BBQ Pitmaster Interviews


MIM Scrapbook #5 – Larry Gaian of talks Char-Broil INFRARED BBQ Grills with Pork Barrel BBQ

Love Char-Broil BBQ grills?  We had the great honor to meet Larry Gaian from to talk about his experience with the new Char-Broil INFRARED grill.  This is another post in the series of our amazing experiences at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.  For those of you who haven’t had the chance to visit we strongly encourage you to visit his blog if you are interested in topics like barbecue sauce, barbecue recipes and how to cook anything on a barbecue grill (especially a Char-Broil grill).  Larry Gaian is a real BBQ genius and we were very excited to get the chance to meet Larry at the Memphis in May barbecue competition while he was with the Char-Broil BBQ grill team.  Larry is creator of MOINK balls – what is a MOINK ball?  Visit to learn about them and the 2010 MOINK Ball Challenge!  Be sure to check out this great video of Pork Barrel BBQ Heath Hall and The BBQ Grails Larry Gaian talking about the new Char-Broil grill.


MIM Scrapbook #4 – Pork Barrel BBQ talks to BBQ Legend and World Champion Pat Burke of Tower Rock BBQ

Some say legends are born – that an opportunity in time presents itself and the stars align and transfer one from a position of commonality into a legend.  As a kid I was sure my transformational moment would come in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, a three ball two strike count with my team down no less than three runs in the pivotal game seven of the most important World Series in the history of baseball.  With one swift swing of the bat I’d go from a who is he to a legend – that’s how legends can be born.

Others say legends are made – that one can’t go unnoticed for too long if they keep repeating greatness.  These are the folks who go about their business not seeking the recognition they deserve, no, they go about their business simply doing what they know how to do at the highest possible level it can be done.  Sooner or later people start talking and the legend starts growing.  These are legends built over time and many accolades, accolades that are not achieved by the alignment of stars, but through hard work, dedication and skill – that’s how legends can be made.

The word legend is often thrown around without much consideration – after all, if we were all legends none of us could actually be one.  What cannot be argued is that barbecue has legends, both born and made.  Pork Barrel BBQ was fortunate enough to cross paths with several of them at this years Memphis in May.

It was a hot Wednesday afternoon, as sticky as a good sweet BBQ sauce, as we pulled into our site and struggled to keep cool.  At first glance, we failed to note just who our neighbor for the weekend was.  At the time there was just too much going on and we were trying to track our rented picket fence down (how would we survive our first Memphis in May without a rented  picket fence we were asking ourselves?).  The fence finally came, the Weber Smokey Mountains were all set up and the heat of the day began to subside, finally giving us a chance at repose and the time to take note of our surroundings.  It didn’t take long for us to realize that we had won the lottery, heck you might have thought we had already won Memphis in May – in many ways maybe we had.

Just inches from our three Weber Smokey Mountains stood the beautiful trailer of Tower Rock BBQ out of Murphysboro, IL.  Yes, the Tower Rock BBQ lead by Pat Burke of Apple City Barbecue Fame where he won three World Championships at Memphis in May with his partner Mike Mills.  Our first meeting came on Thursday morning and we knew from that moment on we were in for a special weekend.

Pat and his crew showered us rookie’s with their generous hospitality – not only can he cook a mean pork shoulder, he can cook one heck of a bacon and egg sandwich!  It was a great honor for us to learn some of Pat’s tips and tricks – he is an encyclopedia of BBQ and truly a legend.

In one year of BBQ competitions Pat and his Apple City team won 14 of the 17 contests they entered – it is clear that his legendary status was made by repeating greatness.  Pat was kind enough to take some time to talk BBQ with Pork Barrel BBQ – here is that interview.

Stay tuned for more of our Memphis in May Scrapbook and an interview with Pat’s Apple City teammate Mike Mills, another legend of BBQ.


MIM Scrapbook #3 – Pork Barrel BBQ talks BBQ Hints, Tips and Secrets with Derrick Riches from

Pork Barrel BBQ was honored to talk BBQ hints, tips and secrets with world class bbq’er and blogger Derrick Riches from during our recent trip to the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Competition.  Derrick has the longest running bbq blog in history, with over 13 years writing about bbq competitions, barbeque recipes, and bbq grills.  Watch this great video with Derrick, where he shares what its like to be the creator of and his favorite BBQ recipe for this summer.  Thanks to Derrick for taking the time to talk BBQ with Pork Barrel BBQ!


MIM Scrapbook Entry #2 – Jamie Geer Gives Pork Barrel BBQ a Tour of a Jambo Pit at the Memphis in May BBQ World Championship

Dreaming of a Jambo Pit by Jamie Geer?  Me too.  Since the day I turned 16 and got my drivers license I’ve had visions of a 1958 Corvette dancing in my head. From the distinguishing four headlights and immense chrome in the front to the beauty of the Roman Red paint job that covers the exterior you’re sure to turn heads at every stop and then strain the very neck that head is attached to as you excelerate away. The 1958 Corvette wasn’t just a car, it was a work of art – a museum quality piece with its optional 290 horsepower fuel injected V8 engine that made everybody else with a car jealous at first blush.

