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.