However, the fact is I just didn’t know good pasta from bad pasta. So a little bit ago I started doing some research on pasta. In learned that the best pasta is made from the best grade of stone-ground duram flour from hard winter wheat and pure spring water. In Italy, spaghetti is generally cooked al dente, just fully cooked and still firm. I also learned that pasta needs to be air dried for a long time. Also in Italy the best pasta is extruded from brass dies that gives it unique properties.

So armed with that knowledge I started looking for a really good grade of pasta. I found it on and bought some. It seems that they only sell the best in quantities of about four one pound package at time. So ,after two purchases I had eight pounds of pasta. My wife thought that was a bit too much but I assured her that dried pasta is good survival food and she knows that I am stock piling survival food and other items. We immediately found that buying this pasta was a good move. We both agreed that it was really good and we didn’t want to eat any other brand except “Rustichella” brand in the future.

So we have been eating more meals centered around pasta. We have been trying different dishes like pasta salad, pasta with meat sauce and others. This week I decided that a great meal would be linguine, drizzled with olive oil, a bit of garlic fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and smoked ham. I shredded the ham and chopped it into about one inch pieces. Then I sprinkled the smoked ham on top of the pasta. I didn’t use much smoked ham maybe two or three ounces for the two of us. I added bit of ground black pepper and a little Fleur de sol sea salt. I wish I had a picture to show you but it was so good we at it all. So guess what I am having next week. The same thing only this time I will use some smoked brisket and then some pulled pork.

Now if you try this be sure to use really good pasta and don’t cook it to much, follow the directions on the package. It really makes a big difference.

There is a new book that you can pre-order on Amazon by Myron Mixon. Don’t miss this one.

Ray Basso

This is your chance to vote for your favorite barbecue blog. The web page to do this is:

Click here to vote on your Fav BBQ Blog

I hope if you like this blog you will vote for us. But take a look at all the blogs that are being voted on at the present time. You can choose your favorite three barbeque blogs and then vote on all three at the same time.

Ray Basso


Contact: Ray Basso
Internet Consultant


Users are encouraged to discuss different types of ceramic barbecue cooking equipment – 

Kansas City, MO. August 11, 2008: In the past, forums of this type have been operated by equipment manufactures that restricted the discussion to their own ceramic BBQ products. This new “basic forum” encourages free open discussion about all types of ceramic cooking equipment. Product comparisons are encouraged. 

What people are saying about this Ceramic BBQ Forum.
Testimonials from the forum:
1. Posted by stike on August 08, 2008 at 11:44:52: “Funny that this hasn’t come about sooner. It’s a good idea.”

2. Posted by Sundown on August 07, 2008 at 20:41:37: “It’s about time we had something like this…. This should be al lot of fun like back in the “old days.”

3. Posted by Poppasam on August 05, 2008 at 12:16:50: “This will be as great as the BBQ Forum for us Ceramic Folks. As a total ceramic team I look forward to thought and ideas on what we are doing from others.”

4. Posted by Old Dave on August 05, 2008 at 06:42:38: “Thanks so much for starting another great forum. I am sure it will soon be one of the best locations on the web for the ceramic owners.”

About the Ceramic BBQ Forum.
The Ceramic BBQ Forum was started by Ray Basso the moderator of the World Famous BBQ
. The BBQ Forum was the very first Internet Forum about BBQ that was started in 1995. Since The BBQ Forum’s inception over 650,000 messages have been posted to the BBQ Forum. 

The Ceramic BBQ Forum will also be operated and moderated by Ray Basso. The advertising on the
Ceramic BBQ Forum will be provided by

# # #

If you’d like more information about the Ceramic BBQ Forum or the BBQ Forum, or to schedule an interview with Ray Basso
and click on the contact Ray link.

His posts on the forum come from the enigmatic handle, Ford. Just one word, like Prince (or whatever he calls himself these days). But if you’ve been around the forum and the competitive bbq life for a while, you really don’t need to know more than that one word.

With his wife, Carol, and their pooches, Ford has been competing and racking up trophies and ribbons under the Great Lakes BBQ and Feed Co. name since 2001 and along the way they’ve taken many others into their tent and helped them get their starts, as well.

Always generous with advice and recipes (including his legendary breakfast beef tenderloins), Ford has a straight-shooting, clear headed style for posting, and a fairly well respected sense of style in living (wearing Wingtipped shoes in a severely muddy competition in Texas is the way they seem to remember him down in the lonestar state), such as the ‘colorful’ shirts he and Carol wear to the Friday night parties at competitions.

Others remember his readiness to share advice and guidance on cooking temps, times and recipes, or his cooking with Long Island Bob Regan and other members of the U.S. Air Force at the American Royal in 2003. Ford is proud of his country, the young men and women that serve for us all, and cooking bbq. I can’t think of too many better examples of people giving back to all of them at once.

