Our New Finance Manager is also a Pitmaster!
Our new Finance Manager, John Atwell, is taking care of our accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes. With over 12 years of finance management experience in the healthcare industry, we are lucky to have him on our team.
As a bonus to us, he is also an accomplished competition BBQ smoker and restauranteur. His competition record goes back ten years, with awards to show for it. This would include trophies for brisket and multiple KCBS 180 Star pins; a badge indicating a perfect score across all categories at a KCBS competition. Additionally, his wife Brandi has earned a few in the chicken category.
John has owned a wide variety of cookers. Starting in his backyard, his first smoker was a homemade drum smoker that he found on Criag’s List. As his interest in the art and science of smoking meat increased he began upgrading his equipment, going from the drum to a couple of Weber Smokey Mountains. After a few of competitions using backyard smokers, he started using trailer-mounted off-set smokers and a direct flow cart smoker, and ultimately a custom-made 20’ trailer with porch mounted direct flow off-set smoker. To keep up with the volume demands of his restaurants, he scaled up using to a rotisserie gas assist smoker made by Ole Hickory Pitts.
John remembers buying his first FireBoard thermometer after a substantial loss of food due to his pit’s fire burning out overnight. Determined that it would not happen again, he purchased a FireBoard 2 to monitor his pit. It was piece of mind and paid off for him when he and Brandi were on vacation in Charleston, SC. “We were out to dinner when I got a FireBoard alert on my phone that the restaurant’s pit was running too hot for too long.” It was an easy fix when John called one of his staff members and got the problem fixed on the spot.
Being a nice guy, John offered to share his talents and make lunch for all of his new coworkers. He decided to use a Primo Kamado equipt with a FireBoard 2 Pro and Drive Blower to learn more about pit control with a Drive Program. For meat, he found a good-looking Tri-Tip at one of our new neighbors, Local Pig butcher shop just a couple of blocks to our west on 5th Street.
The cook went smoothly, with lighting the fire at 10:00 and setting a pit temp of 350. I introduced him to the Spark’s SyncMode, and he carried it around as he side-worked applying some rub on the tri-tip, doing some important accounting, and whipping up a tasty chimichurri to ear with the meat. After the meat hit an internal temperature of 115, John removed the Primo’s deflector stones and then placed the tri-tip back on the grill for a quick sear.
The result was a delicious cut of sirloin with a hint of a smoke ring. As a topping, John put together a traditional Argentinian chimichurri, a tasty pairing of contrasting flavors!