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Meet Missouri barbecue pitmaster Tim Scheer at the 2019 Wildwood BBQ Bash

Tim Scheer, his wife Terri and daughters Tatum, Taylor and Tenley make up Shake ‘n Bake BBQ. [Facebook photo]

Hailing from New Haven, Missouri, award-winning barbecue pitmaster Tim Scheer makes his debut appearance at the 2019 Wildwood BBQ Bash.

Scheer and his family compete in competitions nationwide as Shake ‘n Bake BBQ. The team includes his wife, Terri, and the couple’s three daughters, Tatum [11], Taylor [10] and Tenley [6]. 

“It’s our first time at the Bash,” Sheer said. “I’ve walked through a couple times on Sunday, but we’re looking forward to competing and sharing our cooking experience with others.”

In addition to being a seasoned pitmaster, Scheer is also the inventor of the Gateway Drum Smoker and owner of the Blues Hog line of charcoal, sauces and spice rubs.

“We have this huge name in the barbecue scene and he lives right here in [Missouri],” Frank Schmer, owner of St. Louis Home Fires and organizer of the BBQ Bash, said. “He’s been around a while and travels all over the world competing. In previous years, it just never worked out for him to attend … so when he reached out to me this year and said he was able to make it and that he was also going to compete, that was awesome.”

Scheer and his family have traveled the entire globe doing cooking classes and competing in various competitions. In 2019 alone, Shake ‘n Bake BBQ has already visited Florida, Boston, California and Colorado. In November 2018, Scheer taught a competition cooking class in the Netherlands and will return to teach again in 2019. He also will teach an upcoming class in Italy.

“We also went to Australia this spring and taught a competition class and competed in Meatstock over there,” Scheer said. “It’s a big barbecue festival that they have in Melbourne, and that was awesome. Barbecue is becoming bigger and bigger over there.”

Scheer’s fascination with cooking started at his childhood home, which doubled as a family-run hog farm.

“I was around pork my entire life and  was always the one that would fire up the grill at home,” Scheer said. 

As a hobby, he decided to take his barbecue recipes and cooking techniques on the road with his family as a team.

“My wife, the kids and I just started doing it for fun and to get away,” Scheer said. “We’d pack up the camper and go to some small town in Missouri, go to a contest and come back home.”

After doing that for about three years, Scheer said he, “started to feel competitive and wanted to win.” 

The family jumped in and started doing 20 to 40 competitions annually.

Then, in 2012, Scheer created his Gateway Drum Smoker out of frustration with a certain dish.

“I couldn’t cook ribs to save my life,” Scheer said. “Then, [with the smoker] we ended up winning first place in the ribs category out of 600 teams at the American Royal. Cooked them in two hours and 15 minutes.”

He trademarked the resulting “hot and fast barbecue” method as a quicker way of producing barbecue without hours of cooking time.

“Instead of ‘low and slow’ like you’ve heard of forever, we’ve kind of flipped it, so we cook it all hot and fast in four hours or less instead of 14 hours,” Scheer said. 

He also created the National BBQ League, which is comprised of top pitmasters from around the globe. The group produces video content, tips and recipes to help interested barbecue aficionados get started on everything from backyard to competitive cooking.

“It can be quick, easy and a lot of fun, too,” Scheer said. “Some people don’t like to share their secrets, but we don’t mind. We want people to get excited about barbecue and want to try it.”

That mentality will carry over to his upcoming Bash appearance, where he will provide lessons on how to pick the right charcoal, equipment and other products. 

“It all starts with the meat,” Scheer said. “If you start with a better product, you’re going to end with a better product.”

As far as tips, Scheer has more than a few up his sleeve. One of the biggest misconceptions he said he sees is the belief that you need a lot of smoke.

“People just pound those wood logs into the fire, and it can end up overwhelming,” Scheer said. “You want to use smoke as an ingredient, just like you would salt or pepper. There are also a lot of misconceptions that barbecue has to be really difficult or time consuming, and I think we’ve proved that our technique, cooking hot and fast with the drums, is really simple …  Just jump in and give it a try. Nothing replaces personal experience.”

While cooking is a big part of the competitive experience, something Scheer said he enjoys even more is spending time in the barbecue community and seeing a new generation of pitmasters rise from the flames.

“The barbecue community is all open arms. It’s so welcoming,” Scheer said. “My daughters have friends all over the world now, and they’ve also been doing Kids Q competitions since they were 4 years old.”

In fact, daughters Tatum and Taylor have already won division titles at the American Royal as well as Kids Q competitions at the Frisco Colorado BBQ Challenge and beyond.

“I’m pretty sure, one of these days, I’ll be kicked out of the kitchen,” Scheer said,  laughing. “But I’m OK with that.”

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