He may be familiar to you from posts under his team’s name– The Pork Jesters (TPJ), or because of his quick wit, straightforward style or his willingness to share recipes, tips and ideas. He started posting on the Forum about 7 years ago and the thing that has struck me most about Odis has been his openness through the inevitable tragedies of life, his love of family, and his ability to pull himself back off the pavement and stay passionate about life, love and cooking. He even reached out to me about my mother’s battle with Cancer while trying to make sense of the loss of his wife. It meant alot to me, and tells me the kind of guy he is. Thanks, Odis.

Odis with his favorite pit

Name?
Odis Wilkinson – The Pork Jesters on The Forum and I’m sure a lot of other names are circulating for me.


Where from and/or where do you currently live?
If you really want to know “where from” my family has been traced back to Belfast Ireland then to the Jamestown Colony in 1760. I am originally from Yazoo City, Mississippi and am now living in Vicksburg, Mississippi. I just can’t leave the Mississippi Delta so I reckon Willie Morris was right when he said, as I was mixing his scotch and waters one night, “The Mississippi Delta always calls its people home, that’s the Delta voodoo.” Maybe there is a team name here, Delta Voodoo Smokers. Yep that’s the next name for a team.

Married, kids, etc…?
Recent widower so I reckon I’m single. I have two boys, 7 and 4. Both like bbq and grilled foods. They say it just tastes better and I have to agree.

Profession
Sales Manager for a precious metals material sciences company with headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My territory is the Eastern US seaboard, Mexico, and Brazil.

# of pits and what are they?
Stumps GF223 and a Cajun Grill w/ smoker box.

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles?
No, but I have helped fabricate a couple of behemoths. I have a design for an insulated “offset” that I hope to build this summer. I really like cooking on an offset style cooker but have never had room to park one so verticals have been my choice from necessity. I have just bought a house with a large yard so I can start putting out southern yard art. Isn’t a large, trailered bbq pit southern yard art?

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved?
My earliest memory of bbq starts in the 70s with political cookouts around Yazoo City. You show up, get fed, and listen to what the candidate(s) have to say. I will be hosting a couple of these this summer during my brother in-law’s campaign for circuit judge.
I really became exposed to real bbq in the early 80s with pig pickins in the Mississippi Delta around Cleveland, Rosedale, and Merigold. In the Delta, the summers are blistering hot and cooled down by an occasional breeze of mostly warm air. At the pickins, pretty women in thin sun dresses would flirt from under huge shade trees with high cotton in the background. Cold beer and whole hog was available to all . . . . . now that has to be what a corner of heaven would look like. Then again it might just be the devil’s temptation, remember Willie Morris.

Favorite thing about bbqing?
The solitude and smell of rendering pork fat at 2:30 AM is the first thing I think of, but my most favorite thing about bbq is the event. Family and friends get together and we devour ribs, pulled pork, chicken with all the fixins and beer. We don’t have to be hungry to eat, we just need an occasion to celebrate. Those occasions are easily produced.

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)?
I found the Forum in early 1999. In 1997 and 1998 I was editor of a traditional bowhunting magazine and active member of The Leatherwall which was a message board for archers who shot longbows and recurves. The Leatherwall was a tremendous help in learning the art of shooting traditional archery equipment and as I started getting more serious about bbq I went looking for a similar board focusing on bbq. I did a search looking for “bbq message boards” and Whack!!! there was THE forum. I swear I thought I had hit the mother load. Posters like Jim Minion, Shake, Shingleman & Elizabeth Lumpkin helped me get ok good in a very short time. Even with the Forum shortening my learning curve dramatically, it still took over four years before I turned out a butt that I knew was done right.

What was your first pit?
A rusty, but free, 55 gallon barrel/drum that cooked a lot of chicken and ribs in college. This was the early 80s so ribs were still cheap. We thought the ribs were delicious but now I know just how pitiful they were. I tried cooking the butts and picnics but just could not produce a quality product. It would be another 16 years before I could produce decent pulled pork.

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)?
Hot dogs, hamburgers, and biscuits.

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc?
Favorite woods – hickory, peach, pecan and kiln dried hickory axe handles
Charcoal – Nature Glo briquettes and Nature Glo lump

Rub – mine

Sauce – mine

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)?
Since The Pork Jesters have only cooked two contests I don’t necessarily have a favorite or best competition memory . . . yet. I can tell you this . . . there is no better bunch of folks to hangout with for a weekend than bbq folks.


Do you eat bbq in restaurants — if so, where, when why?
When I travel, I will eat in bbq restaurants recommended by Forum people. I don’t hesitate to stop at Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur or Whole Hog Cafe in Little Rock and yes I like Corkys in Memphis.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you want to include.

Music– Tommy Bolin, Roy Buchanan, Hendrix, Bocephus, ZZ Top, Widespread Panic, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Albert King, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters.

Books – The Fountain Head, Atlas Shrugged, Skinny Legs and All, Jitterbug Perfume, Aubrey-Maturin series, Return to Soddom and Gomorrah, J.R.R., and books on history nonfiction.

TV – don’t watch network TV, I prefer to read. Do listen to NPR and Fox News.

Movie – don’t really have a favorite.

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)?
What some people might call country vittles like fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, cat head biscuits with a cold slice of tomato in the middle. And then there are Cajun and Creole dishes. I’m not that great yet but I can make passable dishes. I may be southern but don’t give me any #!@$%$#@$%% boiled okra.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food?
I will drink Budweiser from the can, Abita, Chamay, and New Castle Brown Ale. Ok ok I will drink any beer that is in the cooler even if a couple of fish have been keeping them company. After dark though I prefer Pinch scotch, Tito’s vodka, or Jack Daniels all on the rocks.

Favorite BBQ Forum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)?
Don’t necessarily have one.

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)?
Don’t necessarily have one but there have been a few that I blinked a couple of times before I opened them up.

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why?
No but I would suggest visiting Forum advertisers web pages and purchasing products from them.