Today, some 20 years later, I still have the vision of owning that 58 Vette, but it no longer dances alone in the wish list of my mind. It now shares that void with a vision of owning, what can only be called the equivalent of the Corvette on the competition BBQ circuit, a Jambo Pit.

Jambo Pits have been called by many on the competition BBQ circuit, “The best smokers money can buy.”  Pitmasters aren’t just saying that in passing as many of today’s top competitive BBQ teams are putting their money where their mouth is and using these pits hand crafted by Jamie Geer, owner of the Fort Worth, TX based company, all across America. Among the users of Jambo Pits are our friends Tuffy Stone of the Cool Smoke competition BBQ team (who’s pit Jamie is about to give you a tour of) and Mike Richter of Chix, Swine & Bovine competition BBQ team– both of these teams have been enjoy immense success on the competition BBQ circuit.

Jamie has been building quality smokers that offer consistent results since 1989.  One of the unique things about Jamie Geer is that he didn’t start out as a pit builder – he started out as a serious competitor on the competition BBQ circuit and has the trophies to prove it. (You might remember him from TLC’s BBQ Pitmastersshow.)  He knows what series BBQ’ers are looking for in a smoker and he delivers big time!

If you’d like a Jambo Pit you’ll have to get in line with the rest of us – Jamie is backordered through October and that list grows by the day. Why the demand?  These aren’t just functional BBQ pits, they are literally works of art that are handcrafted from top quality materials with an attention to detail that only Jamie can provide as he builds each pit one at a time. Some of the features you’ll find on these beauties include insulated fire boxes, torque flex axles, chrome wheels, white letter tires, custom coatings and paint, stainless steel hinges, and spacious work surfaces.  The downside is you’ll no longer be able to blame your smoker if your meats don’t turn out well.

On Jamie’s website he says, “Pull into a competition or your neighborhood with a Geer pit in tow and forget about going unnoticed. These pits will turn heads wherever you go.” We couldn’t agree more!  Pull into a BBQ contest with a Jambo Pit and you’re sure to turn and strain a few necks, just like that 1958 Corvette.

While we were at Memphis in May, Pork Barrel BBQ was lucky enough to get a few minutes of Jamie’s time (he was cooking with Tuffy Stone’s Cool Smoke team and about to make the walk with Tuffy to collect their Memphis in May World Championship BBQ trophy for their pork shoulder when we filmed this clip).  We asked Jamie to take us on a tour of Tuffy’s new Jambo Pit. Sit back and enjoy our interview with BBQ Pit builder extraordinaire and all around good guy Jamie Geer of Jambo Pits.

If you’re still using a Weber or some other smokers, but would like to ride or Que in the Corvette of smokers give Jamie a call at 817-223-3918 or email him at and let him know that Pork Barrel BBQ sent you!  You won’t be sorry you called!


MIM Scrapbook Entry #1 – BBQ Hints from TLC BBQ Pitmaster and Memphis in May BBQ World Champion Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke & Q Barbeque

This is the first in a series of blog posts on our adventures at the 2010 Memphis in May World Barbecue Championships. Over the course of 4 days we racked up 4 top 15 finishes (we even managed to place 4th in the World Championship’s beef catagory with our brisket) and several hours of amazing videos from some of the most interesting and influential folks in BBQ. We thought we’d kick off our series with a bang – our first entry into our 2010 Memphis in May scrapbook is an interview with TLC BBQ Pitmaster and down right nice guy Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke and Q Barbeque fame.

Over the course of the past year we’ve had the chance to get to know some of the great legends of BBQ, including guys like Pat Burke and Mike Mills – the founders of the Legends of BBQ Club. Tuffy, a friend and fellow Virginian, is a guy who has made a name for himself and risen to “Legend” status in short order. Tuffy is pitmaster of the Cool Smoke competition BBQ team and owner of Q Barbeque (two locations in Midlothian, VA and Hampton, VA). If the name Tuffy Stone is ringing a bell in your head but you just can’t quite place where you’ve heard it before it is probably because you saw him on TLC’s hit show BBQ Pitmasters.

For a guy with celebrity status and the ability to make anything placed on a smoker taste like a five star meal you might think he’d be working in the distance and shadows of his Jambo Pit built by legendary smoker builder and artisan Jamie Geer (Tuffy’s pit looks more like a cherry red Corvette than a smoker – it performs more like one too!), but he isn’t. Tuffy is as approachable as they come and loves to talk BBQ with fellow competitors, customers and fans.

The best part of the Competition BBQ circuit isn’t the great barbecue found around every corner, it is the chance to meet and become friends with some of the best folk around – like Tuffy. BBQ teams from around the country compete in contests sanctioned by a number of barbecue societies including KCBS, MIM, and MBN. These teams use everything from Weber Grills to Jambo Pits to homemade smokers to compete for prizes and tropies in catagories like chicken, beef brisket, pork shoulder, pork ribs, and whole hog.  If you love to grill find a contest near your home and sign up – you’ll have a blast and meet some great folks!

Now sit back and enjoy our interview with BBQ Pitmaster Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke.

For more information on Pork Barrel BBQ and to follow our adventures at Memphis in May 2010 stay tuned to our blog and Twitter pages.