Published: January 15, 2015
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Editors Note: With over 7k votes casted for the 2014 BBQ Person of the Year we are happy to announce the 2014 BBQ Person of the Year. We would like to thank Kingsford Charcoal, Johnsonville Sausages and everyone for their continued support of this great annual award.
Bill Cannon, the 2014 BBQ Person of the Year
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Bill started cooking BBQ when he was 5 or 6 years old by helping his Dad put logs on their backyard brick smoker and helping his Mom make homemade BBQ sauce using the drippings of meat. The Cannon family would cook on the large smoker 4 or 5 times a year for big block parties that their neighborhood had during the year and it was at that point that he learned to love BBQ and loved to cook for groups of people.
As Bill got a little older he would get up on weekends and cook breakfast for the family. Bill loved to cook egg omelets using what leftover meats and vegetables they had in our fridge. Bill would experiment with spices and various meats to prepare the meal. Since his Mom was from West Texas and his Dad was from Mississippi and grew up in Louisiana Bill had a great amount of differences in the food that he grew up eating and cooking.
When Bill got married (and have been for the last 38 years to the same great woman) and the first present his Dad gave them for Christmas was a small steel smoker that was burned wood as the heat source. Bill and his wife already had a couple of grills at their house and grilled 4 or 5 times a week but they did not own or have a smoker until then. The gift of the smoker gave Bill the opportunity to learn how to smoke meats so he began to smoke brisket, ribs, chicken, and sausage and played with different woods and spices and just saw the differences in what he could produce. The passion for BBQ caught on and then he ended up smoking a couple of briskets each year for their 4th of July block party and wanted to improve the results of the brisket year after year.
Watching his family and friends enjoy the finished meats made Bill love to BBQ because to cook for people and just watch the expressions of their eyes and mouths as they eat the BBQ, made Bill happy. He always said when you serve to a big group and that group gets really quiet you have had a successful cook. They don’t have to say anything to you, you can look at them and watch them and just tell how much they are enjoying what you have prepared.
Bill was lucky enough to have a great friend that really influenced and taught me a ton about cooking BBQ. His name is Leon and because of cooking with Leon, Bill learned so much about cooking for large groups of people. Leon taught Bill how to cook consistent great BBQ both brisket and ribs and how to estimate the amount of food needed for that kind of a crowd of people and t hey ended up cooking together for 8 years at the Rodeo Cook off then he went and chased a life long ambition of his to open a BBQ restaurant. We bought a big BBQ pit and everything was on us.
As Bill’s son got into Boy Scouts and he became a Scout Leader they were always looking for ways to raise money for the troop so the kids could enjoy some special camping experiences. Bill had two large BBQ pits capable of cooking in excess of 60 briskets at a time so he suggested that they could have a brisket sale for Super Bowl Sunday and raise money for the troop. Of course they only had the kids and their parents but he taught them about cooking and raise some good money for the troop.
Bill started to cook some competitions to learn even more about the methods and how to’s as it related to the competition side of cooking BBQ. Bill had many success and met many great cooks along the way.
Bill’s greatest accomplishment away from the cooking on the pit and competition is the ability that he has to help people and hear the excitement in their voices and the thanks for helping them cook a great brisket or get better cooking ribs or chicken.
BBQ has changed Bill not only has he learned more but he has so many people around the world that call Bill and has made tons of friends from around the world since he started to barbecue 50 years ago. Bill has come a long way from just BBQ’ing in backyard for his local community and friends and over the years has made a tremendous impact on the barbecue community not just in his neighborhood but from around the country.
I agree with Bill when he said “there is no trophy for making friends and family happy through your cooking and of course BBQ, It is just a great feeling in your heart and soul!.”
Congratulations, Bill for being voted by your peers as the 2014 BBQ Person of the Year. Your endless passion for BBQ and to better “spread the BBQ gospel” will be something that you can be very proud of.
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