About Jeff

Read this article without ads

jeff and ezra

When I was about 14 years old, I read the book My Side of the Mountain.   My imagination was tantalized by the idea that a young boy could take care of himself and eat things like pine cones and live in the trunk of a great tree.

I was already fascinated by living off the land, surviving in the wilderness and cooking my own food outdoors.   The idea of being independent and depending only on nature to survive excited the living daylights out of me.

If you had asked me back then what I planned to do in life, I would have answered that I was going to have a cabin way up in the mountains and live off the land.

Of course, as it does for most of us, life stepped into my boyhood plans and I never actually lived in a tree–although I did try a pine cone once–and only once.  Never again…!

Biking and camping out was about as far as I got to the wilderness dream.

What did not go out the window, however, was my love for cooking outdoors over a real wood fire.  There was something native about preparing food outside without the assistance of modern appliances that appealed to the primitive side of my brain.

After high school and throughout college, outdoor cooking developed into a passionate hobby for me.

Back in my college days, I only had a small hibachi grill or occasionally a borrowed grill from a park, campsite or rest area.

After work, I would often go straight to the park laden down with charcoal, meat, seasonings and a few utensils and spend my evening cooking and experimenting.  Sometimes my experiments went south and sometimes I ate like a king–either way, I was having fun!

I remember grilling up some shark steaks one afternoon and I was so pleased with how my exotic choice turned out.  I tried my hand at grilling vegetables, fish, burgers, shellfish, making my dinner decisions based on my mood seemed like a small adventure in and of itself.

No matter what, it was always better than your run-of-the-mill college boy restaurant or fast food take-out diet!

At 24, I married my wife, Abi, and life sidelined my hobby just a bit.

Between babies, working multiple jobs, college, struggling to pay bills and doing whatever it took to make ends meet, I simply didn’t have time to cook.  Other than the occasional burger or hotdog on a small grill or hibachi, I really didn’t cook much at all.

Then, some years later, a friend gave me a cooking device that reminded me of R2D2.  It had no instructions with it, but I was determined to learn how to use it.

It didn’t look like the grills I had been using, but had two pans, two cooking grates and a dome shaped lid with a simple thermometer.

After a bit of research, I discovered it wasn’t a grill at all, but a “smoker” that used real wood to create smoke which flavored the food.

I still had no idea what I was doing when it came to low and slow!

My first experiment with smoking was pretty much a disaster.  I bought some mesquite chunks, came home and poured them into the firebox and lit it all up with charcoal lighter fluid.

Fortunately there were only vegetables on the grate on that first run and no expensive meat for me to ruin, because what happened next let me know that I had a lot to learn.

I left the sliced zucchini (and whatever else was on there–I don’t remember the other vegetables) on the smoker until it was tender and then brought everything to the table ready to impress my family.

My wife tried to be polite as she took the first bite, but those smoked vegetables were awful and we ended up dumping the whole meal into the trash can.  It was bad and my pride took a bit of a beating.

Lesson learned: Smoking was obviously vastly different than grilling.

Not to be deterred, I began doing more research and quickly realized that I should have used charcoal with just a little wood on top for smoke.  I also found that mesquite is very strong and must be used carefully.

Live and learn!

I corrected my mistakes and began smoking several times a week.

I experimented with ribs, burgers, vegetables (again!), pork chops, etc., and it dawned on me that in spite of my initial ignorance, I had a knack for this smoking thing.

Cooking for my family branched out to gatherings with friends and I even catered a few church events.

A passion was born, and it seemed like smoking meat was all I could talk about.  I’m pretty sure folks got tired of me talking about it considering how their eyes glazed over, but they enjoyed the food so they didn’t complain.

During this process, a new problem was born and so I had to work out a solution.  Suffice it to say that I was less than enamored with the store-bought barbecue sauce and what I had tasted at local barbecue events.

Some of it literally made me gag and I knew that real barbecue had to have a truly worthy seasoning and sauce.  I began working on my own rib-rub and sauce recipe, and spent several years mixing ingredients, taking careful notes of what I added, removed and adjusted until I finally came up with two recipes worth talking about.

The rub and sauce really upped the quality of my cooking, and after several years of using the smoker, cooking every chance I got and perfecting the process, my family started encouraging me to create a website about smoking meat.

The idea took root, and I decided I would do exactly that–create a website to share what I had learned and to log my cooking sessions.

I thought it might help people not to make some of the same mistakes I did when I first started.

I did some online research and was disappointed to find that there was not a lot of information on the subject of smoking meat.  There was some, but it wasn’t extremely helpful and I couldn’t find much of anything catering to folks trying to learn this fine art.

Most online information was geared toward competition barbecue.

So I set out to write content for a website of my own and with about twenty pages of information, my website went live.

