Mark Jenner

Founder, Barbecue and Grilling Expert

Expertise

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

Education

Essex University

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

Cleaning a grills grates with a grill brush.
Accessories

The Best Grill Brushes and Cleaning Tools in 2024

Check out the best grill brushes, scrapers, and cleaning tools in our helpful buying guide packed full of advice and product reviews, so you get the right tool for your needs. Not all products are best for all grill or grate types, so read our buying guide for the correct advice!

A charcoal chimney starter half full of hot burning coals.
Accessories

Fire Me Up: Buying Guide to the Best Charcoal Chimney Starters 2024

A charcoal chimney starter is one of the best, most efficient ways to quickly get a charcoal grill up to cooking temp. Here we review the top models available, discuss their features, their pros and cons, and what you should look for when picking the right model for you.

Dry rub ingredients and pork ribs on a wooden cutting board.
Ingredients

20 Best BBQ Rubs For Sale Online in 2024

BBQ rubs allow you to add complex and different flavors to any meat you cook. But certain flavors are best with certain meats, and not all flavors suit all meats. So here are our favorites, sorted by meat type, with something that is bound to suit everyone.

A brisket slicing knife sat between a halved and sliced brisket on pink butcher paper.
Equipment

Best Knife For Slicing Brisket — Nice Slice, no Hacking, no Tearing!

This guide looks at the best knives for slicing for brisket that will not snag, need hacking, or ruin the presentation. The perfect brisket is very tender and can be hard to slice perfectly without it falling apart. You need the right tool for the job, one of the knives we review below.

beef wellington, asparagus and bone marrow.
Recipes

Basque Beef Wellington — Charcoal Seared then Wood Fire Oven Baked

Basque beef is retired dairy cows, left to graze wild for years in the Basque Country, developing incredible marbling and flavor. Quite unlike anything I’d eaten before. We charcoal grill Basque filet in this recipe before making it into a wellington, baked in a wood-fired oven.

Grilled, sliced hanger steak with chimichurri on a large wooden chopping board.
Recipes

Grilled Hanger Steak, With Flambadou Bone Marrow and ChimiChurri

Quickly seared hanger steak, basted with flaming bone marrow dripped from a red-hot flambadou, served with chimichurri. This recipe is simple, has a bit of theater, an incredibly satisfying, flame-grilled beefy taste, and is everything simple BBQ should be. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.

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.

Smoking times and temperatures graphic as a featured image.
BBQ Theory

Smoking Times and Temperatures Chart — With BBQ Cooking Tips

A meat smoking times and temperatures chart for all the popular cuts of beef, pork, lamb, poultry and seafood. We show the range of temperatures to set your smoker and the target internal temp of all the different cuts of meat. Bookmark this page to use as a reference again and again!

The most popular beef cuts, written above an image of a cow showing all primals.
Ingredients

Beef Cuts Chart and Diagram, with Photos, Names, Recipes, and More

Learn all about the most popular beef cuts from our chart, diagram and write up, including popular and alternative names, where the cuts come from on the cow, preferred outdoor cooking methods, their costs relative to each other, and a fantastic recipe for each cut of beef that we’ve taken from around the web.

A Thermoworks Signals and billows isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Thermometers

Thermoworks Signals with Billows Review – Hands on Testing and Results

It’s a great day when I get my hands on some new grilling gear! I’m excited to try out my new ThermoWorks Signals BBQ Alarm Thermometer and put it through its paces. And I’ll share my results with you, so you know whether this is worth your money or if there’s a better choice for you.

A Fireboard 2 with Drive next to text describing this article as a review.
Thermometers

FireBoard 2 Review — With Drive Blower Temperature Controller

It’s not so scary picking up a low-cost bit of grilling gear on spec and trying it out. What are you out if it’s not so hot? When the MSRP is well into 3 figures, however (all of them left of the decimal point!), it’s less easy to talk yourself into it. No worries — I took the plunge for you and bought a brand new FireBoard 2 Drive with Blower. Here’s my no holds barred review.

A ThermoPro TP826 isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Thermometers

ThermoPro TP826 Wireless Digital Meat Thermometer Review

Can’t figure out which wireless thermometer is right for you? Not even sure if you need a wireless thermometer? Here’s an unbiased, hands-on review of the ThermoPro TP826 to help you decide. And spoiler alert: You do need one if you want repeatable success on your grill!

