A BBQ pilgrimage for LTH Forum’s Gary Wiviott

June 30, 2011

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(Flickr/ALA)
Gary Wiviott demonstrates his BBQ abilities at a 2009 conference.

Gary Wiviott has some serious foodie credentials as the founder of the wildly popular culinary chat site LTH Forum. On LTH, named for Chinatown’s Little Three Happiness, commenters parse the latest offerings from beloved neighborhood joints like Hoosier Mama Pie Company and debate the merits of northern vs. southern Thai food.

Despite the site’s popularity it was not a financial success, and Wiviott has been plagued by money troubles in recent years. He was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in November of 2010 and put the site up for auction. The Tribune reported Wednesday that the forum has been sold for $40,000 to a group of long-time contributors who say they plan to keep its basics intact.

Given his background, it makes sense that Wiviott would be a food obsessive, who once, for example, spent the better part of a year making miso soup from scratch every day for breakfast. He later transferred his passions to barbeque, penning the somewhat audaciously titled Low & Slow: Everything You Know About BBQ is Wrong.

His book outlines the self-described “BBQ Mussolini’s” strict 5-step program that aims to help serious ‘Q-ers unlock the secrets of the smoker. Wiviott insists you throw away your lighter fluid, and eventually your store-bought rubs and sauces, in favor of carefully built, clean-burning fires and homemade brine.

In a 2009 talk given to the Culinary Historians of Chicago, Wiviott described a Texas trip that radically changed his grilling perspective. As you fire up your grills this holiday weekend, you may want to consider his epiphany, or check out the tips from his lessons. The former is in the excerpt above, and the latter is in the full audio, posted here.

Dynamic Range showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Gary Wiviott spoke at an event presented by Culinary Historians of Chicago in July of 2009. Click here to hear the event in its entirety.