"I'm a lover, I'm a looker, I'm a BBQ cooker." This popular phrase is something I first heard said by Butch Lupinetti of "Butch's Lip Smackin' Ribs". It kind of reminds me of the Steve Miller song Joker with the well-known chorus: "I'm a picker. I'm a grinner. I'm a lover. And I'm a sinner. I play my music in the sun."
I've not been featured on a Food Network program (not yet at least), but I've been a student, stockbroker, insurance agent, business analyst, vending machine operator, car salesman, manager, blogger, short order cook and a janitor. And most recently....a certified bbq nut.
Barbecuers come from all backgrounds, vocations, and bring a litany of experience to the hobby. Whether you've worked as a French chef, a preacher, a teacher, or a factory worker; bbq doesn't care. The fire, smoke, seasoning and sauce are equalizers.
The best way to learn to cook bbq is by a trial and error and hit or miss approach that will help you learn what works and what doesn't. Recipes and cookbooks can help jump start the process, but ultimately it's up to your own imagination and ingenuity to discover what works for you and what doesn't work and what you like and don't like.
Read books, read websites, and buy the best bbq smoker that your budget allows, but don't take anyone else's word for what's good bbq and what's not so good. Learn it by doing it. Immerse yourself in it, add a little of this and a little of that, try hickory wood, try apple wood, try Kosher salt and Seasalt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, pellets, charcoal and gas if you must, but most of all....enjoy the process of discovering your own definition of bbq nirvana.