Jim Wright

Senior Writer, Barbecue and Grilling Expert

Expertise

Barbecue, Grilling, Campfire cooking, Open fire cooking, Steak

Education

Ryerson University

Jim Wright

Highlights

  • Senior marketing copywriter at Nourish Food Marketing since 2017.
  • Senior writer and editor at FoodFireFriends since 2017.
  • Has written extensively on topics ranging from barbecue techniques and the best woods for smoking to BBQ product reviews and buying guides.
  • Experienced copywriter specialising in the food industry since 2014, and teacher of copywriting since 2019.
  • Featured on many food publications, and developed content for many food marketing campaigns.
  • Over 20 years of experience BBQ, grilling and campfire cooking.
  • Skilled at product testing and reporting findings.

Experience

I’m not going to lie — put me in a kitchen with a stove and ask me to make dinner, and I become paralyzed with anxiety.

That’s why barbecuing has been my sole contribution of value to my family’s nutrition for nearly 20 years. (My kids will back me up on this, even though Cereal Tuesdays used to be a big hit.) I’ve grilled for them over charcoal, wood, propane, and natural gas.

My love of barbecued food goes back to camping as a kid when even the can of beans got cooked over an open fire. Backyard barbecues were a highlight growing up, saving for that time my big brother “accidentally” branded me with an electric charcoal starter. Maybe that’s why I seem to favor gas now?

When I’m not writing about barbecue, I’m probably still writing about food; I’m a copywriter at a marketing agency specializing in food clients. I’ve worked on projects for restaurants, manufacturers, farmers — every part of the food ecosystem, writing everything from social posts to package copy. I’ve also written about US and Canadian law, aquarium fish, and many other topics, some interesting, some not so much.

I’m closer to 50 than I care to admit, though I love to think I don’t look it. Aside from my family and the perfect steak, my passions include travel, all things Disney, Scotch, and model trains. Don’t judge.

More From Jim Wright

Overhead shot of pulled pork being shredded with forks.
Pulled Pork

How Much Pulled Pork Per Person — A Simple to Use Calculator and Serving Sizes Guide

I’m not saying that cooking meat outdoors is stressful. But there’s more than enough occupying your mind between prepping the meat, getting your cooker to temperature, and monitoring the whole show. You don’t also want to worry if you cooked enough meat! Keep reading as I share with you the secrets to having enough pulled pork for everyone.

To photos, one of filet mignon, another of a ribeye, side by side.
Ingredients

Filet Mignon vs Ribeye — Which is Better, and Why?

Both Filet Mignon and Ribeye are premium cuts of steak, held in high regard by both chefs and connoisseurs the world over. But what's the difference between them, and when would you choose one over the other? Find out below.

Many different types of sugar, in bowls, in a sack, spilled onto a table and more.
Ingredients

15 Types of Sugar, Their Origins, Forms, and How to Use Them

There are an incredible number of different sugars in existence, used in everything from BBQ rubs to cups of tea, in pickling liquids to cakes. In this guide, we look at the 15 most common types, advising which ones you should have on hand to cover everything you’re likely to do in cooking.

Different types of salt in bowls, in scoops, and spread out on a wooden table.
Ingredients

14 Types of Salt, When and How to Use Each, and Substitutions

Salt complements and amplifies the flavor of almost anything it touches. It's a magic ingredient, and the most used in BBQ or any form of cooking. In this article, we look at the most common types, their flavor notes, when and how to use each, and a few substitutions you can make if needed.

Three racks of ribs in a rack, being smoked in a charcoal smoker.
Ribs

Best Woods for Smoking Ribs, What I Use, and What Others Use

There are about two dozen main varieties of hardwoods people use to smoke ribs. We’ve gone ahead and short-listed eight you absolutely need to try, broken them down into two categories of heavy and lighter smoke, then show what many experts choose to use.

