Mark Jenner

Founder, Barbecue and Grilling Expert

Expertise

Barbecue, Grilling, Smoking (cooking), Product Reviews, Food Safety

Mark Jenner

Highlights

  • Barbecuing and grilling since 2005.
  • Founded and written for FoodFireFriends since 2017.
  • Hands-on experience with almost every type of smoker and grill imaginable.
  • Currently owns and uses over 30 different smokers and grills for hands-on experience while creating content for this site.
  • Skilled BBQ product tester with years of experience across all types of smokers, grills, tools, and accessories.
  • Has developed and written up countless BBQ and grilling recipes.
  • Quoted in and mentioned in numerous publications across the web for his BBQ advice.

Experience

I am a barbecue addict who first got into it in 2005 when someone offered me a second-hand Weber Kettle charcoal grill at a knock-down price.

I’d recently moved into a rented, shared house with three good friends, one of them being my American friend, Michael. He knew his way around a grill, showed me how to smoke chicken and ribs, and soon convinced me to go halves with him for the price of a Weber Smokey Mountain.

I soon became obsessed and decided to learn everything I could about BBQ, grilling and smoking. I remember the first two books I bought: ‘The BBQ Bible,’ by Steven Raichlen,’ and ‘Peace, Love & Barbecue,’ by Mike Mills.’ Excellent books, and Michael and I worked our way through most of their recipes, and for me, a new love was born.

I’ve loved all forms of food and cooking since I was a young teenager anyway, and this was just the next step in my culinary journey. But BBQ is the one I enjoy and am now most passionate about.

Since those early days, I have bought and sold scores of different grills and smokers, eaten at dozens of smokehouses, and attended countless barbecue festivals and cookouts.

I was initially an electronic engineer by trade and then a technical specialist in the CCTV and security systems world. And I’ve always enjoyed writing, teaching, IT, programming, and the world of computers. So back in 2017, I decided I would start a website, and one in BBQ and grilling was a natural choice. And so FoodFireFriends was born.

Over the years, I’ve worked on the site slowly. But from humble beginnings, it has become a large and popular resource for many. And I’m now beginning to add team members to help me grow the site faster, to add more expertise and voices to this incredible resource.

These days I regularly contribute to this site as an author, the lead content strategist, and chief editor. I barbecue between 3 and 10 times weekly, satisfying my passion for creating great food from raw ingredients over live fire.

The main equipment I currently own and use is:

  • Three Kamado Joes (Junior, Classic I, and Big Joe III.)
  • A Weber Smokey Mountain.
  • A Masterbuilt Gravity Fed charcoal smoker.
  • A Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill.
  • Two Z Grills pellet grills.
  • A Pit Barrel cooker.
  • Two Weber kettle grills (original and Mastertouch.)
  • A Napoleon Pro charcoal kettle grill.
  • A Weber Genesis gas grill.
  • A Masterbuilt 30 electric smoker.
  • A Kadai open fire cooking pit.
  • An Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven.
  • A handful of travel grills, including Weber Go-Anywhere and Smokey Joe portable charcoal grills, and a Napoleon TravelQ Pro285 gas grill.
  • A vast range of remote thermometers, temperature controllers, instant-read thermometers, and other BBQ tools and accessories.

I sometimes buy, use, review and sell on grills and smokers while always keeping at least one of each type for me to cook on and experiment with to help me create content for this site. And besides, I have a bit of a collector’s attitude; The right number of barbecues to own is always what I have + 1. I can never have enough or too many!

I am 45 years old, married with two children, and my hobbies include playing in a darts team, amateur golf, general fitness, and a bit of travel.

More From Mark Jenner

A thick steak with a slice cut away and being held on a fork, in front of some veg on a plate.
Prep & Serving

The Best Thickness for Steak, and Dealing with Too Thin or Thick

It’s time to solve another mystery of grilling — what is the ideal thickness for a steak, and how do I grill it just right? What if I’m faced with only very thin or very thick steaks? Which would be best? How best to cook them? We’re on the case!

Grilled onglet steak, partially sliced, sitting on a cutting board.
Prep & Serving

How to Season a Steak for the Best Possible Flavor

Opinions are like belly buttons (and other things); everybody has one! When it comes to grilling, though, most folks have more than one. And that includes the touchy subject of when and how much to season and salt your steak. Don't worry what anyone else says; we have the straight answers for you right here.

Thin blue smoke coming out of the top vent of a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker, in front of a wooden fence.
BBQ Guides

How to Get Thin Blue Smoke, What it is, and Why You Want it

Not all smoke is created equal when it comes to smoking meat. And there’s plenty more to it than just setting the wood on fire, then hoping for the best. If you want to experience the best in home smoking, you’ll need to master this critical skill — making thin blue smoke.

