Pork U. is for you

More than a year ago, my bride read about a class called “Pork U.” offered by Sam Huff from BBQ1 in Garden and Gun magazine.  She tried to enroll me as a birthday present; all classes were full.  She tried again the following year, but all classes for the year sold out in under 30 minutes.  Thursday, she got a call from Sam himself, and she learned there was an opening for Saturday.  I cancelled my plans.

inside sam's class

I arrived at Sam’s back yard in Kennesaw at 7:30am; I was the first one there.  His wife introduced herself and pointed out the coffee.  Shortly after I entered his outdoor classroom/kitchen, two men who’d driven up from Tallahassee arrived.  One was an attorney; the other a builder/entrepreneur (who’d just sold the company he’d started during his retirement for $17M).  Over the next half hour, another 15 folks came in …. most from the Atlanta metropolitan area; one couple was from Orlando.


Then it was time for class to begin.

sam teaching

We opened our workbooks and took notes on how to prepare sausage, ribs, pork shoulder, pork loin, chicken wings, beer can chicken, spatchcocked chicken, brisket, mac-n-cheese, coleslaw, and baked beans.  Then, got to eat all of it.  It was nearly 12 hours of awesome.  We even learned some good grill lighting techniques.

lighting the grill

After we concluded, it was time to go home and put what I’d learned into practice.  I tossed 2 pork shoulders into my Primo smoker.

butts on grill

I followed my notes like a recipe, set everything up at 8pm, went to bed, and took them off about 11am the next morning.  Then I put 5 racks of ribs on the smoker, and we began prepping the back yard for our annual neighborhood “back to school” cookout party.

We had 48 seated in our detached garage.

in garage

There were others in the driveway.

under tent

And others on the deck + patio.

on patio

And still others in the yard (children, mostly).

kids in yard

43 households — nearly 100 people — came over to eat the burgers, dogs, and (most importantly) the bbq I’d prepared.  I wore my special graduation apron all day.  I worried about fulfilling expectations.

They loved it.  Neighbor after neighbor complimented the Boston butts and ribs profusely.

w d in kitchen

We even lucked out on the 50% rain forecast (it sprinkled for a few minutes during the HOA meeting, but everyone was in the garage or under the tent for that part anyway)!

The weekend couldn’t have gone better.

I highly recommend Pork U to anyone interested in improving his/her barbecuing skills.  I believe it cost a couple hundred dollars (it was a gift, so my bride paid), but the experience and knowledge was priceless, especially if you enjoy entertaining large groups of friends in your back yard (and consider yourself a carnivore).  I want to do it again.


  1. Best. Pork Butt. Evar. I mean, for realz–you totally outdid yourself. We should have another next week. Srzly.

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