Whole smoked turkey with potatoes and grapes on a serving plate.
BBQ Guides

Best Wood for Smoking Turkey — Choose Mild, Strong or Colorful

Part of the challenge of smoking a great turkey is choosing the best wood to use. You don’t want the perfect moistness and texture ruined by an acrid and bitter smoke taste! So here’s how to enjoy a smoked turkey triumph by picking the best wood for the job.

Two large pork butts smoking on a kamado grill.
Pulled Pork

Best Wood for Smoking Pulled Pork, What I and What Others Use

Avoiding all the obvious cracks about a smoking butt (except that one), we’re here to help you choose the best wood for smoking pulled pork. We’ve whittled it down to four top contenders, a few others worth considering, before ending with a discussion of what the experts use.

A blu rare, grilled wagyu ribeye steak cut in half.
Grilling Guides

What is Blue Steak? Is it Safe to Eat?

Some enthusiasts find a fringe niche to enjoy with anything popular like comic book fans and cosplay or that guy on TV who travels the world catching monster fish. For steak eaters, it’s ordering or cooking “blue” steak. No, it’s not Smurf meat — but it may be the next logical step for anyone who loves their steak “bloody as hell.”

Man lifting lid on a camp chef pellet smoker, inspecting his BBQ brisket.
Smokers

Best Pellet Grills and Smokers of 2024, at All Price Points

With so many on the market, choosing the right pellet smoker is no easy task. From budget to available space, and essential features to the ‘nice to haves’, there’s much to consider. So in this helpful guide, we review the best models, so you can get exactly what you need.

A man unpacking a mail order steaks delivery, showing two ribeyes, some bacon, and a box with straw like packaging.
Equipment

Best Mail Order Steaks and Online Delivery Services in 2024

With the closing of shops for the pandemic, we had to find alternative ways to load up on the necessities of life. Speaking of which, did you know you can order steaks online? To help you get the best value and the best steaks, let’s take an exhaustive look at the best available mail-order steak services for every niche.

4 photos of cooked steak, beef and a ham from the snake river farms website.
Equipment

Snake River Farms Review — Updated for 2024, are They Still King?

Thinking about ordering meat online for delivery but not sure who to choose? We’ve got this. This article is one in a series of reviews of major online meat sellers. Today, the spotlight is on Snake River Farms, perhaps THE source for the highest quality USA beef.

A Z Grills 11002b pellet grill isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Smokers

Z Grills Multitasker 11002B Pellet Grill With Wi-Fi Review

If I had a dollar (or peso or pound or florin) for every “game-changer” on the market, I wouldn’t be at my keyboard on a Saturday! Here’s a review of another so-called game-changing piece of kit — Z Grills’s first pellet grill with Wi-Fi. Hmmm… you know what? This one may live up to the hype!

A Weber Spirit EPX-325S GBS isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Grills

Weber Spirit EPX-325S GBS Review From a Real Owner

Is there such a thing as too many accessories? That’s just one of the questions we’ll answer in our in-depth review of the Weber Spirit EPX-325S GBS, a remarkable new grill that seeks to redefine “fully featured” in the gas barbecue segment.

A Weber iGrill 3 with two probes, isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Thermometers

Weber iGrill 3 Review – Could This be the Right Thermometer for You?

Repping (as the kids say) your favorite brands can sometimes go too far. Like wearing designer underwear. This extends to barbecue, too; who out there owns a hat emblazoned with a grill logo? I’m not immune to it, either — witness my purchase of the Weber iGrill 3. Useless as designer boxers or a must-have accessory? All will be revealed. Except my undies.

A Maverick PT-75 isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Thermometers

Maverick PT-75 Temp & Time Instant Read Thermometer Review

Review time! We’re going hands-on with the Maverick PT-75 to see how well it performs and what it does that makes it worth considering as your next digital instant-read thermometer. Maverick is an industry-standard company in capable and affordable grill and smoker thermometers, have they continued in the same vein with this product?

Some cuts steaks, and some whole joints, wrapped in clear plastic in a glass refrigerator.
General Knowledge

How Long Can Raw Steak Stay in the Fridge?