Ford and his stogie

Name? Ford Alison

Where From and/or where do you currently live? Grew up in Toronto and moved to Michigan in the early 90’s. Currently live in the country with a mailing address of Sparta MI.

Married, kids, etc…? Married Carol in the early 90’s. Neither of us had children prior to our marriage so our “kids” are our dogs – Becky, Max, Jim and Candy. Candy is our pup at 2 years old and the others are all between 9-10. All 4 are Brittany’s and both Jim and Candy were rescues form American Brittany Rescue. We’ve brought them to a few contests in the past and they are great QC inspectors. My only problem is that they think other teams food is just as good as mine. Wouldn’t make very good judges as they don’t take time to look at presentation before diving into the box. Good place for a judges joke here but I don’t bash judges anymore, just the system.

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend,etc please mention)? I’m a Project Management Consultant for PM Solutions, Inc based out of Philadelphia. We provide methodology/process improvement in the Project and Portfolio Management areas as well as extended staffing for managing large projects.

We’ve started to do a little catering but it’s limited due to my travel schedule and contests on weekends. My goal is to eventually retire or go part time with consulting and augment my income with catering.

# of pits and what are they? I now have 3 FE’s as my main cookers. I also have 2 BGE’s – XL and L that are for sale. I also have a Weber kettle with rotisserie, WSM and Smokey Joe. And I own a Weber Summit D6 with the smoker attachment.

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles? Never tried it.

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved? I’ve been a griller for many years but living in Toronto, BBQ was not a big thing in the 60’s- 80’s. But travel introduced me to slow smoked food and when I moved to Michigan buying a smoker became a priority. And that was before I found the BBQ Forum so I learned a lot reading some books and just experimenting.

Favorite thing about bbqing? It’s my favorite relaxation from work. Whether a competition or preparing dinner for just the two of us, it is therapy for me.

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)? I found it in 2000 and did my first post o10/25/2000. I first found competition BBQ and the websites when I judged the 2000 State of Michigan championship. A pit was there with a website and that led to the Forum.

What was your first pit? My first pit was a Charbroil charcoal bullet – charcoal fired, then an el cheapo Brinkman offset. I graduated to a Klose Mobile Catering Rig and sold it when I bought a Klose 36”x8’ with fajita grill and 2 burners. Then reality set in and I bought a 16 foot enclosed trailer – 8.5 wide and added an FE100.

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)? Baking actually – I learned from my grandmother and she was a great baker. We’d visit her most weekends as I was growing up and the house always smelled of fresh baking. There would be pies, cakes and cookies ready for us. Then I said something about wanting to see her bake and next thing I was making chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been hooked on cooking ever since and still have that recipe. I know it was before my brother was born so I was probably about 5.

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc? I use all hickory pellets now. Like Pecan chunks when using the Kettle to do chicken. On the offsets I always burned a mix of hickory and apple. Charcoal – Royal Oak lump. Rub & Sauce – for competition I use Slabs and at home I like it as well but also play around with many rubs and sauce. Now for beef tenderloin I like either Slabs beef or Dizzy Pig Cowlick as a rub and no sauce.

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)? Tough – I guess finally winning Grand Rapids in 2007. But my first contest where we didn’t get a call, so tired we could barely stand up and got the score sheets and finished 9th overall was enough to get me hooked. And that judging experience in 2000 where I first saw the world of competition BBQ was just overwhelming, especially when I called a few places and asked about the cost of smokers.

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when why? Sure. But not at the big chains like Damons, Applebees, etc. I look for local places and for competition teams that also have a restaurant. I spend a lot of time on the road and some years eat 150+ dinners at restaurants so I get to try different places. Some good, some not so good. I use the Forum to help find these places.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie,etc…whatever you want to include.
Music – a C&W fan as well as pre 1970 rock and roll. Most times however music is a background filler for me.

Books –I love to read and spend hours doing it. Mystery books – love Robert Parker.

Other than sports on TV I don’t really watch a lot. Some Food TV stuff and some home improvement shows are OK. Movies are OK when they come out on DVD but I rarely do the cinema thing anymore.

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)? Hard to say but probably a good steak, nice and rare. But I enjoy a lot of different foods leaning toward Tex-Mex, Chinese, Cajun and some seafood. And I love my wife’s Creamy Chicken Enchiladas.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food? I usually drink Red Dog. I like most beers although heavy dark ones limit how much I can consume.

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)? I get a kick out of the food pics that Chez posts these days.

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)? no comment.

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why? Yes – but I don’t keep it up to date and no longer send it out.

