1Buckie (Ken) is our first WKC featured member in 2014. I first ran into Buckie in 2012 and he always had these massive smoked cooks and rows of kettles a smokin’. I would also probably describe him as a ‘turd fiend as he cooks tons of them (literally). 1Buckie is a true Grillfella as he’s got the kettle smoking technique down pat and he never hesitates to give advice and share recipes. What I love about 1Buckie is that you wouldn’t know that most of his kettles are beaters by judging the food that comes off of them. That just goes to show that good bbq is about the cook, not the cooker- even if it’s a Weber Kettle! Here is my interview of 1Buckie in typical Buckie fashion. He’s a bit kooky so get to know him better!
Congrats, Ken! and thanks for the great interview!
Ken Hill, Age 58, Sacramento, Central California
Turns-ons: Long walks on the beach with my “C” Code Smokey Joe…… and 8 or 9 kettles in “L” or “J” configuration
How did you get started grilling & barbecuing?
Like some folks, camping out…..eastern Nevada is where my parents are from & we’d go every summer, camping & esp. fishing for rainbow & German brown trout, fire cooked in cast iron. Later on, in high school, we’d do these large event camping trips every summer & started bringing BBQ’s up in the trucks…..usually Webers, a small gasser sometimes……..
In my early twenties, I worked for a time in a REAL busy steakhouse…. We did from 4 to 7 large prime ribs on Friday & Saturdays & would peel & split 3~500 shrimp, along with the regular sides (rice, taters, etc.) Even though I only worked in the kitchen part for less than a year, all this got me used to the ideas & thinking it takes to prep & produce larger quantities of food…….comes in handy even nowdays !!!!!
Any childhood memories of bbqing?
Grandpa would bring the big Dutch ovens ( some he cast himself, extra large size) & would bury them in the campfire coals……also, his brother-in-law, my Uncle Shorty, would cook on a Weber (1st time I remember seeing one used, this would be about 1962~64) when we were back in town…..that guy did some great chicken as I recall………. Dad once got a Redhead 3-wheeler brand new, my brother still has it at his place….. He would mostly just do burgers & dogs, a few roasts now & then…..got that smell of charcoal firmly set in the memory around that time…..
How did you end up on WKC?
I come here from a slightly different angle than a lot of folks……..the wife finally let me use her older digital camera in 2010 & I had registered at the Smoke Ring a year or so before, but not posted anything……I got going posting up cooks over there, but there was a lull in the action one day & I signed on at BBQ Bretheren……started talking about kettles & almost immediately somebody said check out Weber Kettle Club…..what a great place…. the other sites are just peachy, but this one’s the best deal for a kettlehead……anything a body would want to know, or the crew will find out if there’s not an immediate answer !!!!
Do you have a favorite cooker?
Mostly mine are older, somewhat beat up workhorse types….. My main smoker is “Bob” ( on left, below ) is an older 3-vent wheel faded black model…..he’s great, nice thick interior crust built up & keeps temp real well…..260f is a common target for a lot of items & Bob’s easy to get settled right there….. Had him about 8 years & don’t actually remember where he came from, but I know he was free……
Here’s a link to some pics of Bob & his work ~~>
I’ll use an ongoing rotation of 4 or 5 kettles, switching them out from time to time, lately I’ve been utilizing a couple newer 18’s I have, just to keep the efficiency of space idea fresh in mind…….
What other Webers and BBQ’s do you have in the stable?
I’ve mostly got all kettles, but will use a Camp Chef two burner when camping at places where charcoal isn’t allowed
I’ve got a few real nice ones, due directly to heads-ups’ from the great members here….a Blue Mastertouch, a near perfect 1990 Brownie & an Avacado Sequoia that needs woodwork…..unfortunately, I don’t move quite as quickly on the fix-ups as a lot of ther people here, but the restores will happen in time…..
I got almost all of my 25 kettles for free, prior to signing on here & looking for the nicer ones……all thru the late 90’s & early 2000’s, people would search me out to give me free ones….some I’ve passed along, but they get replaced…… The neighbors on each side of me just gave me their 18’s & then I found another, brand new, in a dumpster around the corner…..3 kettles, free, within 250 feet of home…..stuff happens…… I’ve also lucked into an old style shish-kabob ring, corn-n-tater rack & an old style wok real cheap or free…..I guess it pays to just keep the radar up & the eyes open…..the stuff is out there, it just needs to surface at the right time…….
the wife isn’t too big on the smoke flavor; she even went out & got her own One-Touch Gold so she could ‘just grill things…..without that smell !!!
What is your favorite thing to cook? Care to share a recipe?
If pressed for one item, I’d say ABT’s (Atomic Buffalo ‘Turds). I really like the tandoori powder mix in the cream cheese…..puts ’em over the top !!! They always go over well with crowds & I can down a bunch of ’em even if it’s me & the dawgs having smoked stuff…… Here’s a link to the way I wrap & some pics ~~~>
Really almost anything can be done on a kettle; the last few years, I’ve gone to more of the low ‘n’ slow traditional BBQ stuff, but I must say that hanging around here makes for a great idea mine for the baking, straight grilling, pizza & other creative things I don’t do near enough of…….there’s some GREAT COOKS on this board !!!!!
Other common items are tri-tip, pork butt, drip pan beans, asparagus, zucchini, corn & potatoes in various forms for sides……………..
Oh, and I really like fatties, but don’t do them up nearly enough……
The way I arrived at long, low heat BBQ was by experimenting with less & less coals & all kinds of different setups, lots of mistakes that still seemed to taste OK, then picking up a few ideas from the people with big trailer cookers & offsets at Smoke Ring…..some of the methods & ways of thinking about those kinds of cooks translate over to the smaller format of a kettle just fine !!!!!
A lot of the grilling ideas & methods come from right here @ WKC…….
If I need to do more food, just lite more kettles !!!!
I’m not as neat, orderly & organized as a lot of people, much more of a ‘throw it on & go’ kind of approach……gets me in trouble during high heat grilling sometimes !!!!!!
What is your inspiration for your smoke sessions?
The basic thing for me is I just love to feed people & see them really enjoy it !!!
That central thought keeps me moving on trying out new things & finding ways to make stuff go farther per dollar, without compromising quality, as best I can. Sometimes, if it’s just me & the dawgs, I really like to just play with my food & see how things turn out…..there’s a foul ball here & there, but mostly stuff comes out decent……
Any shout outs or kudos you would like to mention?
Oh, you betcha !!!! All the great cooks, idea people & really everyone at WKC !!!
I especially appreciate Marty, Craig, Jeff, Terry L. & some others who keep their kettles super screamin’ CLEAN !!!!
Hank, who was the 1st spotlight person, is not only a great cook but a terrific restorer…..Brian & the Duke & Troy and all the people who’ve come along more recently & jumped right on into the spirit of the Kettle Club ~~~> All you folks know who you are……too numerous to mention……and maybe especially all the folks from OZ !!!!!
And my favorite quote: “Sometimes it come out better than others……but when it do……boy….it is a sweet, spicy, smokey, juicy, tender piece of heaven……if I do say so myself…….” -Elston Limehouse, pitmaster in Noble’s Holler from the TV series “Justified”, Episode: “Harlan Roulette” 2012
Last but not least- share some pics!