Engineer or pitmaster, both!

Not all pitmasters are built the same and fit a mold.  I would not have been able to accomplish what I have professionally and personally without the sacrifices of my family in Manning, South Carolina specifically the Paxville/Home Branch area. The things I learned as an engineer are helpful when I breakdown the art of BBQ whom my ancestors learned through practice but I still treat and respect bbq like the culinary artform in which it is and should remain.  Yes, I do have a PhD in Mechancal Engineering and work daily to push America forward using vast amounts technological breakthroughs as needed.  On the contrary, I stick to very traditional methods of cooking SC whole hog BBQ​( I would not have to say whole hog if I was in SC, only BBQ) that has been past down to me orally and by practicing the tradition since I was eleven solely, and at the 6, I guess when I could safely retrieve a shovel of coals from the fire to place under the hog.

 

There is nothing broken with the bbq process and why should I change it.  I may design new tools and make improvements to pit design to make the job a solo act and getting more consistent results, but I will not sacrifce "hardwork" for the ease of cooking, for example BBQ cooked with gas, should not be called BBQ.    I like to take my experience and background to break it down and share with others who may not be able to go back to the rural south where such crafts were masterfully perfected over centuries. Furthermore, the techniques I used were not written down as sharecroppers lacked the education.   Finally, since I did not grow up cooking bbq in a restaurant, but rather as a son of farmer and welder, my perspective is very different from most BBQ joints, as I had the opportunity to raise, slaughter, and cook the hog, in addition to designing my own pits. 

 

Howard Conyers, PhD

Pitmaster

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