Many people (even in the bbq world) may not know the name Ray Lampe, but if you say Dr. BBQ, most will nod with recognition. Some may even have some non-family-friendly things to say. But as they always say, actions speak louder than words. In Ray’s case, this means alot.

His list of awards and trophy wins is constantly growing, he was a member of the KCBS board, is the spokesperson for the Big Green Egg cooker, and he’s been seen on television beating some of the biggest names in competition barbecue.

Dr. BBQ is also an author who’s numerous books can be found in almost any bookstore in the country, and on the shelves of many a serious ‘quer as well as many lists of the best bbq cookbooks. The good Dr. also tours the country teaching bbq classes and writes a column answering readers’ questions in Fiery-Foods & BBQ magazine. He was recently asked to teach bbq at the historic Greenbrier in West Virginia, where Steven Raichlen held court for many years.

His commitment to promoting and sharing his craft is undeniable and when he’s not out competing, teaching or helping others hands-on, he can be found on any number of bbq forums answering questions to help others improve their own art. His straightforward no nonsense style may not always win him friends, but there’s no denying it is authentic.

His new book, The NFL Game Day Cookbook is set to be released in June, 2008

Take it away, Doc….

Name? Ray Lampe aka Dr. BBQ

Where From and/or where do you currently live? I was born in Chicago and lived in the suburbs until 2000 when I moved to Lakeland, Florida where I live now.

Married, kids, etc…? Single

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please mention)? I’m a full time BBQ man. I’ve written three books on BBQ and one on tailgating. I write the “Ask Dr. BBQ” column for Fiery Foods & BBQ magazine and I’m the spokeschef for Big Green Egg. I teach BBQ competition cooking classes. I do personal appearances for businesses and stores. I’m one of the new BBQ instructors at The Greenbrier in West Virginia and once in a great while I do a catering job.

# of pits and what are they? I was telling someone the other day that I don’t actually own any BBQ pits right now. I work for Big Green Egg and have 2 medium eggs, two large eggs and an XL egg around here and the guys at Cookshack keep me in a loaner FEC100 all the time and then there’s that FEC500 in Tampa that I have access to so I guess I don’t need to own any. I do have about 10 grills in the shed and on the patio but they don’t get used.

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles? My buddy was a welder and we made a grill out of a big toolbox once and a few barrel grills but that was a long time ago.

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved? My first crack at real BBQ was actually my first cookoff. It was a rib cookoff in 1982 in Grant Park in downtown Chicago. I read up a little and cooked some pretty good ribs on a borrowed Weber kettle. I didn’t win anything but it was the beginning of an amazing trip.

Favorite thing about bbqing? The people I’ve met and the places I’ve been able to go to.

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)? In about 1998 my neighbor got a computer and got hooked up to the internet. She didn’t really know what to do with it and neither did I, but we somehow found the BBQ Forum. It was so lean back then that we weren’t really sure it was even alive. The functional internet was very new at the time. A short while later I got my own computer and started reading the forum daily and soon began posting.

What was your first pit? My first BBQ cooker was an el cheapo Brinkman but my first real pit was a Jedmaster on a trailer. It was one of the first ones built.

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)? Apple Pie in high school foods class. 1972

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc? I like to cook with lump charcoal and 2/3 cherry and 1/3 hickory wood for flavor. I’m also a big fan of pellet cookers.

My favorite sauce is Gates Original and my favorite rub is my own Bonesmokers. As an exotic rub I like Dizzy Pig Tsunami Spin. It’s great on chicken.

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)? So many to pick from. Getting a jug at the Jack or a trophy at the Royal are up there. I got a special award at the cookoff in Lebanon this year for Blazing the Trail. That was pretty special. Getting elected to the KCBS board was quite an honor. First Grand Championship in Michigan in 1994 was very cool too.

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when why? Yeah, all the time. I like restaurant BBQ much better than contest BBQ. Every time I go somewhere people want to take me to the local BBQ joint and I don’t mind. They’re usually pretty good. Of course I ate in many BBQ joints all over the country while I was writing BBQ Road Trip. I like going to Big Bob Gibson’s and Arthur Bryant’s. I like Cozy Corner and Black’s and Clem Mikeska’s and Interstate and Dreamland and Blue Smoke and I recently ate at Hill Country in New York and it was good too.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you want to include. I just got a new Voyager phone and the first album I downloaded was John Prine Live. I listen to John Prine all the time. I like the same music I did 30 years ago. The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Little Feat.

I like South Park.

Movie? Blue Velvet.

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)? I love to eat the native food wherever I am. Cheese Steaks in Philly, Italian Beef in Chicago, Lobster in Maine. If I’m cooking it’s something braised. Lamb shanks are my favorite.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food? Old Style. It’s not the same great beer that it used to be but the memory still serves me well. I drink more Hard Lemonade than beer these days. With food I’d rather have a Diet Pepsi.

