Discover Jeff Stamm, a self-made barbecue rib maestro. He has in the last year started his own catering and rib smoking business. After years of fun tailgate cooking that started in Tuscaloosa in 1986, Jeff has mastered the art of barbecued pork ribs.
“Friends used to ask me why I didn’t cook professionally, and I’d say that I was happy making a living as a box salesman and cooking just for fun. Then it got to be where I was cooking every weekend and people would tell me that my ribs were the best they had ever had, and these weren’t just people who were trying to be nice. They meant it!”
Jeff’s first catering job was for the National Sales meeting of the Memphis-based Fulmer Co. It was organized by its local executive, Tom Lay, who contacted Jeff for the event.
“I had Jeff’s ribs before and thought they were the best I’d ever eaten. When he told me he was starting his catering business, there was no question. Everybody loved it. I’ll tell you, I’ll eat over at his house anytime.”
It was just a year ago that Jeff invested in a full-size portable rig. It has two vertical smokers and a large pit chamber with remote fire box option. It is a beautiful thing to behold just as a piece of metalwork, but the real beauty is in the eating.
“What people tell me is that my ribs are the best they’ve ever had. One friend, whose husband owns a famous BBQ place in Blytheville, Ark., told me that my ribs were different – that they were dry, but still wet. What I told her is that mine are dry, meaning that we serve no sauce on them – just a rub during the smoking, but I cook all the fat off and still leave the meat moist,” Jeff says.
In the summer of 2010, “Big Stamm’s Ribs” embarked upon an onsite venture beside the Red Rooster on Beale. They set up the smoker in the vacant lot to the south of the bar, and served two-rib snacks to those who passed by. The response was so good and a nice complement to things on that end of Beale. Smoke and the smell of the meat on the grill encouraged even more people to that otherwise-less-traveled part of the Memphis nightlife scene.
“It was good for all concerned – a real positive,” reflects Rob Duggan, frequenter of the Rooster. “Jeff, can cook a Stamm good rib! They are the best I've ever had.”
Other orders for catering came, and as summer faded, the onsite business had to go into retreat. Now Jeff is considering a Food Truck format – the trendy mobilization of gourmet and vendor foods that is taking off across the country. Surely, the idea is a good way to keep things active in terms of a street presence through the cooler months and help more folks discover his product.
Discovery is as much a part of the fun and pleasure of barbecue as the rub, and when the two meet – look out, Mama, you got some good gnawin’ goin’ down!
Discover Big Stamm’s Ribs. We did, and our Q taste buds are registering 11!
Big Stamm’s Ribs
655 Riverside Dr.