When you ask BBQ Pitmaster Joe Stout how he first got into barbecue competitions, he’ll tell you, “I’m just a cook who likes to compete. I’m no pit master or anything.”
However, after talking to Joe, I’m not sure I believe he’s, “Just a cook”. He’s won some major awards up against some of the biggest names in BBQ.
How would you sum up the Saffire grill in 5 words or less?
Stout: Awesome and versatile!
Who would you most recommend this to grill to?
Stout: It’s for anyone who likes to grill, smoke or bake.
What are some items you have cooked on it so far? What are some of your favorites?
Stout: Chicken, pork loin, pork chops, lamb chops, steak, moink balls (meatballs wrapped in bacon), stuffed jalapeno peppers and marinated asparagus. I’ve also recently started to experiment with hi-temperature ribs. I cook on the rack at 275 degrees (indirect heat) and they are done in about 3 hours. My wife says that they are the best ribs she has had yet! I use a dry rub on them and then sauce them about 10 minutes before they are about to be pulled off. I also do not use much sugar in the rub because it can get messy!
What surprised you most about the Saffire kamado grill?
Stout: The biggest surprise was how well it cooks and keeps food moist at the same time. It’s also very durable. Some people may think that a ceramic cooker would be fragile, but that’s just not the case. And, while the average person likely does not move their grill too often, I move mine all the time. I load it in a trailer, strap it in and it bounces down the road to competitions and haven’t had an issue once.
What feature do you like best and why?
Stout: I like the ceramic plate for indirect cooking; it’s important for how I use it. The wood chip feeder is awesome! I also like the shelves. Finally, it is so easy to use. I light it and it’s ready to use in 20 minutes- everyone has 20 minutes! It’s all very self-contained.
What is the next item you plan to cook on the Saffire?
Stout: Chicken of any kind!
As a BBQ Pitmaster, have you used the Saffire in competition?
Stout: Yes. In fact, I had never won an award for chicken. I just could not seem to place. Enter the Saffire kamado. My first time out with the Saffire, I was competing at a KCBS event and I cooked chicken and placed second, it was amazing! I have won several KCBS events on the Saffire as well, first-place and several top-ten finishes, all of them were chicken.
*BBQ Pitmaster Joe’s competition name is Back Porch Q
How did you become a competition BBQ Pitmaster?
Stout: I have been playing around with smokers for more than 30 years and decided try it. I have not looked back since and will do about 12 competitions per year.
What is your day job? Tell me a little about yourself?
Stout: Well, I started out working as a farmer on a family farm. We farmed corn and soy beans on 3,000 acres. However, it was getting financially difficult and I decided it was time to go to school. I studied computer science and now I work in IT for the State of Illinois.