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)? I’m a real straight shooter and I expect the same from others, so I like it when bullshitters get caught bullshitting.

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)? The threads from the soap boxers that think they can really bring a light to the subject at hand and everyone will understand and agree. Get serious.

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why? Yes, I have and a bunch of other addresses. They all point to the same site though. I am fascinated by the internet so when having your own website became doable I jumped in. Ray Basso helped me out (and still does) and we put up a fun website. These days it’s professionally done and strictly business, it’s been a very good tool for business.

Photo of Ray Lampe by Michael Carabetta

Been way too long since I wrote an article. I guess that’s the way life tosses you around in her sea of volatility. Nevertheless, here I am again. A lot has happened since the last article, and as luck would have it, season number 3 is magic for us. We took our first GC in Clinton IA, managed to squeeze into the Royal with the minimum number of teams rule, which also made us eligible for the Jack Draw. In keeping with the spirit of our semi-charmed season, we got our name selected as the delegate from the Iowa contests for the Jack. Are we the best cooks that won Iowa contests this year…heck no. I guess we used a little skill to put us in a place to benefit from a little luck, and that’s what happened this year. And this good fortune has firmly placed me back in the ranks of a Newbie…or at least I’m getting to experience things for the first time.

Newbie experience #1: Winning a Grand Champion. Was an absolute thrill. It also felt like a little burden had been removed. Sure it was a load I put on my own shoulders, the knowing I had pretty good food most of the time, and that eventually those 4th place finishes will turn into additional walks to the stage. That day on the Mississippi River was grand in all ways possible. The people of Clinton and the bevy of volunteers make this a great contest. I got the lucky draws that day, but that newbie experience, the thrill of finally satisfying that GC goal, was unforgettable. Most important though, my family, even some extended family members, some good friends, and of course several BBQ friends who have been so encouraging over the last couple years, were there to share in the excitement.

Newbie experience #2: Waiting for the Royal Invitational letter and the notice letter from the Jack Daniels. Not knowing what to expect, I spent the next couple of months wondering when those notices will come. Some time in August, I opened the mail box and saw a nice envelope addressed to me from the Jack Daniels Distillery. My heart raced as I thought for sure this was it. Strolled into the house, opened the envelope and pulled out its contents. To my surprise, it wasn’t a letter of notification about the Draw, it was an invitation to become a Tennessee Squire. Wasn’t what I was expecting, but it’s a darn cool honor nonetheless. So thanks Keith for the nomination :-). A couple weeks later the rest of the mail started trickling in, from the Royal, and of course the Jack. Simple communications, that spoke volumes. There, I had accomplished some other goals, getting those invitations to cook, or enter the Draw. At the same time, there was a sense of humility that came with those letters. Oh I knew the other cooks who were also receiving them, folks I most often can only admire from afar. I knew how little I really know and understand about BBQ, yet I was being allowed to play in their field. Again, just feeling lucky.

Newbie experience #3: September 6th, 2007. My wife’s birthday, marathon Jr. High parent orientation that evening ruining the possibility dinner w/ my wife. And for those of us in the BBQ world, the day of THE DRAW. There we sit, hitting the refresh button on the Forum. Again unfortunately for me, got busy at work and couldn’t even do that. I checked every now and then, saw friends getting their chance at the dance…I was thrilled for them. I was standing at the copy machine, like any good office worker should be, when my phone went off…Seth Porkrastinators scrolls across. I saw they just got a bid, had to answer it to congratulate them. I say “hello”, and the reply “Dude, congratulations…” “No WAY”, I belt out, having the sense to step out of the office, but not before I got some pretty strange looks from my colleagues. Couple phone calls later, I’m still in disbelief. Once again this wonderful year’s luck gives us a nudge. My heart raced, I could barely talk, and nobody in my office could even come close to understanding the excitement I was experiencing. I’m not sure that was the birthday present my wife was expecting, but at least she was excited for us.

Newbie experience #4: watching others play, while you stay home. The first couple years in this passion, I could pretty much pick and choose when I wanted to cook. For the first time, the months of August and September had too many other conflicts that didn’t allow me the time to dedicate to doing competitions. Don’t get me wrong, I have not one regret about choosing some other things over BBQ, Dad’s 75th birthday, a weekend w/ friends we hadn’t seen in nearly a decade, and soccer games every Saturday. It was a bit of a wake-up call, that there are other things in life that are just as fulfilling. And most of them are about family. For our family, the best balance is when the support for mutual interests is balanced. In the summer months, the scale tips towards BBQ, I just guess it was time to rebalance. Sure I missed out on some things I really wanted to do, cook in several contests, participate in the Royal open, but again, its all about achieving a net balance on our limited time. Maybe next year.

