Tim Gaines’ passion for the grill began at an early age during summer visits to his grandparent’s farm in North Carolina. It was there Tim learned the art of smoking and slow roasting meats from his family. Today, Tim owns his own catering business called Grillin’ Gaines where he shares the long tradition of slow roasting with his customers.
In this Q/A interview, Tim shares what inspired him to get started in the catering business along with some insider tips for winning a BBQ competition.
M&R: Tell us a little about Grillin’ Gaines and your approach to barbecue.
Tim: I was taught the art of smoking meats at very young age while visiting my granddad on his farm in North Carolina. Here is where low and slow was the key. Although while growing up in Tallahassee and living throughout Florida my journey lead me the opportunity with working with many talented chefs. I always had a dream to share some of the past down home recipes from my granddad, aunts and uncles. Our barbeque is the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, tangy and smoky favors that is a little Carolina, Memphis, St. Louis and Texas all combined.
M&R: What do you consider your specialty?
Tim: My specialty in the terms of BBQ is pork in North Carolina it is all about the pork and vinegar base sauces. I’m always tweaking recipes to deliver the best product while honing my skills we also specialize in brisket and other smoked meats. Every great joint must be able to deliver tender moist brisket. I’m a true believer to providing the finest service and food products to our customers through uncompromising efforts and standards.
M&R: Do you have any tips you would like to share on winning a BBQ competition?
Tim: Along with catering we also compete in the BBQ competition circuit where we have received many awards. A true moment was my first competition at The Old Florida Outdoor Festival. Here is where we received 1st place in the chicken category and third place ribs.
When cooking BBQ competitions starts with weeks of planning sure you can get ready the night before but believe me you will wish you took the time to prepare. During preparation I tweak my recipes if needed and create a time line for execution. I have a schedule which I keep close to me but keep in mind weather plays a big part so adding a little grace time is always beneficial. It is true you have too have a good cook you can use the same recipes but if your meat didn’t temp out right you can end up with tough leather for the judges to taste.
If allowed prep your meat the night before must competitions allow this only you can’t do in marinating until your meat as been reviewed. This will save a lot of time and will lower stress for the day this is a good thing. After all you here to have fun and maybe take a trophy and a purse home.
My competition tips are to be prepared for anything have game plan , time always lead yourself grace time for problems that may arise, temp keep your pit running at a consistent temp and try to have fun.
M&R: Tell us about the custom smoker you use for BBQ competitions.
Tim: When cooking on the BBQ trail and catering I use a custom M&R BBQ smoker 120 with a warmer box. This smoker has the ability to produce a lot of food and the warmer box converts easily into a smoker in seconds. There is a saying in BBQ, “Too much smoke will make your meat bitter.” I never had this problem on my smoker.
The must important info I can give you is to know the ends and outs of your smoker. I use a MR-Trailer 120 that has given me great results in competition and catering. It is important to run a consistent temp throughout your cook and the MR-Trailer 120 delivers. I can hold around 250 in the lower rack of my smoker and cook around 275 in the top rack. My smoker came with a optical warmer which converts easily into a smoker which cruises around 225 degrees. Their is a saying in BBQ to much smoke makes your meat bitter I have never had a issue with this I keep a true hot burning fire at all times.
One thing I look in a smoker is one that produce consistent temps and also one that can cook different meats at different temps at the same time The M&R BBQ delivers my top rack with cook around 25 degrees higher then the lower rack the warmer will cook steady at 225 degrees.
M&R: What are the future plans for Grillin’ Gaines?
Tim: The future for Grillin’ Gaines is expanding our catering my enhancing our guest experience with warm friendly, service with a smile.
Thanks again to Tim Gaines for taking the time to share his knowledge. To view the latest BBQ smokers and grills from M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks, click here.