About Me

Jeff camping pic

Hi! My name is Jeff Brown, and I'm a backyard grilling lover and a designer of many things, located in Duluth, Minnesota. I'm excited to share some of my passions through The Grill Outdoors!

Am I a trained chef? No. Do I compete in BBQ competitions? No. (At least, not so far.) I'm just a guy who loves to make awesome and delicious food to share with my friends and family, and I do a lot of it over an open flame.

Why backyard grilling?

I have always enjoyed camping, the outdoors, and the challenge of constructing a good fire pit or using minimal tools and ingredients to cook something really great. 

When my wife and I got married, our rehearsal dinner was an outdoor hog roast. Since then, we've helped to host about four more pig roasts, and in 2016 we started an annual backyard event that we call Browns' Big Bacon (and Chocolate) Bonanza! I guess you could say that we're known for sharing good food and good fun. 

pig roast crew 1999The original pig roast crew, 1999 (that's me in the middle).

Believe me, I've made my share of mistakes. I've also experimented enough to know what I like and how to make it work. So when friends started asking my advice on their own backyard grilling efforts, I realized that it is fun to share some of the knowledge and ideas that I've learned along the way.

Going to extremes

I also like to push myself to try new and surprising things. Become an Army paratrooper? Okay, did that. Compete in a marathon? Okay, did that. Jump into a freezing lake 24 times in 24 hours to raise money for Special Olympics? Okay, did that (several times). Build a solid reputation and a thriving business in the industry of my choice? Okay, did that!

So why not also document my attempts to grill outdoors in the frigid Minnesota winters? Why not try to build the Seven Wonders of the World out of meat? Sounds fantastic! Let's do it together!

Giving my grills a home

If I'm going to cook outdoors, I want an awesome place to do it (and I'll bet you do, too). That's where I bring in my other skills and experiences, as a designer. I have a degree in technical theater and have designed or built more than 300 theater productions over 25 years, in addition to designing and fabricating multiple museum exhibits and immersive children's play spaces.

My experience with that design & fabrication process -- brainstorming, planning and constructing complete environments -- made it a natural transition for me to build my own ideal fire pit and "grillscape," or "grill shack." The one that fits my style, my backyard, my budget, and my need for flexibility. I love helping others to design the spaces that work for them, too, so while you're here on the site, check out my design resources to see if there's something that suits your backyard.

I want to make grilling and outdoor cooking fun and easy for everyone. I truly believe that it's something that can be accessible to anyone; that there's no single right way or wrong way to do it. I also believe that sharing a meal can bring people together in a unique way.

So thanks for becoming part of my grilling family by visiting The Grill Outdoors. Don't forget to let me know if you are looking for tips that you can't find here, or if you have some favorite grilling stories of your own that you want to share!

Happy Grilling!