Ira started smoking meats at an early age. His grandfather cooked on the weekends for all the cowboys on a ranch in South Texas in the 40s and 50s. Barbecue was his specialty and, of course, all of the Hands looked forward to slow-smoked brisket over mesquite coals. Ira’s grandfather did it “the old school way” on a brick pit: burning logs down to red hot coals then shoveling them into the pit for his heat source. Partial pieces of these brick pits are still in use today.
Fast forward to Ira’s teen years…His mother opened and operated a barbecue restaurant. Visiting her over summer and holiday breaks, Ira learned by watching her prep and being the “Pit Guy” at night. This started his interest in barbecue and made his skills go to whole new level. While Ira’s mother got out of the barbecue business over the next few years, he kept his passion for the art.
Years passed and Ira would cook for family and friends. Talking with buddies at work, they asked if he participated in competition cooking. After a brief explanation of what that entailed, Ira knew he had to find out more. Ira and his father were into antique tractor pulling, and one of these events happened to be held simultaneously with a barbecue completion down in Floresville, Texas. His father knew that he enjoyed cooking, as Ira often boasted about his skills to him, and so asked him to try it out. His father would cover the cost for Ira just to give him the chance to compete and see what happened.
Running his grandfather’s brisket recipe, the same one that had pleased many in the past, was a crowd pleaser at the competition. After pulling tractors and tending to a brisket all day, Ira came out with a big 2nd place in the brisket category amongst some season competition cooks. That was it: Ira was hooked. Flying G Barbcue Company was formed and the love of this craft has inspired Ira while keeping his life eventful and challenging.