"Praise is cheap, but criticism is priceless."Jerome Goldwyn, Meathead's Dad
In the past, all the articles, recipes, tips and technique on AmazingRibs.com were written exclusively by Meathead. That's no longer the case. In 2017, we added some knowledgable writers and editors to provide new recipes and reviews.While most of the content is still my own, I stand on the shoulders of some very helpful people, listed below alphabetically.
Brigit Binns, Culinary Consultant, Confidant, Co-Author Of Our Next Book
Brigit Binns is Meathead's culinary consultant, advisor, and confidant. She and Meathead are collaborating on our next book: "The Art of Great Barbecue & Grilling" for publication in spring 2020. She is is the author of more than two dozen cookbooks, many for Williams-Sonoma. She runs a B&B and cooking school in the wine country of Paso Robles called Refugio. Follow her at TheCrispyBit.com. Meathead says "She has taught me much, corrected my stupidities, and the recipes that we have developed together always bowl me over."
Prof. Greg Blonder is an amazing polymath and the AmazingRibs.com resident science advisor and mythbuster. He was co-author of our first book, "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling". A Professor of Product Design and Engineering at Boston University, he has a physics BS from MIT and a physics PhD from Harvard. He has served as the Chief Technical Advisor at AT&T's legendary Bell Labs and he holds more than 80 patents.
As an entrepreneur, he has been a partner at the Morgenthaler Ventures, a technology centric venture capital firm that has supplied funds to Apple among others. He has lectured at numerous universities and written a number of articles for Business Week.
His love of food, especially barbecue, has brought him to food science where he conducts original research for this website, and patiently answers our dumb questions.
Jerod Broussard, Comments Moderator
Jerod Broussard is a maestro of the drum smoker and Texas barbecue in general. Born and raised in Southwest Louisiana on a rice farm, Jerod earned a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science and moved to Texas where he has been a food inspector since 2002. Don't be shy with your questions regarding chicken, Jerod inspects about 15,000 a day prior to them being chilled and processed. He's an enthusiast who can't stop smokin'.
Spinaker grew up in the BBQ starved state of Minnesota. People here are more likely to be eating hot dish or lutefisk than brisket and ribs. But he has always been drawn to outdoor cooking.
"My BBQ journey probably started where many others' did; on the deck with my father. He loved to cook burgers and steaks on the grill for me and my three brothers, but we never really did any low and slow. As we grew up, I started cooking more and more and I fell in love with BBQ. I love how BBQ has that unique way of pulling people together. I love making BBQ, but nothing beats seeing the looks on peoples' faces when they are enjoying every bite, together. I still reside in Minnesota and I work for a chemical trading firm based out of Minnetonka, MN."
Rick Browne is in charge of all our product testing, reviews, and ratings. A renowned TV cooking show host, photojournalist, and author of 16 barbecue books, he was the creator, host, and executive producer of public television's popular Barbecue America TV series, a cooking and travelogue highlighting the world's outdoor culinary landscape. It has aired on more than 230 stations. Browne has appeared on "Good Morning America," the "TODAY" show, "Live with Regis & Kelly," and has been featured in People Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Consumer's Digest, Better Homes & Gardens, and USA Today. He holds an honorary Ph.B. (Doctor of Barbecue Philosophy) bestowed upon him by the Kansas City Barbecue Society for his expertise and commitment to barbecue. There are fewer than 30 Ph.B.s in the world. Here are three of my faves:
Clint Cantwell is the AmazingRibs.com lead writer creating recipes, writing articles, and wielding his cameras for us.
With a passion for all things barbecue and grilling, Cantwell was was named one of the "10 Faces of Memphis Barbecue" by Memphis Magazine in May 2015 and was the winner of the Travel Channel's "American Grilled" nationwide cooking competition series. He is the Editor of his own blog, Grillocracy.com and comes to us from Kingsford.com where he served as editor for several years. He is also a special contributor to TheDailyMeal.com, and has recurring segments on both CNN's HLN, and WREG-TV. He is also the pitmaster of Smoke in da Eye competition barbecue and grilling team.
From his childhood in Texas to several years spent in Kansas City, Wisconsin, New Orleans, and New York, Cantwell's passion for barbecue and grilling runs deep as he travels the country in search of the people, places, and tastes that define our shared grilling culture.
He lives just outside of Memphis along with his wife, three children, and Charcoal the dog, sharing his grilling ideas, experiences, recipes, tips, techniques and more. You can follow him here:
Max Good, Vice President of Product Reviews & Keeper of the Flame
Max is the man in charge of finding the best products for the AmazingRibs.com Equipment Reviews section. Max loves barbecue so much that he took his barbecue sauce recipes, had them bottled, and now sells Black Swan Premium, All-Natural Sauces around the world.