A BBQ smoked brisket half wrapped in foil, steaming after being opened.
Brisket

When to Wrap Brisket, How and What With — If At All!

Should you wrap brisket when smoking? And if you’re going to wrap your brisket mid-cook, at which point should you do so? And what do you base this on? Time? Temperature? How it looks? Find out in our comprehensive guide to wrapping brisket.

A selection of instant read thermometers in a 3x2 photo grid.
Thermometers

Best Instant-Read Thermometers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Being able to check the internal temperature of your food is the only way to ensure correct doneness. For that, you need one of the best instant-read meat thermometers from this guide. We review the top models, discuss their pros and cons, and ultimately help you make the right pick.

A ChefsTemp Finaltouch X10 isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Thermometers

ChefsTemp FinalTouch X10 Instant-Read Meat Thermometer Review

Seriously? Another instant read thermometer? They keep making them, and I keep reviewing them. So join me for a hands-on review of this top-of-the-line unit. It isn’t cheap, but it just might be the last instant read thermometer you ever need to buy.

A pellet grill with the lid open, showing various meats being smoked.
General Knowledge

Traeger Grill Problems, Error Codes, and Troubleshooting

If a Traeger pellet grill has an issue, they have the feature of telling us exactly what’s wrong with error reporting displayed right on the controller. Learn to read these codes and what they mean, to help you troubleshoot your grills problems and fix any issues that arise.

A Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal grill isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Grills

Weber Go Anywhere Charcoal Review — Hands on Testing Results

The weber go anywhere is my favorite grill for taking fishing and camping. It gets a lot of use, so yes, I highly recommend it. Find out why in my hands-on review that discusses build quality, grilling ability, smoking ability, quality of food produced, and more.

Biolite Firepit+ Review written beside an image of the product isolated on black.
Grills

Biolite Firepit+ Review – A Smoke Less Fire Pit and Grill Combo

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But where there’s fire, there isn’t always smoke! Intrigued? So was I when I first heard about the BioLite FirePit+. Who knew that burning wood needed a tech upgrade? If you’re sick of trying to stay upwind of the campfire smoke, you’re going to love this review.

A red Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo thermometer isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Thermometers

Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo Review — A Top Instant Read Thermometer

The Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo is an easy-to-use, accurate, durable, affordable instant-read thermometer that anybody should consider in the market for one. It’s not a premium model with a premium price tag, but it does have premium features. Find out why we love it here.

Close up of a pork butt, showing the money muscle, sitting on a wooden chopping board.
Pulled Pork

What is Money Muscle? The Secret, Finest Part of the Pork Butt

The ‘money muscle’ is a hidden gem in the butt of pork that competition cooks have known about for years. It is tender, delicious, and arguably the very best bit. Learn where it is, how to get at it, and how to carve it out in this guide.

A well rubbed pork shoulder with a dark crust sitting in a smoker.
Pulled Pork

Pork Butt vs Pork Shoulder — What’s the Differences Between Them?

Pork butt and pork shoulder come from very nearby places on the pig and can be used somewhat interchangeably. But they are different cuts. In this guide, we compare these two cuts, discussing where they come from, differences between them, and how to use each to get the best from them.

Close up of some flank steak in ceramic cookware with some rosemary.
Ingredients

Everything You Need to Know About Flank Steak: A Comprehensive Guide

I love flank steak. It’s an underloved cut and one that surprisingly few have heard of, let alone regularly cook and eat. But with its deep beefy flavor and standout striations that soak up rubs and marinades, it should be on everybody’s list of favorite grilling cuts.

A lamb leg spinning over a wtaer pan, being brushed with a herb brush.
BBQ Theory

The Essential Guide to Using Water Pans — Why, When and How

What benefits to a smoking session does a water pan bring? Some smokers are specifically designed to use them, so they must add something good…right? Yes and no. They have their time and place. Learn below why we use them, and when you should and shouldn’t.

Charcoal and gas grill photos side by side.
Grills

Charcoal vs Gas Grill: Which is Right for Your Needs?

Here we look at and compare the relative pros and cons of charcoal and gas grills. Comparing factors such as flavor, cost, ease of use, versatility, and more, we pit the grill types against each other, so you can make the right decision of which is best suited to you.

A grid of 6 photos showing different types of grills.
Grills

The Different Types of Grills, and Choosing the Best One for You!