That event was the beginning of one of the most rewarding decisions of my life.  The website, very quickly, started showing up in search engines and within only a few weeks I began receiving emails from people asking questions about smoking meat.

I was happy to answer and back then I could take the time to answer every one of them.

After awhile, the questions began to stack up into more than I could personally keep up with so to assist with that, I created a Yahoo group.

The Yahoo group began with only 12 members and grew and grew until it became what is now the forum at smokingmeatforums.com.  We now have more than 110,000 members on the forum.

While the website and forum was growing exponentially, I made the decision to emulate some other website owners and started writing a newsletter.

When I first set it up, I had less than a hundred subscribers and I was really proud of that number.  I thought that was quite a bit!  Nowadays the newsletter has upwards of 300,000 subscribers and I stopped counting a long time ago.

By 2009, my website was doing very well, the forum was chugging along quite nicely and then life threw me another curve ball.  The company I worked for at the time decided to downsize due to the economy and my job was going away.

At first I was pretty upset and felt like life had dealt me a bad hand, but I decided that while I was job-hunting, I would make lemonade from the lemons and go full time with the smoking meat network.

I was home anyway–there was nothing better to do than work my “hobby” full time.  My hobby responded well to all the extra hours I was putting into it and morphed into a business.

I began to think that maybe I could stop hunting for another engineering job and enjoy smoking meat and writing full time instead.  By 2010, it was clear to me that I wasn’t going to have to go back to the engineering field.

During this time, another opportunity arose that came as an unexpected surprise.

Within weeks after I left my day job, Whitecap, a publishing company in Canada who specializes in books about food, travel, wine, etc., called me and asked me if I would like to write a book for them on the subject of smoking meat.

I was rather dumbfounded at the request, since the thought had never occurred to me, but I was excited at the same time.

After I recovered from my fainting spell, I decided to sign the contract and the next two years would find me writing like a mad man into the wee hours of the night, testing recipes and trying to flesh out on paper everything I had ever learned about smoking meat.

I remembered my beginnings and wanted to write a book that any novice could pick up and use to learn the art of low-and-slow.

On May 15, 2012, the book was released and I have to confess that I felt as proud as a new father holding that completed book in my hands.

What started as a part-time and sometimes neglected hobby has become my ongoing career.

What a blessing to be able to provide for my family doing what I love and what a privilege to be able to interact with so many people and make so many friends from perfect strangers!

In the present, my story continues to unfold with too many possibilities ahead of me to count including a 2nd book on the way now released, actual food products in stores and available online and a website and forum that continue to grow beyond my imagination with more than 3 million visits each month.

I have both the contentment of satisfactory work and the excitement of what lies ahead.  For me and the thousands of other people who love to go primitive with their cooking:  Low and slow is the only way to go!

Stay tuned!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Jeff, We were recently in New Zealand for about a month. Besides there being a lot of lamb, there is also a lot of farm-raised venison. It is on the menu in almost every restaurant. We have a meat market near us that carries venison, and now I’m interested in trying to smoke it. I know it would need to be smoked at a low temperature to avoid drying out, but otherwise it will be a complete experiment.

    I just searched your site for any mention of venison, but didn’t find anything. Maybe I missed it, but one suggestion I’d make is to have a category of “Other Meats.” You have a recipe for duck (excellent), and I noticed you mentioning rabbit in one post. I’m also curious about goat, which I know is a Texas specialty. There are various other game meats. Not that your site doesn’t have more ideas than I’ve ever been able to get around to, but I think an Other Meats category would be helpful, and I’d love to hear your suggestions.

  2. I see that you are posting suggestions for smoking now. Actual recipes, things to do to make certain things better, etc. I gave you several things that I have figured out over the years, with no reposts, thanks or anything else. You have taken several ideas from me with absolutely no response or a simple thank you, or even a “hey a customer of mine sent this to me, and you know what? It works”. Don’t worry about looking for my email, it is not the one I used years ago. You are a self centered person. A true salesman. You tell people what they want to hear. After all of this, I still wish you and your family the best. I don’t wish bad vibes on anyone. Just a thank you would’ve been nice to hear. You get back the vibes you put out. Just saying.

    1. Scott, I am human and if I missed giving proper attribution to something you sent me, I am sorry. I give attribution all the time, all over my website. I ask for suggestions, recommendations, etc. because I am interested in learning more. i.e. I don’t know everything.

      You’ll have to help me out and let me know what I missed and I’ll happily let everyone know about it. I appreciate your patience and for keeping me accountable.

  3. Interesting story. I came aboard in 2010. I have 2 books and love getting your newsletters. Keep up the good work. Thanks Tom.