Barbecue was not his first career. He earned a BA from Columbia College in Chicago and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Dana School of Music. He has been involved in every aspect of film, video and music production. He edited the 1991 Academy Award nominated documentary, "The Mark of the Maker" and "Universal Hotel", which is part of a permanent exhibit at the Dachau Memorial Museum.
Norma Goldwyn, Copy Editor
One of the fringe benefits of having a retired school teacher for a Mom is she will gladly underline all my spelling and grammar errors in bright red ink. Mom stays active editing, going to the theatre, and guides art museum tours as a volunteer. She says she's thrilled with her son's success, but still wishes he had become a doctor and really really wishes he would use the name she gave him, and it wasn't Meathead.
David Joachim (sounds like rock 'em) has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks, four of them on barbecue and grilling, and his Food Science column has appeared in Fine Cooking magazine since 2011. He’s a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.”
His credits include The Food Substitutions Bible and The Science of Good Food, both winners of International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Awards. The Science of Good Food also won a World Gourmand Award for Best Food Literature Book, a Cordon D'Or Award for Best Culinary Reference Book, and was a finalist for a James Beard Award in the Best Reference and Scholarship category.
His "A Man, A Can..." series of books has sold more than one million copies (and no, they’re not about beer can chicken).Among his many other titles are The Tailgater's Cookbook and Pure Pork Awesomeness,co-authored with Top Chef fan favorite Kevin Gillespie. His books Mastering the Grill, a New York Times bestseller, and the recent Williams-Sonoma Grill Schoolwere both co-authored with award-winning cooking teacher Andrew Schloss. He also helped edit the IACP Award finalist Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling.
His writing and tips have appeared in national publications such as USA Today, Better Homes & Gardens, Cook's Illustrated, Relish, Prevention, Fitness, Self, Men's Health, Women’s Health, and Bicycling. He has made numerous national appearances on television and radio.
Since high school, Joachim has also enjoyed a second life as a drummer in various blues and rock bands in the New York City and Philadelphia areas. He has performed in several New York City clubs such as The Village Gate, The Bitter End, The China Club, Le Bar Bat, and Mercury Lounge, among others.
Joachim is former food editor at Vegetarian Gourmet magazine, but please don’t call him Potatohead.
Kinger loves to cook and shoot videos. A while ago he started sending us short vids he made of my recipes and we loved them. Now several of them now appear on these pages to help you visualize the process. You can also see them on BBQFOOD4U. Kinger lives in Toronto and says "My Mother told me 'If you wanna eat you better learn to cook.' So I did. Cooking, filming, editing, and cleaning up the mess is a lot of work, but I just love to show everyone how easy it is to make delicious food."
Jerry King draws barbecue and grilling cartoons exclusively for members of The Pitmaster Club. He is one of the most published cartoonists in the world, with a client list of Disney, American Greetings, and many other companies, worldwide. After serving in the Army, Jerry went on to graduate from The Ohio State University. When Jerry isn't drawing cartoons, he's probably on a golf course… losing.
How lucky can I get? My neighbor is an accomplished artist and she has replaced my crude drawings with polished professional illustrations that explain complex concepts.
Lisa is a technical illustrator who studied illustration and graphic design at the American Academy of Art, Chicago, and scientific and botanical illustration at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. A senior designer at the Brookfield Zoo, Lisa's animal and plant illustrations have appeared in publications and zoo exhibits. Other projects have included anatomical illustrations for physical therapy manuals and corporate graphics. She has also exhibited drawings in groups shows in Chicago.
Huskee is the manager of our Pitmaster Club. Born and raised in central Michigan, so he calls it "pop" not soda. His dad loved making burgers and chicken on the gas grill, and thus began his love of all things barbecue. A KCBS Certified Barbeque Judge (CBJ), he experimented for a few years with a cheap Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker and graduated to a loaded Yoder Wichita offset smoker in early 2012. His arsenal has since expanded to seven cookers and counting, and he uses them year round since "grilling and smoking knows no off season!" Cooking with wood is in his blood, and his current wood collection is over 15 varieties. When he's not cooking he works full time night shift in a hospital as a licensed and registered respiratory therapist (RRT). He worked as a blown insulation, drywall, and painting crew leader prior to his healthcare and barbecue careers.
Dr. Antonio Mata, PhD, is a meat scientist known around the world as "The Meat Geek". He has been a Consulting Technical Coordinator to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the discoverer of the Petite Tender steak and the Las Vegas Strip Steak. He was also involved in the discovery of the flatiron steak. He answers my meat questions and makes me laugh. In 2013 he was #44 on the Fast Company magazine list of the 100 Most Creative People. Here's a link to an interview with him on CBS News. Also, Meatingplace Magazine did a cover story and posted videos about him and the LVSS.
Jim is head of our technical team. He is an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) and Adobe Certified Instructor (ACI) with over 30 years of experience working with graphic design and office productivity software. He has written nine books for Adobe Press and hundreds of articles on graphic design and electronic publishing. His video training series can be found on Lynda.com and TotalTraining.com. He is a nationally known speaker and presenter who has represented Adobe Systems at industry events and seminars nationwide.
