November 2006

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.

Saturday 04, November 2006

 Scottie Johnson – 2006 Jack Daniel’s Winner

podcast iconScottie was the winner of the 18th Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. The Jack Daniel’s Invitational is one of the most prestigious barbecue competitions in the world. Teams from across the United States and around the world compete in the categories of Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder, Beef Brisket and Chicken.

44:32 minutes

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.





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