  4. ***Jeff can edit this down if you like***. Jeff, Just opened up your 12/23/2023 email of 50 Appetizers and other stuff email and wanted to wish you and Abi a Merry Christmas and thank you for more detail of how the Smokingmeats website got here. You had shared a little of the story with me a long time ago, in a PM 2014 or so but thanks for the rest in this. (You still lived in Pratville at the time) I have posted that on other sites suggesting others look here at your site, now woops Bixby. Hey, just what 20 or so miles.
    I have owned 3 businesses. Yep you can act like “corporate” and be hard nosed “I am going to hide my secrets and do it my way” and hope your stuff sells, or you can be a real person and serve your real “customers” by giving them what they tell you they need, asking for a small donation along the way while sharing what others have contributed and making sure your websites is up and running, I suspect juggling balls along the way. No other smoking site in the world has as much information as his site. Newbie, read more. You want to know the scientific chemistry why, read more. You want to look up anything to get started, read more, BBQ and smoke a head of cabbage, read more. You want a new smoker, read more. You are having problems with your smoker, read more. It is all here. Hey, teaser, yep, purchase my recipes for what works for Jeff. Yep they are a good starting point. Contribute that minor starting point, get access to the rest of the world of smoking along with it? Yep, need to contribute to make sure this site is here for us and all newbies on the way.

    My opinion of this site and seeing advertisements.

    Prob a different post. I had a potential disaster with a brisket in late 2013. Newbie then. Was doing an overnight brisket smoke in my kinda oddball combination charcoal chunk wood burner. 45′ outside, front coming in, heading for 15′ that night. Yep, use the cell phone alarm reset for every two hours, to tend. Somewhere through the last part I forgot to reset wake up about 4am. Well after the sun glaring me in my eyes to wake me up, I had a frozen brisket on my grill/smoker. Well what now. Thawed to see if it might be OK for my dogs to eat, and found had the best tender brisket I had ever smoked in my life. WTH. Went searching why and found Jeffs site. I got into a Smoking meat forums technical and started looking more at the technical side. Yep it is there for anyone who wants to know of what causes the meat to be tender/dry/flavor stuff. Wala. My brisket made it through the stall with enough charcoal and wood heat to get to the tender done point, then started cooling down like “resting” would be. Yep, lots of things happen to work out and I got lucky. Now with the fantastic site Jeff keeps up and going, I have knowledge and can reproduce that anytime I want.

    Me. yes I contribute to his site. Saved way more than any smoke that might have gone bad. Me. Paid for life member. Nope do not want to miss any advertisements for items that might make my smokes easier or even a little better. Keep my adds on.

  5. Congratulations on your success. Great story. Your advice helps me immensely. I’m 70 years old and have always loved to cook, but never had a smoker. I grilled quite a bit , and bought a little smoker box for the grill. My kids got me a smoker for Christmas about 6 years ago. I’ve done a lot of trial and error experiments and I’ve fallen for smoking food, as has my family and friends fallen for enjoying my smoked food. I have purchased and used your rubs and sauce, and will continue to do so. I smoked a turkey for Thanksgiving, as well as smoking the stuffing. It came out excellent. I thought so, as did my entire family. Your emails will keep me going. Thanks.

  6. Very happy for you how it all came about! I am new to smoking and will surely subscribe to you. Your instructions are clear and not difficult to understand and follow. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and skills! Will be looking for your books to buy.

  7. Where can I pick up your books I’m a back yard Smoker with a passion of learning the art of Smoking anything edible

  8. My hat’s off to you Jeff. I’ve been with your site well over 10 yrs now. At one point I was told by “the woman”, no more smokers. I had 5 or 6 units at any one time. As the early ones began to wear out, they weren’t replaced. Now days, only have four bbq pits to use.😇

  9. having trouble logging in to the forum – lost password I guess. Anyway, I’m struggling to get a new password and allow me to log in.

    btw – longtime fan living in KC (Overland Park). Also, I agree that reading your story was nice. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Jeff- glad to know more about you. I knew you left engineering and went full time smoking, but the full story was great. Thanks for sharing.
    Stan Smith

    1. Rick, beef tongue is probably super tasty but I’ve just never wanted to cook it or eat it. I’ve had a lot of requests over the years, so I probably will, eventually🙃

  11. I am a long-time follower and user of your Recipes which I purchased several years ago, with the understanding that my contact with your site would be “ad free”. Recently I’ve noticed that the material I’ve received has been anything but ad-free including invitations from your site to “join” for an ad-free experience! I thought I already did that when I purchased your recipes! Has your new format (and apparent, and very well-deserved success) resulted in the abandonment of previous promises?…or have I misunderstood something completely?

    1. Richard, as with most things, we often have to adapt to make things work properly. I have been sending full recipes without ads to those who purchased my master formulas since about 2005. Earlier this year, due to too many of those emails ending up in the spam folder, I have had to change the way I send email.