I think we can all agree that we love steak? And that it’s hard to resist cooking and eating a steak the moment you get it home? Sometimes, though, we have the foresight to purchase our meat before we need it. The question is: how far in advance is it safe to do so?

raw, boneless, pork cushion meat, on a cutting board with a red and yellow pepper in the background.
Ingredients

Pork Cushion Meat Guide — What it is, Where it’s From, How to Smoke it

When you think you’ve finally cooked it all, along comes a “new” cut to surprise you! It’s a bargain cut with flavor to spare that’s always overshadowed by its more famous neighbor on the pork shoulder. No more! It’s time to introduce you to pork cushion meat, and show why we love it.

An overhead shot of reheated steak on a white plate, with some roasted veg, next to a glass of wine.
General How Tos

How to Reheat Steak Without Overcooking and Drying it Out

The idea of not finishing a steak may seem foreign to many, but sometimes it just happens. Maybe you have a no-show? Perhaps you filled up on a pre-dinner dessert? Whatever the reason, there’s NO reason you can’t reheat and enjoy a leftover steak for a delicious meal another day. Here’s how to do it.

Steaks cooked from rare to well done, on forks on a dark background.
Grilling Guides

Steak Doneness Guide — With Chart and Cooking Times

Do you know your steak doneness levels? When your steak is rare, medium-rare, medium, medium well, or well done? Do you know the temperatures of each level? How firm should the steaks feel, and how pink should the center be? You will once you finish this guide.

An illustration of the eight beef primals on a diagram of a cow.
Ingredients

The 8 Primal Cuts of Beef — Everything You Need to Know

Today we look at the American derived eight primal cuts of beef. We look at their position on the cow, names, sub-primals, and then major cuts they are butchered into. We also look at the best methods of cooking and uses of the produce from each primal.

Before and after pictures of a grill brush that
General How Tos

How to Clean a Grill Brush — Plus Maintenance Tips to Last Longer

Today’s money-saving article will teach you how to clean your grill brush — Whether bristled or bristle-free — to prevent tainting the taste of your food. Plus, learn how to keep it in tip-top shape with maintenance tips, so it lasts longer, and how to know when the time is right to replace it.

A silver smoker box on the grates of a portable gas grill.
BBQ Guides

How to Use a Smoker Box — Add Smoky Flavor on a Standard Grill

Did you choose a gas grill for convenience? No room for more than one piece of equipment in your outdoor space? Smoking food may seem like an unachievable dream to you. Not anymore! Discover how to use a smoker box to take your backyard grilling game to the next level.

A woman in yellow gloves holding a gone bad steak, making a thumbs down gesture.
Ingredients

How to Tell if Steak is Bad, Gone off, or Spoiled

Part of our mission at FoodFireFriends is to save you from barbecue misadventure. Sure, failing is the best way to learn. But, wouldn’t you rather learn from someone else’s failure? With that in mind, let’s see if we can save you from buying or eating a steak that’s gone off.

A block of beef tallow on some pink butcher paper.
Ingredients

What is Beef Tallow? Best Uses and How to Make It

When you dig deep into barbecuing, you come across new and exciting stuff to try. And today our topic is beef tallow — what is it, how do I make it and use it, and why do I want to? All will be revealed.

A steak resting under foil on a cutting board.
Grilling Guides

How Long to Rest Steak, and Why it’s Important

As you explore the world of barbecue and try to enhance your skills, you’ll uncover no end of “secrets” to better grilling. Even something that seems basic –cooking a steak– has insider tricks and tips for the best results. Read on to learn how resting a steak is key to serving it at its peak.

A paper roll full of beef jerky on a dark background.
Ingredients

The Best Cuts of Beef for Jerky — And Which to Avoid!

Beef jerky is a snack that satisfies like no other. But, if you’ve only had gas station jerky, you’re missing out on one of the most incredible things you can make in your smoker. To help you make delicious homemade beef jerky, let’s learn which cuts are best for the job.