Learn all about the many types of grills, from different sizes and shapes to the different fuels they use. Also, how they work differently, their advantages and drawbacks, how they compare to one another, the skill level required to use them, and which factors to consider when choosing the best type for you.

2 chunks of smoking wood on a bed of charcoal.
Brisket

Best Wood for Smoking Brisket, What I Use, and What Others Use

Burning different woods creates different aromas and flavors, meaning you should consider the smoke you use as another food ingredient like any other. Not all wood smokes are suited to every meat, so choose and pair them carefully. With that in mind, here are the best flavor woods to pair with brisket.

Large BBQ smoker with fire box held open by a man with a gloved hand.
Smokers

Types of Smokers: A Guide to Choosing the Right One for Your Needs

This is your ultimate guide to the different types of smokers. How each type works, their pros and cons, and how they compare, with photos and detailed descriptions so that you can learn about them all in one place, then be able to choose the correct size and type for you!

A stack of pine wood logs, with a
BBQ Guides

Woods Not to Use for Smoking — Avoid These at All Costs!

Do you think all wood is suitable for grilling? Then it's time to reconsider. Many wood types can ruin your smoked meats and even potentially make you ill. So today, we look at the different woods you must never use for smoking and why. From the hazardous fumes of treated lumber to the overpowering aromas of certain hardwoods, learn which woods to avoid.

A photo grid of 16 different types of smoking chunks.
BBQ Guides

Smoking Wood Identification — Detailed Visual Guide With Photos

This comprehensive guide will take you on a visual journey, helping you to identify various smoking woods by their unique grain patterns, bark textures, and other defining features. From the deep, warm tones of hickory to the smooth, subtle texture of maple, you'll learn to recognize the different woods you smoke with and never get them mixed up again.

Some slowly smoldering hickory wood chunks sat on charcoal.
BBQ Guides

Best Wood for Smoking Meat and Seafood

When it comes to smoking meat, your choice of wood is as crucial as the meat itself. In this guide, we'll explore the top woods that can transform your BBQ from ordinary to extraordinary, each adding its own unique flavor and aroma to your favorite cuts. We look at each wood in turn to see what others, as well tell you which is the best for pork, beef, poultry, and more.

BBQ Guides

Smoking Wood Chart, with Flavor Profiles and Food Pairing Advice

Successful barbecue lies not only in the meat, sauce, or rub, but also in the type of wood smoke used. Our chart for smoking wood is the result of years of experience and testing. It's become the roadmap that guides me to the correct flavors to use for all my smoking endeavors.

An Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Equipment

Ooni Karu 16 Review: I Love it and am Sure You Will Too!

Depending on your point of view, pizza either combines all the food groups into one perfect meal, or it IS a food group all its own. And pizza cooked with a wood-fired open flame — that’s a step above! Let’s check out what might just be a pizza-lover dream come true and see if it can deliver the perfect pizza.

A Biolite CampStove Complete Cook Kit isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Grills

BioLite CampStove Complete Cook Kit Review

Because God forbid we ever go anywhere without our cell phones, now there’s a way to recharge yours with fire while you grill a burger or make a pot of coffee. OK, I’m tech-nerdy enough to need to know. What’s up with this new package from BioLite?

A Looft Lighter X isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Accessories

Looft Air Lighter X Review — Portable Cordless Electric Fire Starter

When your first product is one of the most innovative and straight-up coolest gadgets on the market, what do you do for an encore? That’s the problem Looft faced after the launch of the Looftlighter — now called the Looft Lighter I. How does the new Looft on the block measure up? We’ve got the answer below.

A MEATER Block isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Thermometers

Meater Block Review — I love it, But it’s Not Without Issues

The MEATER Block multiplies everything great about the single probe version by four! Well, the number of probes, at least. It’s wireless — truly no wires at all — Bluetooth enabled, Wi-Fi enabled, beautiful looking, and guides you through cooks effortlessly from an app.

A photo montage of 16 different bbq and grilling gifts.
Gifts & Books

50 of the Best Grilling Gifts and BBQ Gift Ideas for Meat Smokers in 2024

Any of your loved ones or relatives who like to cook outdoors would LOVE an item or three from this list of the best gifts for BBQ and grilling addicts. Be it Christmas, a birthday, Fathers or Mother's Day, whatever the event, if your special someone loves grilling, they’ll love what you find below.

A gift basket isolated against a blue background.
Gifts & Books

10 BBQ Gift Basket Ideas — For Christmas, Birthday, Father’s Day…

Who doesn’t love a gift basket? And who wouldn’t love one full of BBQ rubs, sauces, and outdoor cooking paraphernalia? Check out some of the best BBQ gift ideas for the deserving pitmaster in your life that are perfect presents for a birthday, Christmas, or any occasion.