      For only $19/year, you get to browse the entire website without third party ads and the newsletter is ad-free. Or you can browse the recipes with ads, if you prefer, and it’s free.

      The website is supported greatly by the ads, so I can’t give it away for free, but I insisted on making it a great deal.


      Let me know if you have further questions about this.

  12. Hey Jeff, Your sauce has a solid following in Murphys, Calaveras County Ca. folks love it on chicken wings. Our shop the Spin Tin features your sauce on Memorial Day out front with me grilling the wings. if you ever get to Murphys, I will smoke pork ribs for you in my barrel. We are starting to sell Noah Glanville’s things in our shop. Heck, if you come visit, I will invite Noah over too. That would be fun. I just wanted to say Hi. Jan

    1. Jan, I sure appreciate you carrying our products at the Spice Tin in Murphys, CA. It was so nice to meet you guys here in Tulsa a while back. Great memories! If Abi and I ever get out that way, I’ll let you know and we’ll make a day of it😀

  13. Jeff I just read making burnt ends. I have been reading your postings for what seems like 20 years under another email address. Just realized you are making the burnt ends at 250 and continued cooking the flat at 250. Yet it seems that you cook ribs and other briskets etc at 220. HELP
    Does it really matter then what temp you use, 220-250 just follow the and pull by temp? I use your rubs and have never deviated.

    1. Bill, I have learned over the years to be less concerned with exact temperature of the pit and more concerned with the temperature of the meat.

      You can cook most things a little hotter and it will get done a little faster.Anywhere between 200°F (93°C) and all the way up to 250°F (121°C) or even 275°F (135°C) is nothing to worry about as long as you watch the internal temperature of the meat and remove it before it overcooks.

      I cook brisket sometimes at 180°F (82°C) for hours on end and then crank them up at the end to render the fat real good and set the crust. Turns out beautiful.

  14. I am a pellet smoker, real smoker are beyond my attention span. I found you site and you have answered all of my smoking questions. When I am looking for new recipes or have any smoking issues I alway turn to your site. Keep up the great work!!

  15. Hi Jeff…I just joined, but have been a follower for several years. Don’t remember when I first found you and purchased your recipes for the two rubs and the BBQ sauce… but it was a long time back, when I still lived in California. I have since relocated to SE Arizona, but continue to look forward to your emails. I don’t know if you have any records of when folks joined, but if so, you can look ‘way back’ and see how long I’ve been with you. Now, on to a new adventure with the Ad Free version. Keep up the good work… grin

  16. Hi Jeff,

    I have to first congratulate you on following your passion. I was one of those who too wanted to learn more about smoking meat, and I came across your website and love the fact that you are straight to the point on smoking meat, which I truly appreciate. Thank you for giving us first timers the knowledge and tools to be that guys in the neighborhood to smoke and enjoy barbeque.

    God Bless

  17. Did some ribs when, Surprise the wife was having the “ girls” over. Used a recipe from a news letter and everyone loved them. Now the “girls” are on my side. Might not have been the wisest choice on my part.

  18. Hey Jeff:

    I have been enjoying your site and product for several years now. However, I have a quick question.

    I have a Bradley Smoker. Is it absolutely necessary to preheat the smoker before putting the meat in, considering that I have a thermometer in the meat.

    Many thanks for a great site,

    1. Charles, There’s not a lot of hard and fast rules in smoking meat. Experiment and do what works for YOU. I like to let the Bradley preheat since the element is so small and it takes so long to get up to temperature, especially when it’s cold out.

      I tend to preheat to 275°F (135°C) in my Bradley almost without fail and then once the food is inserted, I bring it down to whatever I want to cook at which is usually somewhere between 225°F (107°C) and 240°F (116°C).

      You certainly don’t have to preheat and can just put the food in there whenever you like. Some folks insert the food then set the heat and smoke and don’t open it again until the food is done.

      Let me know if you have more questions or comments about this.

  19. Greetings Jeff, I have been a long time follower, and am embarrassed to admit this is the 1st time I have actually read anything other than the recipe I was working on. Interesting read getting to know you and what led to your start in the business. Have always liked the recipes (with the obligatory personal +/- ) and think I will buy your 1st book. Wish you continued success and Thanks for a lot of great ideas and recipes over at least the last 10 years. Respectfully, Jon Crunk

  20. You are an inspiration with your passion for low and slow and actually doing what you love doing. You never have to work another day of your life.

  21. Thanks Jeff. You inspire me, and I appreciate your gentle, kind manner. I’m using your double smoked ham recipe for our family Easter meal. Blessings to you and your family.

  22. Jeff, great story and happy outcome. Question about your Texas rib method, compared to 321? Why no foil wrap, in Texas?

