I stumbled into the world of BBQ quite accidentally about 9 years ago. I had just moved down to New Orleans to work with the band Nine Inch Nails, where we had a studio down on Magazine St. We had a big kettle grill, and since I enjoyed a bit of cooking as time away from music, I offered to man the grill for some chicken and chops. Since I was the only one at the studio who could work the grill without charring everything within an inch of its life, I was anointed the grill man for the next 6 years!
I decided to wise myself up to more creative grilling so I bought myself an 18’ Weber for my place in the Quarter along with How To Grill and The Barbeque Bible. No sooner did I have time to study the word of Steven that my time had come up in NO, and I had to move back to California. This gave me about a month to study HTG and TBB so by the time I moved into a small house in Hollywood I was ready.
The first thing I was to make was KC Style Ribs. I was using hardwood hickory in my little Weber, no charcoal, so the ribs weren’t on but 15 minutes before the fire department showed up!!! I found out quickly that people in Hollywood aren’t too keen on the sweet smoke of hickory (at least not the streams I was producing). The ribs came out superb, thanks to Stevens step by step in HTG. I couldn’t believe it because this was my first time.
Inspired, I tore into different Raichlen recipes daily (using charcoal and smaller chunks of wood to avoid the FD) prompting people to come over a little bit too much. I had perfected pork and beef ribs, pork butt, jerk chicken, tri-tips (my favs) and smoked goat cheese toasts, smoked olive tapenade, grilled pizza (for my California friends). I got to the point were I was grilling for 30 to 40 people (that’s a lot for a musician, not a pro grill master) on holidays, with my grilled pizza lasting no more than 30 seconds off the grill. I still don’t know how you pro’s do this all summer!
During this time I met a wonderful woman, who was appropriately enough from Kansas City! My wife to be was so over exposed to BBQ growing up that she hated it. Now I believe that faint of heart would have backed off, instead I turned her on to the BBQ I learned in Brazil so we became a happy grilling family. After getting married last October she got me the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten: a Blue Weber Performer Grill with One Touch Ignition (after Steven gave it the thumbs up). Boy did I pick the right woman!
Around the beginning of the year we moved back here to my home town of San Francisco, and the Performer has been great even though I’m in the trickiest part of the city temperature wise. I have read over all of Stevens books (I picked up Sauces and USA along the way) so many times the books are falling apart. His writing is almost as good as his recipes (my only 1 big failure was Matambre!). After my first trip to KC with my wife last week, and experiencing the real deal, I finally thought it was time to tell my story on my first 3 years on the Raichlen diet!