Some of the best BBQ and grilling cookbooks piled on each other on a table.
Gifts & Books

The Best Grilling & BBQ Cookbooks Every Home Pitmaster Should Own

There’s a lot of free information on the web, but the experts still put their best knowledge into books. So if you want to master something and get the best-kept secrets, books are still where it’s at. Here are some of the best cookbooks on BBQ and grilling.

Grilling accessories, a Looftlighter and some kebab blades, next to a high quality, stainless steel grill.
Accessories

17 Best Grilling, BBQ, and Smoker Accessories in 2024

There are quite literally thousands of accessories marketed toward helping us with our grilling, BBQ, and smoking. But which are any good, and are we happy to recommend? Below we list a massive seventeen items that make outdoor cooking easier and more fun. Go grab a few!

A group of friends tailgating, grilling and drinking from red cups.
Grills

10 Best Tailgate Grills of 2024 — Reviews and Buying Guide

In this guide, we research the very best grills for tailgating. Charcoal grills, gas grills, large ones, small ones, some you can smoke on. There’s something for everyone. We review the top 8 contenders and deep dive into what you should consider when choosing, so you end up with the right pick.

Weber go anywhere tabletop grill on a stainless steel table.
Grills

8 Best Tabletop Grills of 2024 — Gas, Electric and Charcoal

Discover nine of the best tabletop grills that are small yet stable, will not damage the table beneath, perform brilliantly, and are highly recommended by us. We review grills running on charcoal, gas and electricity, detailing their features, their pros and cons, and help you choose the right one for you.

A man cooking on a charcoal grill.
Grills

13 Best Charcoal Grills of 2024 for all Needs and Budgets

This guide reviews the best charcoal grills with different price points, sizes, and features to find the top picks to suit most people. From Kettles and Kamados to portable grills and some capable of smoking, read on to explore our top picks.

Close up of a Kamado Joe fire bowl filled with lump charcoal and smoking wood.
Smokers

The Best Charcoal Smokers of 2024 — Buying Guide and Reviews

These are some of the very best charcoal smokers if you crave the authentic taste of charcoal with your BBQ. We’ve picked and reviewed these great models from all that exist for their great mix of performance and affordability, giving you what we like, what we don’t, and or overall verdicts.

A photo montage of six of the best Bluetooth thermometers side by side.
Thermometers

8 Best Bluetooth Thermometers of 2024 for BBQ and Grilling

Bluetooth thermometers allow you to monitor your cooks remotely using an app on your smartphone. This leaves you able to mingle with guests or monitor the cook with your feet up in front of the TV. Cool, huh? Check out the best ones on the market in our guide.

A photo montage of 9 of the best smoker thermometers available on the market today.
Thermometers

Best Smoker Thermometers of 2024 — Tested and Reviewed

Here are the best smoker thermometers available in 2022. A mix of digital, wireless, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled — and even one you can use during rotisserie cooking! There’s something here to suit everybody, with the best in a few categories for all your grilling and BBQ needs.

Bavette steak, crevettes, and broccoli being cooked on a kamado grill and smoker.
Smokers

11 Best Kamado Grills of 2024 — Expert Reviews and Buying Guide

Take a look at the best ceramic kamado grills on the market in our helpful guide full of reviews that looks at 8 different offerings at different price points and sizes. These grills are the Swiss army knives of outdoor cooking, can grill, bake, sear, roast, and more. You’re going to love ‘em!

A weber portable gas grill with side tables and lid open on a grass field.
Grills

The Best Portable Gas Grills and Travel Propane Barbecues for 2024

To enjoy fast lighting grilling on the go, without the mess of charcoal to deal with, choose one of the best portable gas grills in this guide. Below, we have the results from researching the top models on the market and recommend the top picks in a few categories to match different needs.

Racks of pork ribs cooking away in a BBQ smoker.
Smokers

Best Smokers of 2024, According to Experts and Enthusiasts

A roundup and review of the best smokers you can buy in 2022. We look at the top models in different styles and categories, at various price points, reviewing the top models available today. Could your next smoker be on this list?

A photo montage of 9 of the best wireless meat thermometers.
Thermometers

9 Best Wireless Meat Thermometers for Grills and BBQs in 2024

In this guide, we compare and review various wireless meat thermometers, looking at all the pros and cons, and value versus performance to find the best, and help you make the right choice for buying a thermometer for you. We even look at a truly wireless model perfect for rotisserie cooking!