Newbie experience #5: humiliation on a grand scale. Alright, that’s a little severe, but one lesson was learned; cooking the Royal Invitational after 8 weeks of down time is not a good idea. First of all, getting the Royal was an adventure in itself, new trailer, new truck, first time to the Royal. Getting situated to cook in the new trailer was a little difficult. Dealing with the spectacle of the Royal, unreal is all I can say. A little luck blessed us that day. We got a call in Pork, took 14th place, but the rest of our food, just a little piece of humble pie. Funny thing is, I thought it was very fair. My scores were fair. I don’t have a single complaint about how I was judged. Even with the humbling results of the invitational contest, I had a great time and hope I have that honor again.

A week later, we cooked another contest, little better results, in chicken, ribs and brisket. Seems they didn’t like our pork. Someday they’ll all hit.

Newbie experience #6: Jack week anticipation. This one is interesting as it’s multifaceted. First, of course there’s the thrill of prepping for what some consider to be the most prestigious BBQ contest. But honestly that part is about the same as for any contest. You still have to purchase your meat, greens, prepare rubs, sauce, or marinades. You still ponder best driving routes to a new place. This will be our last cook of the season, so there’s bittersweetness associated with that. I have told myself, I just have to get there and enjoy the contest for all it has to offer. I won’t let myself get worried about everything. This might be a once in a lifetime event for myself and my family. I wouldn’t want anything to get in the way of me enjoying everything Lynchburg, Tana, and the spirit of the Jack has to offer. In that sense, it’s the most relaxing competition I’ve prepared for.

Newbie experience #7: On 7/7/07, we took our first GC. My birthday’s on the 7th. I was accepted as a Tennessee Squire in 07. I have a daughter who turned 7 this year. 7s have been lucky, very lucky for me this year. So, I’d like to thank good Old Number 7 for the luck we’ve had this year. And when you get a chance, raise a glass of Old No. 7…here’s to…BBQ 2007, thanks for a great year!!!

Joey Mac

On the bbqforum he is just known as Salmon, but his friends know him as Rick. Visitors to the forum may first hear of him through mention of the famous, Rick’s Sinful Marinade, a tasty and effective way to finish off a brisket. The recipe is one of the most frequently requested from the bbqforum archives. It’s just one way in which Rick has given back to the community, generously, just as he did when he served on the streets as a police officer. Community obviously means alot to him. Lord knows we appreciate all that he’s shared. Take it away, Rick…
Rick Salmon

Rick Salmon

Where From and/or where do you currently live?
Olathe Ks., a suburb of Kansas City.

Married, kids, etc…?

Married for 30 years to Denise with two sons, 22 and 23. The youngest is a firefighter and the oldest one is a professional student/world traveler.

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please mention)?
I retired in 2003 after 26 years as a police officer. Since then I have worked in a middle school, a halfway house and at Smokin’ Guns BBQ restaurant and Oklahoma Joe’s restaurant. I am currently back at the police dept as a 911 operator, the most fun job I’ve ever had.

# of pits and what are they?
My main competition pit is the Good-One 42-24 or as the new owners of the company call it, the pit boss. Additionally I have 4 WSM’s, a Beefeater gas grill (that does not get much use), a hand full of Weber kettle grills and two Traeger pellet grills, the 070 and the now rare 015. The Traeger 070 is my favorite cooker of all time so far.

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles?
I have never made my own pit. If I was good at that sort of thing I would love to make a pit out of an old ice machine, pizza oven or something along those lines.

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved?
Growing up in Winston-Salem NC I remember my parents going down to Lexington NC for bbq. I loved that smell but as a child I stuck with the burger and fries at that time.

Favorite thing about bbqing?
I just love cooking barbeque, love experimenting and just seeing how good I can get it to turn out.

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)?
I found the forum back in 2000 if I remember correctly. I was complaining to someone about the judging at a local contest and he brought me a copy of a post from the forum that related to my complaint. Found it on line and been visiting it ever since. I have made some really good friends on the bbq forum. Juggy was the first forum regular that I met and we have been friends ever since.

What was your first pit?
Like a lot of people my first pit was the $19 Brinkmann water smoker. Only thing I ever cooked on those was turkey legs. I used to love turkey legs. Before that, and after as well, I did bbq on a Weber kettle grill but the Brinkmann was my first real pit.

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)?
As a pre school kid in North Carolina I used to make my mother lunch from time to time. Started out with the cheese and pickle sandwich on white with Mayo.

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc?
I love guava wood for chicken and turkey and sometimes use it on ribs. Everything else I use cherry now days. Used to burn apple but the next door neighbor was having a large outdoor get together. I was cooking some burgers on the Weber and tossed in a chunk of cherry wood. It drove them crazy and from then on almost every time I cooked she would run over and want to get a brisket.

