Matt Fisher Profiles of BBQ Forum People

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

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.

By now most of you have heard that Scottie Johnson of won the Jack Daniel’s Invitational this year. His story (Told to Ray Basso in a podcast here) is dramatic and moving in the way that touches on the most elemental parts of life– dreams fulfilled and the tragedies that accompany them. It’s the kind of story Hollywood likes to tell. Those who know him from the Bbqforum know about his wit, his sarcasm, his Cancer research foundation which has raised tens of thousands of dollars for research, and his Thanksgiving recipe for White Castle stuffing.

Name? Scottie Johnson

Where From and/or where do you currently live? Originally born in Glen Carbon, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis. Moved to Riverside, Illinois when I was 4 years old. Currently I live in Westmont, Illinois

Married, kids, etc…? I am a widower. My wife Corliss passed away in 2003 from complications from cancer. I have 2 daughters, Zoe, age 9 and Lexi age 5.

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please mention)?
I am currently a Manager of a Litigation Department of a major Chicago Law Firm. I will have my 20th anniversary in a few weeks. I also run a 501c3 foundation that raises money for cancer research. I started that when my wife passed away. That in itself is almost a full time job, even though we do not have any paid staffers.

# of pits and what are they? Geez, now I am going to have to show my addiction. I have a FE-100 that I use for my competition cooking, 2 WSM’s, a Weber gasser, 4 Weber kettles, 2 Weber tailgaters, and about 5 or 6 Weber Smokey Joe’s. My newest addition is a large Big Green Egg.

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles?
That’s too much work. I would rather go and buy one and make it work to how I want it to….

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved? My dad was terrible at grilling, as he overcooked everything. So at an early age, I always stepped up to try my hand. Up here is Chicago, we called grilling BBQing. People still call it that up here. My goal is to change everyone’s thinking…

Favorite thing about bbqing? It’s comfort food. It’s also a good release for me to be able to hang with my friends on the circuit that almost feel like family. I guess in a way everyone is all family.

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)? I found the Forum in 1997 and if people can believe it, I didn’t say a word. I lurked for the first year. Honestly, it scared the hell out of me the knowledge that people had on the Forum. I probably started to get active in 1998.

What was your first pit? ECB… Man were those things terrible…

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)? I started at an early age wanting to learn to cook. I think the first thing I made was some pan seared pork chops… Probably around 9 or 10 years old…

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc? Hickory or apple for wood. I am still a fan of Kingsford charcoal. Rubs that I like are Smokin Guns, Mary’s Gourmet, Head Country and Dizzy Pig… For sauces, I love Blues Hog, Texas Rib Ranger and Mary’s Gourmet Teriyaki/Pineapple marinade.

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)? Well obviously winning the Jack Daniel’s will always be my most memorable competition memory. But winning the BarBQlossal with Rod Gray and Steve Farrin will always remain high on my list. I will always credit those 2 for showing me the way. They are class acts.

Scottie Wins GC at Jack receiving GC at the Jack 2006


Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when why? I don’t eat BBQ out. I am too critical. Although I do like to go to Uncle Bub’s BBQ restaurant in Westmont. I don’t eat their BBQ but I do like just about everything else that they have on their menu. I cook almost every weekend in the summer, so I am really pickled from eating BBQ. It doesn’t sound or look good to me, when I am in competition mode. My kids love eating it though, so we have to have it a couple of days as leftovers in the summer months…

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you want to include. I like just about every kind of music. I can listen to rap to classical. My favorites are the old school blues though. Nothing beats a good John Lee Hooker album.
I enjoy those reality TV shows, as they do not take much to think to watch them. Lately I have been renting movies and I end up not watching them. But if I was to have to choose an all time favorite, it would be Caddy Shack or anything with John Belushi…

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)? My girls and I go out for Greek food probably 3 or 4 times a month. I really like ethnic food and living in Chicago, we have a lot of choices. I also love Chicago favorites, of pizza, hot dogs/sausage and of course Italian Beefs.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food? My favorite beer is New Castle Brown Ale. Probably my favorite beer to drink with bbq is Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)?
I like to have fun. Talking smack is one of my favorite things to do. Although I am not very good at it… 😉 Sometimes people take me too serious and they quickly turn in to my least favorite threads. But having fun should be number one. Life is too short to worry about the small stuff.

