Glad you found your way here! My name is Kevin Taylor and the following is the “Reader’s Digest” version of my cooking life.
I was born and raised in Negaunee, Michigan, a small town in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. My wife, Lynne, Kate and Kurtis and I now reside in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I attended the “Hangin’ Around the Kitchen, Lookin’ Over Mom’s Shoulder” School of Cooking…….the largest cooking school in the country. Mom was from a large Italian family and Nona, her mother, handed down all the Italian recipes from the Old Country. Subsequently, I was trained in the art of Northern Italian cooking.
After leaving home and getting married, I expanded my cooking portfolio and was attracted to classic French cuisine with their rich sauces and pastries. These were the type of recipes that took several hours to prepare and were very rich. About 60 pounds later, we started our family. The cooking really changed…have you ever tried serving Beef Wellington to kids? So, it was back to the more “traditional” meals…McDonald’s, peanut butter and jam and the most famous Italian, Chef Boyardee.
Grilling and BBQ Capture My Attention
Through this whole period of time, grilling was always one of my favorite ways to prepare food. As a natural extension of grilling, smoking was about to make its first appearance. My first experience with the world of smoking was learning to make my own beef jerky. After mastering the art of jerky making I got more and more interested in smoking and started exploring how to make ribs, pork butt, brisket, etc.
I enrolled in the “Ruined Meat and Wasted Money” School of Smoking and after 1 year dropped out. The proverbial “breaking of the camel’s back” came when Lynne’s mother and father were visiting and I cooked up some Apple City Ribs….which, once again, were horrible and promptly thrown away……errrr, pizza anyone? About a year later, I made up my mind to tackle this challenging endeavor. I broke down and spent a couple bucks on a thermometer and my whole smoking life changed! Little did I know, when cooking these meats, my smoker was only cooking at a temp of 190 degrees…..kind of hard to get your meats to 205 degrees wouldn’t you say? So, I bought a new “pit” and re-enrolled in the School of “Low and Slow” and finally graduated with honors.
The Competition Bug Hits
Soon, I was completely immersed in smoking. It became an obsession! Talking late into the night about different cuts of meat, smoking my breakfasts, developing desserts that could be smoked. Is there anything that can’t be smoked??? This obsession led to the search to compare my Q to others. I became a BBQ judge, but soon the competition bug hit me. Team Double Smoke was born and we started competing in KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) events around the Midwest.