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)?
I should say that my favorite memory was one of my few grand champions, however I’m going to go with the Marshalltown Iowa contest in 2005. Friday night Old Dave, Scottie, Juggy, db, Rod Gray, mike/hawgeyes, clone and may more gathered together in my cooking spot and we spent hours talking and laughing.

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when why?
I don’t eat out very much. I will go to Oklahoma Joe’s as it is close to home and they have extremely good food. If someone got some of their take out and turned it in at a bbq contest they could win money, very good bbq.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you want to include.
I’m a rock and roll guy with some blues added in. Love the 80’s hair bands. Movies, Outlaw Jose Wales probably my all time favorite. Don’t watch a lot of TV but Oprah is good….nah just kidding, I am addicted to Prison Break and more recently The Real Deal on TLC, that guy is a go-getter.

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)?
My favorite food bbq or not is hamburgers. I don’t get to cook them much but I really love them. Wish KCBS would have a hamburger category with open garnish and buns.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food?
I do like my Stella Artois however, for an old retired guy on a fixed income I do like Busch Light.

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)?
I like the long ones where people reveal a little bit of themselves, where they live and work, what bbq team they are on, thing like that. Some people are so mysterious. Speaking of which, I do love Dylan’s cooking experiences on the rare occasion he post them.

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)?
Well, for the most part I taught myself how to cook barbeque and did a lot of experimenting along the way, trail and error. It gets under my skin when people plan on entering a bbq cook off but then ask how do you cook a brisket. I am of the opinion that one should be fairly proficient at cooking bbq before entering a contest, my thoughts anyway.

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why?
No web site nor are there any plans for one in the future…..

As part of two succesful competition teams (Tom and Josh’s Orgasmic Slabs and The Music City Slab Pals), a traffic-cop for the KCBS office, Vice President of Kookers
Kare and Editor of the Kansas City Bullsheet, Stephanie’s time is spread pretty thin. Nevertheless, she still finds time to walk the stage for an award, spend time with her son, teach classes around the country and to participate actively in the discussion on the bbq forum. Take it away, Steph. 

Name? Stephanie Wilson
 Where From and/or where do you currently live? Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri

Married, kids, etc…? Single. One son, Brent Richardson.

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend,etc please mention)? Office Manager/Editor of The Bullsheet KCBS; Partner in The Slabs, LLP (; Vend, Cater, Vice-President of Kookers Kare, member of Tom & Joshs Orgasmic Slabs aka; member of The Music City Slab Pals.

Number of pits and what are they? New Braunfels The Boss smoker/grill (had a buddy make mods on it and painted it engine orange!); New Braunfels Bandera; Old, old Brinkmann offset, when they used heavier steel; Fiesta gas grill, numerous kettle grills in various sizes, bullet smoker, and a tall tower smoker thing, I
can't remember who makes it but I got it for 20 bucks because it was missing a screw. Part owner of a Lang 60 (, and an Southern Pride BMJ 200. I think
that's all. Kyle solely owns the Lang 84.

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles? Uh, No! Nobody needs that.

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved? My mom smoking rump roasts in a bullet smoker when we were kids. I also remember begging to have my fifth birthday party outside at a local park so we could have grilled hamburgers and chicken. My birthday is the first week of
March €¦they did it.

Favorite thing about bbqing? The people. Being able to have our families involved. Mainly having Brent involved.
He's getting ready to start driving with a permit in a week, so, maybe when's
he's a full-fledged driver, instead of driving off, he'll drive to meet me at a competition.

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)? 1999, 2000? I found it through work.

What was your first pit? My very own was The Boss.

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)? Helping my great grandmother make homemade flour tortillas on Saturday or Sunday mornings.

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc? I like pecan wood, the smell of it on a cool brisk
morning . Charcoal, Royal Oak Charcoal .. Rub, The Slabs Kyle Style Perk Up Your Pork and Wow Up Your
Cow . Sauce, The Slabs Kyle Style Complete Your Meat ..this is starting to sound like an
infomercial .

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)?
I'd have to say I have two. Laurie Missouri 2000, the first competition we had ever won. My Dad and Mom drove down just to watch the awards. They had started late, and they were going to leave and my Dad said, out of all the years
I've been at the racetrack early, they'll live if I'm half an hour later than
normal ..and we won and they were there. The second would be the American Royal Invitational 2003. We
didn't get any calls in any of the categories and we were Reserve Reserve Grand or whatever they call 3rd overall and both of our families were there, including my Dad. Everybody was stoked. That was his last Royal, he passed away two days after the Jack that year.