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)? Honestly, it is people wanting to jump on the Forum and expect to be cooking championship BBQ with us giving them all the secrets. I hate that. I do not understand why people will think that we will give up all of our secrets for some stranger? Cook thousands of pounds of meat like some of us have done and find out for yourself. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not think that some newby coming along looking for information is the same. If you hang around long enough on the Forum, you eventually will see the one’s that want to cut all the corners.

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why? My websites are, and They are all linked to the same site though. Gerry “ShoddyHog” Schatte does all the work for me, so my foundation looks good.

Her recipes are the stuff of legend on the forum and she is one of the more genuine and enthusiastic posters and learners around. With her husband, Robert, Keri C.–as she’s known on the forum–has been wading into competition
cooking and judging. They have also been busy giving back to their community by
donating their time and skill to cook for evacuees of Katrina and to organize Senior Q
events. She also doesn’t seem to have any trouble standing toe-to-toe with the ‘big boys.”

Name? Keri Cathey (husband is Robert). Competing occasionally as HOT WIRE BBQ, and judging over a four or five state area.


Where From and/or where do you currently live? Born in small town McAlester OK, living in Broken Arrow OK (a suburb of Tulsa) since 1994.

Married, kids, etc…? Married since 1980 to a very dear man named Robert who proudly wears the title of Towel Boy 1st class (now if I could just teach him what the duties are that go along with the title, I’d be in good shape!) No kids.

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please mention)? CPA, BS in Finance and Computer Information Systems, MBA with emphasis in Business
Systems, Paycheck supplied by doing financial forecasting with electric utility company for the last ten years, after spending fourteen years in public
accounting. I don’t do catering or vending unless you count cooking for friends and neighbors, or contributing to the potluck events of the seniors’ apartment complex where my grandmother
lives. I have those dear folks positively addicted to pulled pork these days. If I had to cook for a living I’d go broke, because I like to give it away too much.

# of pits and what are they? Two well-worn Weber Smoky Mountains, and a Diamond Plate Products
"Fat 50" (31 sq ft of cooking space, purty chrome wheels, and two authentic chrome Peterbilt
stacks. My favorite color is chrome…)

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles? No, but Robert is beginning to contemplate trying his hand at making a Stumps-style cooker.

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved? The earliest memory I have of barbecuing is of helping my great-grandfather with a pig-pickin’ in Murrels Inlet, SC. I was about five or six at the time, and Great-Grand-Daddy was in charge of the family pig-roasting for our family
reunion. He and I were quite fond of each other, so I finagled my way into staying up to
"help" him. I got to carry wood and even mop the pig a few times, and felt quite

Favorite thing about bbqing? We just like feeding people. Sitting out in the back yard at 2:00 in the morning, watching the stars, watching the smoke wisp in and around the limbs of the pecan tree, and listening to the coyotes’ serenade is kind of nice, too.

Another couple of favorite things of mine involved in barbecuing are my hand-made BBQ trays, made for me by some of my older South Carolina Hughes
cousins. They make BBQ trays and bowls from the trunks of the centuries-old Tupelo trees that are being unfortunately clear-cut from the marshes of South Carolina where Revolutionary War General Francis
"Swamp Fox" Marion reaked havoc on the British forces. The tray below is a small one – they make them large enough to hold a 200-lb whole hog, and families in the Johnsonville/Hemingway SC area borrow and lend the big ones back and forth for those
occasions. For size comparison, this tray is holding a pulled 9-lb pork butt (across the back side of the tray behind the ribs), a 14 lb packer (you can see the partially sliced flat across the front side of the tray), 4 full slabs of spares, and 6 hot links (part of a feed we did for a couple from Belgium that was touring the US a year or so back).
Keri's Tray

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)? I appear to have made my first post on the Forum in 2001. I honestly don’t remember how I found
it. I had been absorbing information on the old original BBQ Porch list since it was the Rick Thead list – I started there about 1998 or so, I think, and it seems like I heard mention of it on there.