  23. Jeff,
    Really enjoyed your story and happy for you that you are able to make a living from something you love to do. I have been on your mailing list for a few years. Have used your rub and several recipes but need to try a whole lot more.
    When I bought my Traeger about five years ago I went from cooking out two or three times a summer to two or three times a week.
    Thanks for all the good information!

  24. I loved reading your story. I’ve been a dedicated subscriber for a few years now and your recipes still inspire my own smoking fun. Thanks.

  25. Jeff. What a wonderful success story. Congratulations!! Where do you live in which state? I saw your son on one of your videos do you think he will carry on your in your footsteps. It is good to see someone like you living the American dream. Keep up the good work. Rich

    1. Rich, I am in Bixby OK. My son is interested in many things right now and he’s an excellent cook. I don’t know if he will follow exactly what I’m doing but I have made an effort to teach my son and both of my daughters how to cook outdoors as well as other outdoor need-to-know things like fire starting that will help them in life. My girls (both married now with kids) love to show off their skills at building a camp fire especially when the boys are struggling😀

  26. Sir Jeff The Chef,

    We love your products and we love the low sodium! I own 4 Traegers one for our ranch in Montana (close to Dutton Ranch in Yellowstone), one at the ranch managers home, two on Marco Island on the Gulf (my home) and I smoke every other day but not before consulting your book. I was CEO & President of Bluebonnet Feeds and American Superior Feeds in Ardmore Oklahoma. I would have dropped in on you had I still been there but we’re on the Gulf of Mexico. Keep up your great work & GO FOR IT!

    Steve Riley
    Marco Island, FL.

  27. I greatly enjoy your forum with advice, recipes, product evaluations, & rubs/sauces.
    Your delivery of information is excellent. I look forward to the next e-mail. Thank you.
    Would be interested in your first book plus upcoming book. Please advise on how to obtain; if possible.

  28. Jeff thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge of smoking meat with all of us. I read the newsletters religiously and have your book and several recipes save on my phone. Please keep up the good work. Thank you again.

  29. Hi Jeff,
    I loved reading about your life. You grabbed me with the first sentence about reading My side of the mountain. I as a young teen saw the movie and have never forgotten it. I live in Michigan and love the outdoors, how could you not? I eagerly await your newsletters and have saved every single one since joining. Thank you for your work an guidance.
    Smoke-On my friend.

  30. Great read Jeff, and it’s totally gratifying to see how your career blossomed.
    I’ve been a reader of your newsletter for quite a few years now, and the “Smoking Meat” app is my go-to for finished internal temps, time expectations, and virtually anything else I’m looking for.
    Keep on cookin’!

  31. I have followed Jeff and this site for several years and love the growth. I have made and used the ribs and followed many recipes to my family and guests delight. I need some advice.

    I have a group of friends that gather 6-8 times per year to play poker and the host rotates. Over the years I have done many different options, but this year I wanted to try to outdo myself. I wanted to try and prepare several different options. I am thinking beef ribs, poor man’s burnt ends, pork belly burnt ends, country style ribs on a stick.

    I have a large BGE and 2 ovens. Can I prepare anything in advance and hold in ovens or sous vide? Or how could I go about smoking all of this to have it ready on a Friday evening?

    Thanks for any help and keep up the great work.

    1. It really depends on how long you need to hold the food.. I often hold things wrapped tightly in foil for 2 or more hours. larger things like brisket, Pork Butt, ribs etc. can be held for 4-6 hours and it can even improve the outcome.

      Smaller appetizers can possibly dry out if you hold them too long. My favorite way to hold appetizers is in a foil pan covered tightly with foil in an oven set to 170°F (77°C). This keeps the apps warm and above the safe temperature 140°F (60°C). Most of the items you mentioned like burnt ends, beef ribs, country style ribs on a stick, etc. would hold up really well in this way for 2+ hours using this method.

      I have not delved into sous vide much but that would also work well.

  32. I stumbled across Jeff on-line looking for meats to smoke when I first started smoking five years ago. I ordered his starter kit of rubs and BBQ sauce. I was hooked and immediately signed up for the news letter.

  33. Hey Jeff,

    Terrific story on the road you traveled and how you’ve arrived at where you are. Your website and app are my “go to” resources whenever I’m about to smoke something. I purchased your rub and sauce recipes several years ago, and they are literally the only ones I use. That sauce man, what can I say? It’s fantastic! Keep up the great work you’re doing and best of luck on your future endeavors.

  34. Thanks to you, I don’t have to figure everything out. I just list listen to you. Thanks. I have made just a obout every recipe you sent. Keep up the good work and don’t stop. I am grateful. Tom

    1. Paul, I use some local grocery stores such as Reasors, sprouts, Whole Foods, and Docs Country Mart in Bixby. I also find pretty good stuff at Costco. I have ordered from Tulsa Beef in the past and find some unusual, hard to find stuff at Harvard meats when I need inspiration. I use to get some good stuff from Perry meats before they closed down.

