I'm Heidi from Wisconsin, and although I've been the designated griller in my family for years, I just recently began to refine my techniques and the types of things I work with.
My one grillin' claim-to-fame is a recipe I developed a bunch of years ago when I won a regional contest for recipes made with Southern Comfort - with my "Soco Ribs" - a Chinese-style rib that, start to finish, takes three days to make the mouth-watering gems - but, oh, so worth it!!!. These ribs have been in high demand ever since I developed the recipe when I was in my late teens - and have been the star of my annual Fourth of July BBQ gatherings for family and friends. I'm a youngish (45 yrs old) Gramma these days, so you can imagine how long I've been making these!
Aside from that, I just love to cook for people. It's my parent's fault, really - they loved to entertain so much they wound up buying a tavern-restaurant in a small town and running it for fifteen years, right up until their retirement in 1992.
Growing up, we had always done our own butchering on the farm - and even after getting into the eats and drinks business, my folks still took the time to make their own sausages; particularly bratwurst, mettwurst and summer sausage. They had us kids helping from as soon as we could put our fists in a giant tub of ground meat and spices and work it up into a tasty treat - so I grew up cooking and enjoying things done by hand. Not much of one for pre-made anything.
My husband, Tim, enjoys my cooking - and really, really loves how much I like to grill and smoke meats and other things. I'm a charcoal/wood lady - I understand why folks use gas grills, but, as far as I'm concerned, if it isn't charcoal and/or wood - it isnt' grilling!
I make the usual things that most backyard bbqr's do, but then I expand my wings a bit - from my Soco Ribs to my latest achievement - smoked grilled pastrami!! (YUM!)
I also was recently diagnosed with diabetes type II - so I have had to be careful and check over and even revamp some of my sauce and rub recipes. (Side Note: Don't use the sweetener stevia in bbq sauce - YUCK!!!!) I also need to be careful with salt and fat, so even though I may be enjoying making all of these yummy things - I may have only a few bites for myself... and am looking for healthier versions of things, as well as the old standards.
Equipment: I use a Char-Broil 30" charcoal grill, 784 sq inch cooking area, porcelain-coated cooking grates, crank-adjustable height fire pan, charcoal access door, 2 folding side shelves, 4 tool hooks, temperature gauge in the cover, slide-out ash tray - can use charcoal or wood chunks. It was my 45th b-day gift from my husband this year, to replace the old, rusted-out barrel grill I'd lovingly cooked to death the year before. I prefer hardwood charcoal and use various wood chips and chunks, and even cook directly with wood chunks from time to time. I don't have any gadgets, aside from a chimney starter and your usual complement of tools and such.
I am looking forward to getting to know folks - and, I'm even thinking about maybe trying my hand at some competitions - but have a ways to go before I'm ready to do that!