Meet The Man Behind The Smoker

I remember myself as a young boy staring into a fire and watching as the food slowly transformed into delicious smoky goodness. Though cooking with a live fire has been a bit of a family tradition, I never imagined my fascination with fire turning into a career.

At some point in the ’80s, gas grills came out and it seemed that the art and skill were completely removed from grilling. While everyone was falling in love with the convenience, It just wasn’t for me. Many years later, I met my wife Suzanne, and she reintroduced me to charcoal grilling. The obsession began! I exhausted every grilling possibility, and I decided to start barbecuing. I had no idea what I was doing. I experimented (and failed) with different types of woods, different cuts of meat, and different techniques until I was finally able to to consistently put out a good product.

That's where technique comes in: Proper placement in the smoker, tweaking the temperature in the cook chamber, burning the wood at the optimal temperature, and getting the air-flow through the smoker just right. Everything needs to come together perfectly.

It can be very discouraging when you spend so many hours and work so hard only to end up with something you would feel embarrassed to feed your dogs. Needless to say, I wasted tons of meat before people started saying they couldn’t believe how good it was. We started having family cookouts, then began catering parties and large events, and here we are now…with our own barbecue business. With our faith in God’s plan, and the abundance of family and friends He has blessed us with, we are now able to do what we love.  We are now Desert Oak Barbecue.

Richard Funk