  35. What a great story. You went for it and succeeded. Outstanding! I happened onto your site thru You Tube and the internet. I’m turning 76 on the 24th and really have just got in to smoking and I love it. I have tried both of your rubs and I have to say I like them. My wife on the other hand is not really into the heavy smoke flavor so I use Apple pellets. I always go to your site for cooking recipes and the biggie, St. Louis Style Ribs. When that bone slides out I’m like a kid I can’t wait to bite into that rib. I have a Treager. I bought the smallest one Bronson in 2019 and just purchased the Treager Fremont on the 17th of this month from Costco. It came with a lot of goodies, but the size of the cooking area is what I wanted most of all. I wish instead of winter we were in the spring. I know I can smoke in the winter but to me Spring, Summer and Fall you just cannot beat for outside cooking. Keep up what you really seem to love. I will be reading and trying some of your recipes. PS. I will try a Cherry blend/Pecan pellet like you suggested for my ribs the next time.

    1. Lawrence, thank you for the kind words and I’m glad to hear you’ve gotten into smoking. It’s a great hobby and you get to eat your projects.. you just can’t beat that😀

      Take care and merry Christmas!

  36. What a great story. I have used your advice and recipes to the delight of my family and friends. THANK YOU for providing such great information. God Bless and Merry Christmas my friend.

  37. Jeff – I love reading your work! You have as natural and engaging style with the pen as you do with your recipes and advice.
    I’ve been reading your work and trying some of your recipes for a number of years and have shared success stories and kept quiet about the less than successful disasters with my mates.
    I’m actually a Food Chemist and have many years under my belt of working with research and development teams to create recipes and sauces – with some good success stories for business clients here in Australia. No longer actively in the Food Chemist game, I now run mining operations (go figure re a career change), and still enjoy the opportunity to run experiments with my kids on what they do and don’t like (I have 5 kids, 4 with special needs). I think my youngest son will happily become a smoking aficionado very soon, as we have three smokers (US Pit Barrell, and 2 x Traeger Pellet) and he is mastering them at the age of 13.
    Thank you for for following your passion and dream and sharing the stories, advice, images and part of your family’s life with us, your avid readers. Well done mate, you’re a Champion Bloke and I’d give a great deal to sit down and crack a beer over a rack of ribs with you one day.
    AB – Brisbane, Queensland, Gods Country, Australia

  38. Jeff,
    I have been following your recipes since 2012 and have saved almost all for reference and used many with great success There are many backyard barbecuer’s out there like myself and I’m just glad you came along years ago and brought me into the world of smoking meat . You were one of the first to bring this hobby / profession into the mainstream Thanks for it all and smoke on my digital friend

  39. Great story! I have a BBQ food trailer and I often refer your blog and website for ideas and recipes and use them as a guide to make them my own. I also refer to your site when talking to people along the way to help educate folks that want to learn how to smoke meat along the way.

  40. Jeff, just a short email to thank you for teaching me the art of smoking. I started with you, I think 20 years ago. You have been an incredible inspiration, thank you sir, you have brought my family immense satisfaction, can’t thank you enough. Bill

    1. Bill, thank you for the kind words. I love what I do and it makes it all worthwhile to hear that it is helping people like yourself learn something that is fulfilling. Have a great Christmas!

  41. I love to read your coaching tips & instructions & recipes. I love your down to earth, simple man approach @ explaining things. Keep up the good-fun work. Us weekend redneck smoking hobbyists need good coaching!!
    Steve in MO

  42. Great story Jeff! I use your rub on everything I put on my Traeger Timberline 1300 & I prefer your BBQ sauce over all others. Like you I lived in Ardmore, OK. for 7 years where I learned to use hickory on my grills. My favorite wood pellet still is hickory which I use for most everything. I’ve told all my friends to get on your email list & I look forward to reading your books! You have been a great help to me and I deeply appreciate it!

    Steve Riley
    680 Thrush Ct.
    Marco Island, FL. 34145
    Cell: 612-616-7517

  43. Jeff, that was was very informing of how you started. I bought your book many years ago and it became the go to book when I wanted to do some smoking. I too had an old Brinkman smoker, w/ a water pan it was given to me by a dear friend. He told me how to build a fire in it w/ charcoal and some wood chunks. Believe it are not, Done right that fire would last to smoke a brisket. I took it from Las Vegas to Fairbanks , Alaska and smoked all kinds of wild animals using alder wood. Then after 9 years I brought it back to Vegas and used it another 30 years. Then I bought a pellet smoker ( the lazy mans way of Smoking). But I look over at that old Brinkman smoker and it brings back a lot of good old memories. I throughly enjoy your news letter and always checking on better ways of smoking something. Keep on doing what you do, you’r good at it.