A Thermoworks Thermapen One isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Thermometers

ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE Review: Worth it or Not?

You ever buy a fancy do-dad and wonder if you’re just “paying for the name”? I often get that feeling when I drop some money on a big-name grilling gadget that at least a dozen other companies sell their version of for less. So, I’m putting one of my latest to the test to see if it’s worthy of the budget-bending price tag attached.

A Weber Master-Touch isolated on black, next to text describing this article as a review.
Grills

Weber Master Touch Review

Because you can never have too many grills, I picked up a new Weber Master-Touch 22” charcoal grill to review and test, and – hopefully – enjoy some great food to boot. Let’s check it out together and see whether or not you need one in your life.

A Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 36 isolate don black, next to text that explains this article is a review.
Smokers

Camp Chef Woodwind Review — Wi-Fi 36 Pellet Grill With Sidekick

In this Camp Chef Woodwind review, you’ll learn how this fully-featured, technologically advanced pellet grill can level up your grilling game and help you smoke glorious food with minimum effort. We dive into all of its features, pros and cons, and end with our overall verdict on whether it’s worth your money.

Napoleon TravelQ Pro285 isolated on black, next to text describing this article is a review.
Grills

Napoleon TravelQ Pro285 Review

Who said barbecuing was limited to huge grills parked in your backyard? Not me! I grill wherever I go, and I’m always looking for the best cooker to join me and the fam on our adventures. Is this the ideal camping cookout companion? Let’s find out together!

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 — Plus 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 man in black apron, sprinkling salt over a steak on a cutting board.
Prep & Serving

How to Season a Steak for the Best Possible Amazing 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.

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 a Look at Thin vs Thick Steaks

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!

A man turning meat with tongs on a very smoky looking gas grill.
General Knowledge

Does BBQ, Grilling and Smoking Meat Cause Cancer? Truth or Scare?

We all know that smoke contains carcinogenic chemicals, so does that make BBQ, grilling, and low and slow smoking cancer-causing? Is there any connection between cancer and the smoke we use to flavor our meat? We wanted to find out, and in this article, we provide the research and what we discovered.

A Kamado Joe Jr grill and smoker isolated on black, next to words describing that this article is a review of this product.
Smokers

My Review of the Kamado Joe Jr After 2 Years of Ownership

I already owned a pair of Kamado Joe grills before buying the Jr and starting this review. I promise you, though, I’m no blindly allegiant fanboy! I love my barbecued food too much to put up with junky gear. So how does the Kamado Joe Junior measure up? Let’s find out together!

A GrillEye Max smoker thermometer isolated on black, alongside text describing that this article is a review of it.
Thermometers

GrillEye Max Wireless Digital Barbecue Thermometer Review

Time is money — but temperature is the key to perfect grilling and smoking! That’s why I’m reviewing the GrillEye Max digital barbecue and smoker thermometer, a device that tests my theory that you can’t have too many probe ports. Read on to see if the Dr. Octopus of thermometers is right for you.

Thermopro TP620 review written beside one isolated on black, with text describing the product.
Thermometers

ThermoPro TP620 Instant Read Meat Thermometer Review

To paraphrase the classic slacker film Clerks, there’s a million fine looking thermometers in the world, dude. But, they don’t all have an auto-rotating display. I’m testing out the ThermoPro TP620 to see if it’s a keeper or just flashy eye candy that looks good but lets you down in the end.

a frozen steak in vac pack, sitting on a wooden cutting board.
Prep & Serving

How to Defrost Steak Quickly and Safely, The Very Best Methods

Who doesn’t love knowing they have thick, delicious steaks at the ready whenever the craving hits? Stocking up on steaks means keeping them on ice, and that means thawing them out for grilling. What’s the best way to get it done without compromising on flavor or safety? We’ve got the answer.

A BBQ Guru UltraQ temperature controller isolated on black, next to words describing that this article is a review of the product.
Thermometers

BBQ Guru UltraQ Temperature Controller Review

A virtual BBQ assistant that monitors the temperature of my cooker and my food, and automatically adjusts the cooker’s temperature for optimal results? Bring it! This may be the next best thing to a robot grillmaster. Read on to learn all about the BBQ Guru UltraQ temperature controller.

