Lessons From the Pit

Lessons From the Pit

What does BBQ have to do with Jesus?

Howdy!  If you know me, you know that I love BBQ.  I am a FIRM believer that Texas easily has the best Q in the world.  The pinnacle of BBQ (brisket, ribs, and sausage) is called the “Texas Trinity” for a reason!  My love for this Texas delicacy started early on in life.  My dad often smoked meat for events and for our family meals.  It wasn’t until college though that I started to really get into the ins and outs of the craft.  In Belton, where I attended UMHB, Miller’s Smokehouse is the king of the smoked meat scene.  They have consistently been included in Texas Monthly’s top 50 list since they opened!  Nowadays I smoke my own briskets and each one gets better as I hone my own craft.  Interestingly enough, I have learned some great lessons from the pit!

Lesson Number 1: Leave the smoker closed!

When you are smoking a brisket it is important to open your smoker as little as possible during the cook!  Each time you open your smoker, all of the heat and smoke that has built up inside the smoker escapes.  This can slow down your cook by hours if you do it too much, and potentially hurt your final results!

Lesson Number 2: Stick to the basics!

Everyone under the sun has a different rub, binder, or special ingredient that they claim makes their BBQ better than the rest.  I have found that sticking to the basics wins every time.  When I cook, I use mesquite wood, consistent heat, and a salt & pepper rub.  The brisket comes out great each time.   There is no need for fancy stuff, the basics have been around forever for a reason!

Lesson Number 3: Different preferences are ok!

I am a firm believer that good BBQ doesn’t need sauce.  That is a preference though, and it is more important to me that those eating my food enjoy it however they like it!  Not everyone likes the moist cut, they might prefer the lean side.  Regardless, I want to cater to the masses when I cook and give them a meal that they are going to enjoy.

So, tell me again, what does BBQ have to do with Jesus?

I think that these lessons from the pit can offer us some really cool perspectives on our faith too:

Leave the smoker closed, we need consistency in our faith!  We need to spend ample time in community with other believers, in the scriptures, and in communion with Jesus for our faith to thrive.

Stick to the basics, consistent time in scripture and prayer are two major keys to a healthy spiritual life.  No amount of worship music or conferences will beat consistent time spent with Jesus and reading the Bible.

Different preferences are ok, Jesus died for everyone, not just us.  We need to make sure we share the Good News in ways that others can understand.  We have the greatest story ever told, it is on us to translate it in ways that can help people authentically encounter Jesus.

Sure, maybe this is a little silly, but that doesn’t make me wrong.  There are lessons from the pit! I hope that relating BBQ to Jesus helped put some things into perspective for you.  I know thinking through this helped me consider how I can apply these lessons in my ministry and day-to-day life.  God can teach us things through just about anything we do, so I encourage you to be on the lookout.

In Him,


P.S. If you are ever in Arlington and want to grab some smoked meat for lunch, I will buy, I prefer Hurtado.

Tanner Watson

Tanner Watson

Tanner is the guy's minister at First Baptist Church of Arlington. He hails from Argyle, Texas. Tanner is a proud graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, as well as Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Tanner can whip up a mean cup coffee and cook a great brisket.

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