  44. Awesome sauce. i stumbled on your website many years ago and started following you right after. Your website is my go-to for recipes, ideas and answers to my questions on smoking meats, etc… Just wnat to say thank you for being there.

  45. What a wonderful and inspiring story of a ‘ rag to riches ‘ , making lemonade from a lemon and following your dream. You have helped me many a time with my own discoveries and I too enjoy cooking in the outdoors. In ’92 I moved to the mountains of Colorado and bought a house, knowing the kitchen was going to be replaced ( three of the burners on the stove, along with the oven, were inoperable and my only means of cooking was a Weber Smoky Joe. When I found your web sight, quite my accident, I felt pure joy – thank you!

  46. Thanks Jeff for all your help and insight on my smoking for over 10 years!! I recommend your website to anyone that mentions smoking especially newbies. Keep up the l good work!!!

  47. I have been following you for a number of years. Your rub and sauce recipes are all I use for smoking meat. I make your rib recipe all the time. Tonight I tried your smoked meat loaf and it was awesome!

  48. I’ve been following you since the beginning! Great info and recipes. The rub and sauce is awesome! Well Done! (Actually I prefer Medium Rare) 😎

    1. Thank you for the kind words! I appreciate of all of you guys that stuck around back when I first started.. I screwed up a lot and couldn’t take a picture worth looking at. I’d like to think I’ve improved a little over the years🤣

  49. Just joined your forum Jeff. I hope to find a recipe for a smoked pork butt on my pitboss pellet grill…..thanks

  50. Jeff Phillips,

    I started smoking about a year ago. I have the Masterbuilt 30″ electric smoker which I happen to love. My question is that no matter what wood chips I use in my smoker everything taste the same. No difference in smoke flavor. It has the side load for the chips and I only fill required amount. Can you tell me what I am doing wrong.


    1. Roy,
      I use the same smoker. Actually, I have three of ’em. (That’s because the temperature control sucks, but that’s a separate issue.)
      Early on, I found the same as you- – the wood chips don’t last very long, so the smoke flavor doesn’t amount to much. To remedy that, I ordered a smoke generator, A-MAZE-N Products Tube Pellet Smoker, made in Minnesota but available at places like Cabela’s. The 18″ cylindrical version gives 8 or more hours of continuous smoke, more than you’ll ever need. I sawed mine in two, and use it every time I smoke anything. I even ripped the smoke contraption out of the Masterbuilt, leaving only the heating element, and put a smoke distributor (a couple of slotted-plate metal sheets from Lowe’s or Home Depot) on the bottom rack holder.

      Try the Amazin’ and tell me what you think.

      Try our website, too. It’s more about sausage making than BBQ, but maybe you’ll see something to try.
      Best regards,
      “el Ducko”

  51. I’ve been working over your Smoked Pulled Pork Stuffed Burgers recipe and came up with a bit different direction set and very good results. Would you like to see a copy? If so write me…

  52. Love all the information and recipes. Do you have a physical store or shop we can come to visit and make purchases? Thanks. Don m

  53. Hi Jeff,

    I’ve been subscribed with smoking-meat for almost a year now and have not received your news letter in months. When I try to sign up again it states that I’m already signed up. Any and all help on your part would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I am showing that we are sending a newsletter to you every Thursday morning per your subscription. Since you are not getting it, I suspect that a spam or junk filter is catching the emails before they reach your inbox. We noticed that you ordered the rub and sauce last year so I put you on the ad-free version of the email newsletter which may help it to get past the filters. Another thing you can do is to add my email address to your “Allowed Senders List” or email system address book to let the system know that you want to receive email from this address.

  54. Hey Jeff,
    I can’t seem to find anything on rabbit, how to smoke it, would I have to brine it, or rub it down with your rub and bbq sauce.
    If you have any info on how to do it.
    One of my friends got a good price on rabbit at a local store, in other word they can’t sell it because city folks think of rabbit as a pet and won’t buy it and so he bought it for $4.99 per rabbit, can you help me, please. Thank you

  55. Hey Jeff –

    I love the website and the forums. I’m relatively new to smoking and am interested in your book. And, after reading the reviews on your rub & barbecue sauce, I’m thinking of purchasing them, too. A quick question: are your rub and sauce recipes included in your book?

    Thanks, again,


    1. The (2) recipes that I sell on the website and in the newsletter are not included in the book. We have opted to keep them separate since so many people have purchased them prior to the book being published.

      Let me know if you have further questions about this.