What was your first pit? Robert and I received a good old-fashioned ECB Brinkman bullet from my grandmother soon after we got married in 1980, upon which he did quite a few tasty turkeys, but we didn’t get much beyond that until later
on. We didn’t know anything about fire control, air flow, or anything like that – we just put charcoal in the base and a turkey on the top, and watched that LOW-IDEAL-HIGH monitor like it was
gospel. And we ate it, whether it turned out decently or not.

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)? The very first thing I remember cooking is when I was probably about 4 years
old. My grandmother had given me a lot of her old spices and staples that were out of date and due to be
trashed. I took them all to my grandfather’s old BBQ grill on the patio along with some old pots and spoons, and I proceeded to mix, blend, and create the most delectable treats imaginable in my pretend kitchen (without fire, BTW – she drew the line at that). Around that same time frame I remember catching some small crappie whilst fishing with my grandfather – he quickly cleaned them for me and skewered them onto a sharpened stick, which I then held over a small fire and roasted right there by the
creek. Oh, and my Easy-Bake oven that I got when I was in kindergarten – can’t forget

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc? As far as wood, we like pecan and apple the
most. And peach, after they’ve been pruning the local peach orchard, as we have access to the trim piles in exchange for a slab or two of

My uncle is a retired "pecan doctor" – a horticulturist specializing in pecans – and has a large pecan grove about 90 miles from
us. Whenever he has a tree that he plans on removing at some point, he ties a big yellow ribbon around it which signifies it as ours, whenever we want to come cut it

Charcoal – Kingsford and Ozark Oak. 

Rubs – Smokin’ Guns Hot, Cimmaron Doc’s out of Grove OK, Head Country out of Ponca City OK, Blues Hog out of Perry MO, various Chris Lilly recipes that I’ve

Favorite sauces – Head Country, Blues Hog and Blues Hog Tennessee Red.

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)? Our graduation from enthusiastic observer to a higher level of participation at barbecue competitions happened several years ago all because of Candy Weaver, and I don’t think I’ve ever thanked her for
this. Candy was coming  to compete in Sapulpa OK several years ago, and invited us to come visit during
"social hour". We brought a cheesecake and a couple of six-packs of Shiner to contribute to the evening’s victuals, and little did we know at the time the caliber of those with whom we were
socializing. This is where we first met Merl and Carol Whitebook, Donny and Cindy Teel of Buffalo’s BBQ, Don and Sharon of Smokers Wild, Darcy Hicks of Ring of Fire, Mike and Debbie of Lotta Bull, Phil and Linda of Smokin’ Guns, and other outstanding
teams. I think it was at that same competition that I also got to meet Elizabeth, the 6-ft pet boa of a friend of
Candy's. Tell me – if a 6-ft boa decided that it suddenly wanted to crawl down inside your shirt to stay warm, what would YOU do??? 

Another fond memory of a competition was Steve Marr’s Rocky Mountain cook-off in 2004. Robert and I judged there, and I noticed while we were waiting for the awards ceremony that Steve was just getting started on writing out all those checks and seemed very
harried. I took a wild chance, walked up to the table where he was working, told him I was a CPA, and asked if I could help in any
way. He took me up on it, and I wound up in my own little room off to the side making out the checks while Steve took care of other
matters. I guess that was what started me and Robert in the habit of trying to help out where we could at

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when, why? Very rarely anymore, as we’ve become spoiled BBQ
snobs. Exceptions: Mac’s in Skiatook, OK – he used to compete, and has various 1st and 2nd place plaques on his wall from both the Jack and the
Royal. Nevertheless, an excellent restaurant. "Serious Texas Barbecue" in Durango, CO isn’t bad, either – he’s a Beaumont boy, and does a respectable job at
it. Otherwise, it’s pretty much "Cathey’s Café" for barbecue these days, though we don’t cook that often just for
ourselves. Oh, another one called "Split Rail" near Coweta OK is quite good,
also – don't know the owners yet, but that's just a matter of time. 