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when why? Oklahoma Joes, either one, 47th Street or Olathe. The beef is fantastic and the fries are even better! Why, because I like it.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie,etc…whatever you want to include. Music, mainly 70's, 80's, Rat Pack era,
I'm pretty flexible. I just don't like “twangy” country. Books, I don't really have time to read. TV shows, mainly the nightly news. Movies, I
don't really have time to go to the movies.

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)? Beef. Pretty much says it all.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food? Bud Light. Cocktail hour, Jack Daniels.
I've also taken a liking to Patron Tequila.

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)? Anything that
doesn't include: “Haven't gotten my Bullsheet yet”

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)? “Haven't gotten my Bullsheet yet”

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why?
We started it in 2004 to promote our pork rub that came out in, the sauce
followed in October and the beef rub in January of 2006. Basically,

Many people know of Rodney though his participation on the board of KCBS, and others have seen him tearing up the competition circuit. He’s one of those rare cooks that seems to win on whatever he cooks on– pellets, sticks, it doesn’t seem to matter. He’s got alot of cookers to choose from. And he wins alot. He is also a gentleman, and a true ambassador of the sport.

Pellet Envy's Geer

Name? Rod Gray

Where From and/or where do you currently live? Kansas City, USA

Married, kids, etc…? Married for 14 years to my wife Sheri.

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please mention)? Small business owner for about another month. After that, it’s going to be an adventure. I think it finally time I decide what I want to be when I grow up.

# of pits and what are they? Five. Pits By Jambo/Jamie Geer trailer mounted traditional offset, three FE-100’s, two of which are mounted on the back of our S&S Weekender trailer, and a stainless steel Hasty Bake Legacy. Also, people don’t know this about me, but my first big pit was a JR Enterprises 28 x 72 mounted on a trailer made to replicate those trailers he builds.

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles? Nope, never made my own pit. I’m not very handy and there are too many really great choices out there. When I’m rich and famous I want to add a FEC-750, Spicewine, and Backwoods Piglet to my collection. Oh, and a Big Green Egg, specifically for cooking pizza.

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved? My roommate my senior year in college and just after, bought an inexpensive bullet type smoker at a deep discount. This was in 1988. I think he might have paid a whopping $20 for it then. He slaved over that thing one windy, frigid January Saturday out on our apartment deck, starting at about 5:00 a.m. His fire went out numerous times that day, and he had to constantly do something to it most of that day. As I was headed out for the evening, he and his girlfriend were just sitting down for dinner. He excitedly offered me a piece of his brisket. He was so proud of his accomplishment. That brisket was absolutely horrible. I remember thinking I will NEVER invest that kind of time and trouble to cook something like that’s I should really get in touch with him. I haven’t talked to him in probably 20 years and I think he’d be surprised where I’ve ended up regarding barbecue.

Favorite thing about bbqing? My favorite thing about bbq is the passion people feel for it. I know no other topic that such a diverse group of folks can feel so passionate about. Also, I love the joy it brings people. Friday night at a well attended cook-off can be the best place in the world to be. Folks forget about their problems and worries and just enjoy each other. If we could bottle and sell that, we’d be rich beyond our wildest dreams. Oh wait, I think somebody has, it’s called the Clone-cicle!

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)? Oh, I remember I had watched a couple of FoodTV shows earlier that week. My office manager, Jennifer, invited me to come out to the first Kansas Speedway event where her team was competing. So, Friday evening a good friend of mine and I headed out. There were over 200 teams on the infield of the track. It was blazing hot out, yet all these people were having so much fun. As we walked around, everybody was hosting parties and their sites were decorated. Then, as I turned the corner of a row of cookers, I spotted Dave Klose and Paul Kirk. Having heard of Paul, and having just watched Dave Klose on the Food Network that week, I headed straight for them. Paul was busy, but Dave welcomed me into his camp and treated my like a friend. It was right then and there that I decided I had to be a part of competition barbecue. When I got home I immediately went to the internet and searched for anything barbecue. Only a few clicks into my quest for knowledge about all things bbq, I found the forum. That was in the summer of 2001.

What was your first pit? Hasty-Bake Legacy, stainless steel. Of course, I’m not counting a couple Weber kettles I owned before that.

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)? When I was eight or nine, I remember cooking breakfast for my sister on one of those little fold over hot plate things that would make/fry square hamburger patties. The first barbecue I remember cooking was ribs on a gas grill. The recipe included putting them in a paper bag to rest. The first thing I tried to tackle on my first pit (that Hasty-Bake) was whole briskets. For me, that was a horrible experience. Hasty-Bake makes an absolutely awesome grill. However, that particular cooker in stainless steel is not a great choice on which to cook 15 lb. whole briskets. I had to tend that thing about every forty-five minutes. It reminded me a lot of my roommate and his bullet smoker, and the product was about the same. It was an expensive lesson, but it taught me a lesson about my roommate’s first attempt at briskets After about two months of tending that cooker, I was driven to find a more relaxing automated system.

