As a military brat, I grew up with no hometown or “history”, so to speak. I was born in Michigan and raised in St Louis by way of Ft. Worth by two parents from the corn belt. I consider myself a native of this great country called America. Now a resident of a small town near Baltimore, Maryland and a proud new daddy, I find myself reflecting to the two things that have made our country great; Bar-B-Que and Beer! Sure, the Germans may have claim to the beer capitol of the world and BBQ might have been named by the Spaniards, but it took American ingenuity and gumption to really make them great.
Many years ago, when I was a fresh-faced kid in college, I realized that my Natty Boh and Miwuakee’s Best swilling comrades were slugging any booze they could (Boone’s Farm, anyone?) just to cop a cheap high. That really wasn’t for me. What I sought was stimulation, not somnolence. I began brewing extract kit beers in my dorm room, until the Powers That Be “asked” me to stop. I was hooked, however. I became a beer snob. I’d rather have foregone a party than sip a domestic brew. My mother asked my wife once, while we were dating, if she suspected me of having a drinking problem because I talked about beer so much. My wife set her straight telling her that an alcoholic would drink from a bottle of cough syrup for a buzz and that I couldn’t be convinced to drink anything from this country! I’ve since mellowed in my stance on domestic drinks, and more frequently buy from our shores. Hey, we’re in a time of economic crisis. We need to support our troops, schools, and local craft brewers after all.
As for BBQ, I was fortunate to spend my formative years in the Dallas Fort Worth Texas region. Just enough time for the love of sun and smoke to get into my blood. A few years ago, I looked araound and realized there was no BBQ culture up here in the Baltimore area. Sure, they have their crabs and pit beef. But it just ain’t the same! You’ve got to go down to Richmond to find a decent rack of ribs. Now, I’m not saying there’s no BBQ to be found. Lots of transplants from the Plains States or the South have graced this barren wasteland with pockets of pulled pork goodness or rib refuges. I took it upon myself to learn how to properly BBQ. I didn’t know much, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it right on a propane burner or with factory-processed briquettes. When I discovered the Big Green Egg ceramic smoker, my world changed. I fell into the cult that is the Egghead Forum and began to develop my own personal style. In the mean time, I spend my time hunting out the back-alley smoke houses and rib joints, looking for a piece of home.