  56. Jeff. Tried your 2-2-1 recipe and the ribs turned out the best they have ever been. The wrapping in foil is what made the meat more tender than just cooking the ribs for 5 hours on the grill. However, this method used indirect cooking on the BGE which is what I have but I just purchased your book and all the rib recipes say to put the ribs straight on the grill and none suggest wrapping them in foil? Why the difference? Everytime I tried the straight grill method the outside of the meat was too burnt and the meat just so-so. If wrapping and the indirect method is better why not do all the grilling that way?

  57. When I read that the book ” My Side of the Mountain ” is what sparked your primal interest it brought back some fond memories. I read that book early on and still have a copy. I love your book and forum and use them dailey.

    1. Funny….that book inspired my interested in Falconry which I did get to pursue in my early 20’s and love very much! But it is a lifestyle and a commitment that is hard to manage with a young family….something I will definitely come back too!

  58. Love all these comments, smoking, to hot, to cold etc. One late fall hunting in Northern British Columbia wilderness, we were catching way to many fish, had no smoker, so we made one with willow branches pushed into the ground, wrapped in plastic, Hibachi in the bottom with charcoal brickets and hickory chips for smoking. Small willow branches for racks. We made do with what we had on hand. It worked. The fish were trout right out of the icy cold river. Fish were done in about 4/5 hours.
    A welcome hunters/fishing treat. Love all these comments. Good job and a welcome hand to Jeff, thanks for this Forum Site. Wonderful, good job.

  59. i have NO idea where jeff gets his time or temps on meats. ive done a few of his recipes………. time and temp were ALL wrong. he looks as old as ive been doin smokin. (35). you wanna know stuff ……… look me up.

    1. Thank you, Brad.. I’m not 35 but I’ll take it ;)

      The amount of time it takes meat to get done when smoking is very related to a number of factors such as how often you open the door, how cold the meat is when you put it into the smoker, how well your smoker maintains the goal temperature, the size (thickness) of the meat and even weather.

      This is why, I document over and over how long it takes mine to cook, but I am constantly reminding folks that it’s just an estimate. You have to cook by temperature and tenderness rather than time when it comes to smoking.

      I get a ton of email, as you can imagine, and I have just as many folks telling me that theirs got done faster than my times as I do folks telling me that their’s took longer. Many tell me that I was spot on.

      Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong when it comes to how long it takes to smoke a certain type or cut of meat. It is very specific to all of those things I mentioned earlier.

  60. I recently used your rub and sauce to smoke (or re-smoke) some braunschweiger.
    I bought 3 chubs and sliced them into about 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices, rubbed mustard on the slices, and coated them with your rub. I put them in the smoker for about 1 hour, applying a light coat of sauce on the tops after a 1/2 hr. and then again 15 min later. IT WAS AMAZING!!! Thanks Jeff, I love this site!

  61. Jeff, I am not very computer literate and barely get by on this contraption, is there a way to get a more condensed format of the recipes without all the fill in advice.
    Thanx for now,

  62. I’m curious. I have been using you fantastic rub recipe for several years. I notice you do not include cumin, and I see more and more recipes that call for it. I like the taste of cumin and wondered, if I were to alter your recipe, and add cumin. How much (if any) would you recommend I add to your rub?

    1. Jeff: I use your rub when I make home made Canadian bacon. My family and friends tell me it is the best Canadian bacon they ever had. Many of them have me to cure a whole pork loin for them using your rub for the seasoning. Charlie

  63. Hey Jeff you rub and sauce are the greatest. I tried them once and now the family is always anxious for me to make more. I have smoked more in the past 4 months than I have since I got my smoker.(2 yrs.)
    I did have an accident with the sauce though. I was simmering it and got a knock on the door, Patrick wanted to borrow the log splitter. Forgot about the sauce and did not get back to it for about minutes. Well it was rather thick, but as fate would have it “the crowd went wild”.
    2nd comment, I made the smoked-filled sausage and did not have the rack I needed and I know you use so I took one of my aluminum pans and poked numerous holes in the bottom, rubbed it with olive oil, and it worked great.
    Very appreciative of all you advise and great recopies.

  64. In your Smoking Basics you indicate that one way to test brisket for tenderness at the store is to lay it across the side of your hand and look for droop/bend. My question, do you put the "meat" side on your hand/down or the fat side down?


  65. Just a little aside to your plan for smoking whole chickens.

    After you have smoked your chickens and stripped the meat off, throw the bones, skin, gristle and whatever else you don't use into a LARGE stock pot. Add a stick of butter, some interesting spices and water to fill the stock pot to about three quarter full. Fire up the stove and get the water boiling, then turn it back to a fairly active simmer. Leave it be for about six hours and you will have the ABSOLUTE best smoked chicken stock you have ever had!

    The HOT TIP of the year is to take the cooled chicken stock and pour it into a slew of ice cube trays. Let them freeze and you can put four smoked cubes into a ziplock bag and keep them in the freezer for future use.

    Enjoy and y'all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!