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you want to include. Well, let’s
see. Robert and I like to do a bit of cross-country motorcycle touring when we have the
opportunity. We have a pair of black Honda Gold Wings – some of the readers have probably seen us show up on them at various comps where we were either judging or supplying strong backs and weak minds to Merl and Carol for whatever use they might have for us at the
time. I’m also into genealogy, and the collection and restoration of vintage fountain

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)? Good Thai food – love to eat it, haven’t mastered it at home by any
means. I’m a hardcore cookbook collector, so my focus is pretty wide – I’m not a foo-foo cook,
though. I’m much more of an old country style cook, I suppose. Home-style Italian, country-style Louisiana dishes like etouffees, gumbos, and the
like. Since Robert and I have been on Weight Watchers so long, I’ve learned to take our old favorite recipes and
"skinny" them down so that we can still enjoy a healthier version of our old
favorites. Coq au Vin has rarely been seen in our house – beans, cornbread, and fried ‘taters are still a favorite.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food? Sweet iced tea or lemonade with
food. Shiner Bock or my grandma’s homemade "Country Champagne" on the rare occasion that I drink
beer. Dalwhinnie single malt scotch or Gentleman Jack, either neat or on a single ice cube with a little splash of branch water if I’m imbibing a bit more strongly.

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)? Now that’s a hard one to
answer. There have been so many that I’ve enjoyed immensely that I can’t narrow it down to
one. All of the recipe threads, of course, I enjoy. And the ones about what the various individuals on the board do for a
living. And the results reports, of course – it’s great fun to look down the results lists around the country and see so many names of people that we’ve had the honor of meeting over the last few
years. And anything posted by Chez and the Denver Cajun, of course!

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)? Moaning and complaining about KCBS
judges. Makes many of us who try to do a good job at judging wonder why we even bother with it
sometimes. (Unless we happen to be competing at a given competition, and then we’re liable to complain about those idiotic tasteless DSJ’s as much as anybody else.)

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why? Starting in about 1996, I had a website dedicated to dog treat
recipes. It was called the "Golden Bone", and I had a large Mastercook text file there that people could download for
free. I received e-mail from all around the world from people who had downloaded the
recipes. Many non-profit organizations used the recipes in the file to create canine cuisine cookbooks to sell to raise money for rescue, spay/neuter programs, fund-raisers to buy bullet-proof vests and protective boots for police dogs, all sorts of great
causes. It disappeared earlier this year when my ISP shut down suddenly, and I just haven’t put it back up
yet. I’ve set up web pages for other people, but I’m just not really inspired to do one for myself.

Probably most famous for his big pots of competition Gumbo and his pizzas, Steve is one of the more humble and generous members of the bbqforum. He is always willing to give advice, but is willing to admit that he may not have all the answers.

In his ‘real’ life, he is a Deputy Fire Marshall/Investigator in Colorado– he’s one of those brave and noble people that save lives while we’re all tucked up in our beds. Thanks, Steve. That’s a brave way to pass the time.

 Steve in Denver













Name? Steve Marrs    

Where From and/or where do you currently live? Henderson, Colorado  31 years.  Born and raised in central Illinois 

Married, kids, etc…? One daughter and a 22 month old  grandson – Jameson 

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please mention)? 
Air Force vet, paramedic for 7 years, 29 years as Deputy Fire Marshal/ Investigator.  Spent several summers installing irrigation sprinkler systems and landscaping…that was before BBQ.  I do limited private catering for groups less than 300.  During the week I figure out how fires started, on weekends I try to keep fires burning.

# of pits and what are they?  Primary pit is an FE100 mounted in a 5×8 enclosed trailer. Several kettles, WSM. SNPPs, a ceramic.  Last count was a total of 17.   

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles? 
No, but do have the plans drawn up for a 500 gallon propane tank offset. 

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved?  My dad had a brick bbq in the back yard.  It was always special when he fired it up.