A woman
General How Tos

Wood Pellet Storage Guide — Dos, Don’ts, and Expert Tips

If you’re new to smoking, you probably have lots of questions. And if you use a pellet grill, an important one is: what’s the best way to store wood pellets? It turns out this mystery is an open and shut case. Get the longest life and best performance out of your pellets with our guide.

lava rocks in gas grill, under a chrome or SS grate.
General Knowledge

Why Don’t Gas Grills Use Lava Rocks Anymore?

It sounds like a “when I was your age” story, but it’s not; once upon a time, we loaded up our gas grills with lava rocks. Sounds straight out of a Flintstones episode? Well, it’s true. And here’s why we did it, and why we stopped.

Small meats and vegetables being grilled on a grill mat.
Accessories

Are Grill Mats Safe? Fear of Toxic Fumes and Chemicals

We've noticed many people questioning the safety of grill mat use, stating that they give off toxic fumes. So we decided to dig into the details in a search for the truth and give ourselves the confidence to keep on using them. Which we have and will do!

An array of meat, vegetables, corn and kebabs on a grill.
Grilling Guides

21 Grilling Mistakes You Can EASILY Fix Today to Improve Your Cookouts

If you plan to have garden parties and be at the helm of the grill this summer, then there’s a lot riding on your grilling skills! Grilling seems simple, but a lot can quickly go wrong. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a list of common mistakes and professional advice on how to avoid them.

Ribs on a charcoal grill, with a thermometer probe attached.
General Knowledge

How Much Charcoal Should You Use in Your Grill or Smoker?

Got your bag of charcoal ripped open, and you’re ready to grill? Now you’re asking yourself, “How much of this stuff do I need?” As always, we’ve got this — keep scrolling to learn the right amount of charcoal to use for every type of grilling and smoking session.

Four kinds of peppercorns on spoons, on a white surface.
Ingredients

Different Types of Peppercorn, Pepper, Their Flavors and Substitutions

Learn all about the different types and varieties of peppercorns. From the common black, through white and green, to the more esoteric pink and red, and even some peppers that aren’t from peppercorns at all. With origins, flavor profile, and uses, there’s a lot discussed here.

Pork belly slices with very good-looking, crispy crackled skin.
General How Tos

How to Get Crispy Pork Skin and Make Crackling — Right Every Time!

Get crispy pork skin — or even better, full on crackling — by following the simple tips in this guide, that work every time. We also cover a few things to avoid, because you can sabotage your crackling even when you think you've done everything right...when you haven't!

Photos of smoked or grilled tri-tip and brisket side by side.
Ingredients

Tri-Tip Vs Brisket — What’s the Difference? Which is Best?

Tri-tip and brisket are large, very popular cuts of beef for BBQ and smoking, that produce delicious dishes and will impress any guests lucky enough for you to cook for. Learn about each, their differences, and how to choose the right one.

frozen burgers on cutting board with a rosemary sprig in the background.
Grilling Guides

How to Grill Frozen Burgers — Less Fuss, Safe, So Why Not?

You can safely grill burgers from frozen, you just need to tweak your method slightly to account for the fact they are frozen. But it saves some fuss and effort having to defrost them, so is a good technique to have up your sleeve. Here's how.

A bowl full of chicken wings with crispy skin.
Grilling Guides

How to Get Crispy Chicken Skin on the Grill

Who doesn’t love crispy chicken skin? But how many times has it come out moist and rubbery? Learn how to get crispy chicken skin, by combining and ‘stacking’ some of the methods below that will all but guarantee crispness every time.

photos of a sirloin steak and a ribeye steak side by side.
Ingredients

Sirloin Vs Ribeye: Important Differences and Which is Better

Sirloin and ribeye, two of the most popular, most loved steaks in the world. But which is best? Or why would you choose one over the other? This detailed comparison looks at where they come from, flavor and texture, uses, and great recipes for each.