Nate films, edits, and produces instructional videos for us and his own YouTube channel, White Thunder BBQ. His goal is to teach and inspire viewers to cook with live fire and have fun. His family loves eating what he shoots (with his camera, not a gun).
Bill McGrath, Thermometer Expert
Bill McGrath is our Thermometer Maven. He has sophisticated equipment, an electrical engineering degree from Cornell University, and an MBA (almost) from UC Berkley. Despite being mostly retired, he is still the person responsible for developing and updating all of ExxonMobil's training modules for their refinery and chemical plant electricians worldwide. He is an avid cook, oenophile, photographer, pilot, scuba diver, and motorcycle buff. He lives in a motor home and he and his significant other follow the sun. His ratings and reviews can be found in a searchable database here.
Henrik born and raised on a farm in the southern part of Sweden and he lives in Stockholm, the capital. He has a house in the country side also, where the smoker resides. It is just a one hour drive from the city, so he's there almost every weekend. He spent his senior year in high school as an exchange student in the US. He has also worked in the US and in England several times writing realtime financial trading applications, specializing in performance. He has since broadened his software engineer practice so he now works with performance in general for various projects. "Basically they call me in when it needs fixing and don't know how."
He started with food quite late, didn't grasp the concept at first. "I read recipes like an engineer. If the recipe said 1 teaspoon of salt, I wouldn't deviate. Soon enough I discovered the fun in experimenting and trying out new combos, and I went to town trying to decipher everything, so I could start putting the pieces together from the ground up. I enjoy cooking quite a bit, and have always been intrigued by barbecue. How in the world can you get a piece of meat to taste so heavenly after 12-14 hours in a smoker? I just had to figure that one out. So, I've spent years testing, failing, reading up to become better at grilling. In 2013 I had worked too much, so I took 5 months off to 'de-stress' and just cook. I did barbecue for the entire time, to improve my game. That was nothing short of awesome. I'm basically self-taught in the kitchen, but I have taken one class that I recommend for everyone: butchering, or how to butcher. I learnt so much seeing exactly where each cut is on the animal, and how to cut it."
Greg Rempe produces a 30 minute weekly podcast that we call The Pitcast for members of the Pitmaster Club. It has the latest info from the food and barbecue world. He also does occasionall product reviews for us. Rempe is known around the world because of his two hour broadcast, the BBQ Central Show.
Paul Sidoriak's official title is Fire Starter because he makes things happen in his role as Director of Relationships and fires up his Kamado about 300 times each year, regardless of whether Mother Nature decides to cooperate with him at his home in western Montana. He is a social media, sales and marketing expert and before we tied him up, he consulted with some big name companies. We got him because he loves cooking. His style is lighthearted, whimsical, and takes advantage of the season. "Although we have a limited growing season here in western Montana, our local family-run butcher shops, meat purveyors, and farmers' markets more than make up for it," he says. "I am so lucky to be able to call a specialty meat processor and ask them if they will set me up with a specific cut of meat for an upcoming cook. Sometimes I may have to wait a week for them to cut meat again, but it is well worth the wait." Check out some of his cooks on Instagram. Sidoriak is the author of Exclusively Kamado, a book on how to make almost anything on the Kamado grill.
An classically trained chef from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, Chef Udvett has managed several restaurant kitchens, the test kitchen of a large meat processor, and the kitchen at the AmazingRibs.com World Headquarters. He is also a passionate and enthusiastic home brewer, with commercial brewing experience. He has since moved on to become Product Development (R&D) Manager at CBQ, LLC a subsidiary of Carl Buddig and Company, a major food producer, but he still tests recipes for us, offers suggestions and modifications, helps develop new recipes.
Charlotte is guardian of our brand. She's passionate and inventive. After working in motorcycles, fine art film, beauty, and financial services, she's thrilled to marry her love for food, drink, and all things marketing.
Candy Sue Weaver is one of the best known and most respected people in the world of barbecue. She is President Emeritus of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the largest barbecue association in the world and sanctioning body to more than 500 competitions. She was elected to the Board of Directors in 2009, served as president from 2011 through 2013, and was re-elected to serve on the Board until 2016. Currently she is secretary and chairman of the education committee. She also is a member of International Barbeque Cookers Association's and competes under their rules also, the Fort Smith BBQ Society, the Oklahoma Barbecue Society, the Rocky Mountain Barbecue Association, and a lifetime member of KCBS!
Her day job is VP of sales & marketing for BBQr's Delight, maker of food grade wood pellets for fuel in pellet-fired cookers and pellets for smoke flavoring. She has been competing since 2003 and has a roomful of trophies including a first place for sauce in her first competition ever. I had the pleasure of hanging out with her through a competition once and wrote this article about the experience.