Favorite thing about bbqing?  Seeing the pleasure of people eating good bbq.  Meeting and enjoying time with other teams at competitions. 

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)?  July, 2002.  First time I had heard of competiton bbq, all the result of the application page in the back of the KCBS cookbook.  It’s been all downhill since then. 

What was your first pit?  Brinkman SNPP, made all the mods before I ever fired it the first time.  Did a wedding reception for 60 a month later. 

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)? Senior year in high school did a full blown Italian dinner with bread sticks for a class project. 

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc? 
Cherry, pecan and hickory. 
Duraflame hardwood charcoal. 
Rubs and sauces all come from Forum members.  

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)? Frisco – 2002, was my first ever comp.  Osage City with Rick Salmon got my first ribbon (3rd in dessert)  Frisco- 2004, first comp on my own, 6th in ribs, first in pork and 4th overall. 

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when why?  No…sick of eating bbq.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you want to include.  Don’t have time for much TV, haven’t been to a movie in a couple of years. 

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)?  Anything that starts or ends with Cajun!

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food? 

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” 
if you want)? 
The ones that are a simple question that get 200 responses. 

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)? Egos and flaming…just not needed. 

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why? Yes, but it’s inactive. right now.





Those of you who have seen Darcy’s posts on the bbqforum know that he is a straight shooter that has no trouble speaking his mind. He is also quick-witted and a believer in the hard work school of achieving success. He gives out plenty of good advice and is quick to say that his way may not work for everyone, but trial and error are the key. He’s also willing to put his money where his mouth is and give back to the  community, such as helping to cook for 1,500 evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. Just don’t expect him to give away all of his secrets, grasshopper. 

Name?  Darcy Hicks, Ring of Fire BBQ Cooking Team

Where From and/or where do you currently live?    Cookson, Oklahoma

Married, kids, etc…?  Divorced, no kids.  Currently looking for a wife with garnish skills.

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please mention)? Professional Land Surveyor, 30 years Volunteer Firefighter/Emergency Rescue, Owner of DH Smokin Custom BBQ & Catering

# of pits and what are they?
JR Enterprises 28”x72” stick burner on a 18’ trailer,
Backwoods Fatboy
Cookshack M160
Ok Joes 16” offset
Hasty Bake
A couple of Charbroil Charcoal Kettles
Homemade Stick Burner

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles? Yes, my first pit was homemade, about 25 years ago when I thought I new what I was doing, I had my first pit built, it was mounted on mobile home axles. It was basically a rectangular box. It cooked good enough though. I got my first ribbon ( 5th place ribs ) with it on my second contest.  

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved?  My earliest memory of any serious type of bbqing was with my family. About 25 years ago, my family owned a mobile home park and someone came up with idea for a 4th July BBQ. A good friend of mine Duane Boyd, brought his pit and taught me how to use it. I was hooked. He also taught me the intricacies of cowboying, my roping skills resembled that of Billy Crytal’s in the movie “City Slickers”.  Duane also taught me how to make my first rub, it consisted of lemon pepper and seasoned salt. 

Favorite thing about bbqing?  Making it all come together. Combining raw meat, seasonings, marinades, smoke and heat, finishing sauces, bastes etc and producing a finished product that makes people brag about what they’re eating.

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)?  I found the forum in 1998 when I was searching for information on competition bbq. I found out about KCBS at the same time.

What was your first pit? My first pit was a homemade rig I had the local welder build. It was basically a rectangular box with an enclosed firebox mounted on mobile home axles.

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)?   Nachos

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc?

Favorite bbq woods are: hickory and pecan

Favorite charcoal: Ozark Oak Natural Lump (although I have done well with Kingsford briquets ).

Favorite rub? That’s easy, its DH Smokin’s new “Rock Yer World” Brisket Rub, due out soon.  I have used different sauces from Head Country, Blues Hog and 4 Men & a Pig and others with success with all of them. 

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)? Ponca City, Ok, 2003…my first Grand Championship.
2004 American Royal, Boys from Tornado Alley, Grand Champions
2006 American Royal, Habitual Smokers, Grand Champions
Both teams are good friends of mine and if I can’t win I can’t think of anybody else more deserving to win.