Wild garlic and bone marrow butter melted onto a grilled ribeye steak.
Recipes

Wild Garlic and Bone Marrow Compound Butter Recipe

This compound butter is easy to make with wild garlic picked from the woods, unctuous beefy bone marrow shafts, shallots, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Melted over resting steaks, boiled or steamed veg, or baked potatoes, is nothing short of heavenly. Be sure to give it a go!

bone marrow butter melted on steak.
Recipes

Bone Marrow Butter Recipe — Smoked for an Insane Flavor Profile

This bone marrow butter uses smoked beef marrow bones, as well as smoked shallots and smoked puréed garlic to create an incredible compound butter that packs an almighty flavor punch. It’s perfect for adding into sauces, stocks, gravies, or for melting over boiled veg or resting steaks.

The Z Grills 700D pellet grill sitting on a patio next to a kamado grill.
Smokers

Z Grills 700D Wood Pellet Grill Review — Hands On, With Cook Results

So, you couldn’t hold out any longer; after seeing so many videos and blogs, you decided you HAVE to own a pellet grill. I’m not here to talk you out of it. Far from it — I want to introduce you to the Z Grills 700D wood pellet grill. It could be exactly what you’re after.

spare ribs vs St Louis ribs, one photo each, side by side.
Ribs

Spare Ribs Vs. St. Louis Ribs — Differences and How to Smoke Them

The difference between spare and St Louis ribs is minimal. They're close to the same thing and are mostly treated the same during cooking. Learn all about these two cuts and the subtle differences between them here, where we answer all your burning questions on these two pork rib types.

Some of the best steaks for grilling laid out on a dark surface, with spices and kitchen tools.
Grilling Theory

11 Best Steaks for Grilling — And Exactly How to Cook Each One

Because not all steaks are created equal, we decided to cook up a selection of eleven steaks for you to try on your grill. From all-time favorites to a handful of lesser-known but outstanding cuts, these are the best steaks for grilling that you simply must try.

A selection of large joints of meat and sausages.
BBQ Theory

The Best Meats to Smoke — From Beef to Pork, Lamb, Chicken and More

If you’re looking for a list of the best meats to smoke, you’re in the right place. Below is a long list of delicious cuts of beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game that, when smoked, become incredibly delicious. Best of all? They’re typically cheaper cuts that shine when treated to low n slow.

Gas grill with onions, teak and other bits, and a man holding tongs to flip them.
Grilling Theory

Grilling Tips to Level up Your Grill Skills and Improve Your Next Cookout

Level up your grill game with the following list of grilling tips to make your next grill-out easier and more successful. From getting that Instagrammable sear to adding insane layers of flavor, from preventing food from sticking to the grates to tenderizing tough cuts before cooking.

Steaks and small items of food being cooked on an infrared grill.
Grilling Theory

Infrared Grills — Advantages, Disadvantages and How They Work

Infrared grills are a relatively new technology for the home cook. They get super hot superfast, so you can knock out food quickly, and they can create the best sear on food you've ever had. Are you Interested to know more? Then read on.

A flame boss 500 and a BBQGuru UltraQ side by side in two separate photos.
Thermometers

Flame Boss vs BBQ Guru — Here We Compare Their Top Models

Automatic temperature controllers can add a set-it-and-forget-it feature to most charcoal smokers, so you can chill with guests while knowing everything is still under control without constant attention. Two of the best and most popular manufacturers are BBQ guru and Flame Boss. How do they compare? Which are best? Let’s find out.

2 photos of smoking and grilling meats, side by side.
General Knowledge

Smoker Vs Grill — What Are the Differences? Which Should You Buy?

The word ‘BBQ’ has loosely come to mean all outdoor cooking, even though techniques and cookers are very different. Do you know the difference between a smoker and a grill? Or smoking and grilling? If you do, that’s great! If not, you will find out in this guide.

Mark Jenner leaning on a Masterbuilt 30 electric smoker, brand-new still in its box.
Smokers

Masterbuilt 30 Electric Smoker Review — Recommended, or Not?

Is the Masterbuilt 30 worth buying? Do we recommend it? Find out in our helpful hands-on review that looks into this model in-depth, discussing its pros and cons, what we like and don’t, plus its real-world cooking performance, to see if it’s right for you.