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Meathead Goldwyn of AmazingRibs.com
1. What sort of work or play were you doing with food before you started your website?
First of all, AmazingRibs.com is not a blog. A blog (short for weblog) is usually organized by date and usually the work of one or two people, often as a side gig. AmazingRibs.com a serious full bore website with 4000 pages of tested recipes, science, technique, mythbusting, and product reviews. We have a staff of full time experts including Max Good, the only full-time grill tester in the world, Bill McGrath, an electrical engineer who test thermometers with scientific equipment, Clint Cantwell who used to run the Kingsford site, David Joachim author of more than a dozen cookbooks, an IT team, and YoursTruly.
Before I launched AmazingRibs.com in 2005 I was the syndicated wine critic for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and other papers. I published a magazine about wine, beer, and spirits for 10 years. I was also an instructor at Cornell University. In other words, I was a high priced wino.
I also thought it was a way to crowd-source a barbecue book (although the word crowd source didn’t exist yet). Took me 16 years but my book, “Meathead, The Science Of Great Barbecue And Grilling” became a New York Times bestseller, and Southern Living magazine ranked it as one of the 100 best cookbooks ever written. I’m very proud of it and it has sold more than 200,000 copies.
2. What drew you to food as a hobby or profession?
Dad was a food scientist, owned a butcher shop at one time, and later worked as an inspector for USDA. He taught me to grill. He might have let me sip some beer while we were out back, so that helped. Mom & Dad had a restaurant for a while and I was a jerk (the guy who mixed sodas). I have always loved to cook, eat, and drink.
3. Why did you decide to start a food website over other food-related businesses or professions?
In 1990 I ran AOL’s Food & Drink network back when AOL owned the internet. They were like Facebook. I had launched a wine, food, beer magazine, but I saw the potential of the internet and started publishing on LA online before anybody ever typed w three times.
4. What was the most difficult part of starting your own food website, and how did you overcome that challenge?
Actually, it was pretty easy. In those days there was no competition and html was pretty simple. There was no ruby on rails or the other complex programming languages that forced me to hire IT guys. Google found me and it took off. By 2010 I was doing AmazingRibs.com full time.
5. When did you realize that your food website was successful?
When the bank account told me I could quit my day job.
6. What is your favorite food or type of food to cover on your site?
We cover all phases of outdoor cooking. Of course I am known as a sciencey meataholic with a penchant for ribs, but in summer our garden feed my grill and smoker. When it comes to meats, pork ribs, beef rib cap, and lamb rib chops top my list.
7. How do you discover or create new recipes and foods to cover on your site?
I did my undergrad work in journalism and masters in fine arts so I am naturally and by training curious and creative. Ideas come at me from all angles like TIE fighters.
8. Which of the foods on your website do you eat most in your own kitchen?
Varies with the seasons. Right now, late July, we are swimming in cucumbers and I love my Thai Cucumbers recipe. Eat it almost nightly.
9. If you could only recommend one recipe or dish to your readers, which recipe or dish would you recommend?
Pretty sure we were among the first to teach how to make pastrami and now every BBQ site has a recipe. But mine is absolutely effen killer. You have to try it.