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when, why?   Yes, but I limit myself. There are a few joints that I still like to frequent that can please a competition cooker. One of these is my long time favorite, Wild Horse Mountain BBQ in Sallisaw Ok. Another is Macs BBQ in Skiatook Ok. Mike and Debbie still compete.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you want to include. Rolling Stones, David Allan Coe, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Howlin Wolf, John Lee Hooker, BB King & Eric Clapton.

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)?  Cajun baby, crawfish ettoufee, shrimp scampi, gumbo, Cajun crab cakes.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food? Shiner Bock

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)? Theres been so many… One of my favorites was when someone posted that he had a question but it got cut off and the only thing posted was “I have a questi”. Me being the smartass that I am posted a reply saying that I had a Questi model 250, stainless steel, stickburner / pellet eater combo. From there the thread blossomed with all the other forum regulars chiming in. I think the latest model was the Questi 2500 that burned rocket fuel.

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)? That narrows it down to a few thousand.  I guess my least favorite thread is by those cookers that can’t understand why they didn’t win their first contest. Or the same cooks that want all the secrets handed to them without any of the blood sweat and tears involved. It seems to bring out the harsh reality in my answers to them. I’m not very diplomatic or politically correct. I say what’s on my mind and sometimes get flamed for it.  Hard truth…some bbq cooks have fragile egos and don’t want to hear the truth.

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why?
No site




While he doesn’t post often on the bbqforum, people are probably familiar with Patrick’s work at and In the last few years his work has been popping all over the place with bbq teams, restaurants, and businesses all around the USA and the world. His reputation for speedy, friendly service and his ability to ‘get it’ in a hurry makes him a pleasure to work with. (Yes, he did my logo, too…).

Patrick and family

Name?  Patrick Carlson

Where From and/or where do you currently live? Born in Wichita, KS but raised and still live in Valdosta, Georgia

Married, kids, etc…? Wife, Jennifer; twin boys; Alex and Ben

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please mention)? Full time freelance cartoonist.  Work from home office.

# of pits and what are they? Only BBQing I’ve done is from a 10 year old gas grill from Sears….and I usually burn everything that I try to cook.

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when
Sonny’s  BBQ (don’t kill me)

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie,
etc…whatever you want to include.
  Classic rock, any movie except chick-flicks.

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you
eat most often when not eating bbq)?
Seafood!  I love seafood!

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food?  No beer.  Coffee!  I love coffee!

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why? and  I began drawing when I was in middle school.  Been drawing cartoons ever since…on my notebooks in school, on the bulletins in church.  Drew all the time.  Went to college and got a degree in Early Childhood Education (while trying to have my cartoons published – I chose teaching because it was a good, steady job that would allow me the time to work on my cartoons).  After college, I was a youth director in a local church and then moved into public education teaching 5-8 grade (science, math and social studies)  After teaching for almost 6 years (and freelancing with my artwork on the side) I realized I could make, and was making, more money on the side with my artwork than I was teaching.  So, in October, 2004, I quit teaching and began working fulltime at home with my cartoons and illustrations.  Since then, the business has grown.  I’ve done several children’s books, hundreds of shirt designs, mascots, logos, web graphics.

I actually got into BBQ logos by accident.  I did one logo about 3 years ago and then heard nothing for about a year.  Then I got another logo that was referred to me from the first logo.  Then it just snowballed.  People were referring me all over the place.  But it wasn’t until people began listing my logos on the BBQ forum when the BBQ logos exploded.  I’ve done over 500 logos (that count was taken several months ago – I haven’t made a recent accounting of how many I’ve done)  I will say this, the people I’ve met through the BBQ logos have been the nicest, most down-to-earth people I’ve done work for.  I love meeting people from around the country (and the world – I’ve done BBQ logos for people in Germany and the Middle East!).
I just want to thank all the BBQ’ers out there.  Ya’ll have been great to do business with!  Now, if I could just learn how to BBQ!


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