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc? Everybody that knows me knows I use Smokin’ Guns Hot rub and Blues Hog bbq sauce. Phil and Linda Hopkins, and Bill Arnold are really great people and make great products. My favorite pellets are Fast Eddy’s hickory/oak blend. So far, my favorite wood for cooking on the Geer pit is pecan. I’m a big fan of lump charcoal and really like the Big Green brand.

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)? I have a lot of great, great memories of competition barbecue. Our wins in Vegas, the GAB Invitational, and Probably my favorite competition memory is when our original team, Extreme Pork with Mark Darrah (Henway) and Dale Eason (Meat Hider/Whiskey Bump/Lettuce Beotch) won the first ever ABA contest. It was in Brainerd, Minnesota in 2002. I can’t remember how many teams, but I€™d say about 25. We only got two calls, one for winning pork and then immediately next for tenth place brisket. We had absolutely no idea we could be in the running for overall. They called out the RGC, who I think was Famous Dave’s. I don€™t think we were even focused on hearing who was about to be called for grand champion when they shouted our names over the P.A. system. I will never forget that feeling. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when why? You know, I am so tired of my own barbecue, I tell people I hate barbecue. Anyone who cooks twenty plus contests each year knows what I mean. However, I love to go try barbecue restaurants. My current favorites here in Kansas City are Oklahoma Joe’s, Jones, and Smokin’ Guns. Honestly though, I have met very, very few barbecue meals I didn’t find something about I liked. I love the beef and a half sandwich at Arthur Bryant’s and Gates. I also love the beef sandwiches and the fries from Rosedale. Man, I’m making myself hungry.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie,etc…whatever you want to include. Wow, my answers here are not going to be very deep or interesting. My favorite artists are Phil Collins (Genisis and solo), The Eagles, John Fogerty (both with CCR and after), Queen, Styx, Boston, Electric Light Orchestra man, this list could go on forever. The strange thing is that most of those groups are from the 70 and I discovered music in the early 80’s.

My all time favorite movie is Arthur with Dudley Moore. He had lots and lots of great one-liners in that movie and he played a great drunk. Other classic movies include Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, 48 Hours, The Jerk, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Bull Durham, Major League . . .look what you’ve done. There are so many!

I don’t watch much TV. I’ve seen every season of Survivor and I’m a big fan of the Soprano’s and 24.

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)? Pizza baby!!! Much like barbecue, I’ve never met a pizza I didn’t like. Never tried to make it at home, well unless you count those Chef-Boy-Ardi box pizzas we used to whip up when we were kids. There’s no real place for this, but I don’t do fish or seafood, except fried shrimp. I only eat things with noses. Probably a little too much info, but folks are always surprised by that. I’d say that’s because of my size.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food? My favorite beer in this order (are you paying attention?): Your beer, free beer and cold beer. I don’t drink much at contests. Folks think I don’t drink at all. Those that know me know that I love to have a social drink or two. I worked as a bartender and DJ all through college. Rolling Rock was my beer of choice for many years and that was before anyone had really heard of it in the Midwest. There have been so many micro brews that come and go and I love” Flying Monkey, Pony Express, etc. Now a Boulevard Wheat or a Leinenkugle Red is always welcome. Drinking whiskey sure looks sexy to me, but I just have not acquired a taste for it. So, if there is no beer, give me a gin and tonic.

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)? My good friend Tuffy Stone was the first one to point this out to me, but my favorite thread is the one where everyone listed their occupation. That was an amazing thread. As a group, I think we could change the world with all of the knowledge and positions our collective members hold.

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)? Isn’t this one completely obvious yet? It’s the “outlaw pellet cookers!” threads. If you can’t beat us, join us! Enough said.

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why? Richard Sterling created a website for me when I decided to run for the KCBS board. I don’t know if I ever properly thanked Richard for that, so thank you Richard. It has not changed a bit in two years. My 2007 New Year’s resolution is to make a fun, functional site!

I want to add something that wasn’t asked. I want to thank all of the people that helped me get where I am in barbecue. It would be wrong to mention them by name. I know I would surely forget someone. There are so many to thank. From people who invited to me to my first contest as a visitor and a dishwasher, to all of the people who offered help and advice along the way. Thank you all. I’m still learning, but I have many, many people to thank for how far I’ve come and where I am now. I only hope I can do the same for somebody else. Finally, I want to thank my wife. She is such a big part of my life, including the barbecue part. I love her deeply and could not have come this far without her.

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