Low & Slow — Lessons from the Pit

Low & Slow — Lessons from the Pit

I love barbecue, like…ALL of it. I love Pork Ribs. I love Beef Ribs. I love Pulled Pork. I love Beef Brisket. I love Smoked Turkey. I love it all! Making great BBQ is an art form. Those that create it are called Pit Masters for a good reason; seasoning the meat, managing the fire, temperature of the meat, and speed of the cook is a skill that few have.

The last 10 days have been crazy; speaking four times, writing a ton for the book, making and praying through some big decisions, dreaming up new ideas, and seeing visions become reality. Sitting at Martins BBQ Joint (some of my favorite Q) after church yesterday, I thought about the process of BBQ. It’s all cooked low and slow. (Which is what makes it special.) We live in a world where 30-Minute Meals with Rachel Ray is one of the biggest shows on cable TV ever. We are the microwave generation. We want everything NOW. The ten minutes to boil water is too long when we can microwave it in three.


We want everything fast, even church has become a race against the clock to keep in under 60 minutes. We all see Facebook ads every that tell us if we just sign up for 10 secrets to blah blah blah we can have a house in Beverly Hills and a pony. The media has led us to believe that everyone that is successful is an overnight success, and there is some truth to that; lots of overnights, lots of not sleeping through the night. I love what Bear Grylls says, “Dreams are great, but they have a price. Dreams are made possible in those dark hours, the unsung hours behind the scenes, and if you want them, you’ve got to pay that price.”

The men and woman of the pit have mastered the art of waiting and know when to stoke the fire, and when to sit back and just let it burn. There are times when you take the meat off of the fire and let it rest. If you sliced into that perfectly cooked brisket too soon, all the juice and flavor will run out As I sat eating my pulled pork and brisket, I noticed the pit. I thought about the creative process and the act of doing and finishing stuff. As bad as we want things to be fast and awesome, it’s just not reality. If you don’t believe me, microwave ribs sometime. It’s not gonna be good.


For me, to have my whole hog pulled pork that someone rolled out of bed in the middle of night to be to put in the smoker at precisely the right time is amazing. I doubt anyone else was thinking about the process; they were just wiping the sauce off of their lips. But I know the truth that behind everything I love and enjoy, someone got there early, stayed late, failed miserably, pulled an all-nighter, almost quit, or most likely all the above.

Some of you are reading this post today, and your fire has burnt out. Some of you have your fire so hot, that you are gonna burn out. Some of you are just sitting around talking about it how awesome BBQ is and haven’t even bothered to go buy some meat and firewood. Maybe you are like me that has had something awesome on the smoker, and it’s just a few degrees away from being done. Don’t expect the big impossible things you are called to do to happen overnight; they might, but it may take several overnights.

As they say, slow and steady wins the race. Some dreams are best served low and slow, but don’t don’t take too long… I am hungry!

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