Slap Yo’ Daddy teaches at Weber-Stephens Headquarters in Illinois, by Donna Fong of Butchers Daughter BBQ – Part 3

August 8th, 20142 Comments

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<see Part 1 and Part 2>

On the way, we drove through lush green Illinios pastures and the occasional Red Headed Sandhill crane could be seen from the road. There were fields and fields of corn that wouldn’t be harvested till later in the season. Having suffered through so many droughts in California, it was a relief to see all of the greenery around us.

After going through security at Weber Huntley, we were given ear plugs and protective glasses and told not to touch anything.  We were awed by the enormity of the manufacturing plant. My guess is that it must have spanned three football fields. Technicians transformed flat steel sheets into round grill bottoms and lids by pressing them with a loud thud. There was a separate room for enamels and then another room for packaging. Each manager patiently explained each process in detail. It really felt like we were children at Willy Wonka’s factory.

At the end of the tour, we walked down the many aisles of boxed Weber products, stacked upwards towards the ceiling. The rows seems endless. All of the Weber charcoal products were distributed around the world right here in this factory. We posed for a nice photo opportunity with our host, Kevin and thanked our guides for the day.

Harry and Kevin Kolman, Weber Grill Master, in front of a “wall” of mini-WSMs

We spent the rest of our vacation in downtown Chicago which was very pretty. A city surrounded by water and steel skyscrapers in all sorts of architectural styles. The deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s was nothing like I ever had before. The butter crust was a real treat. Then there were the endless hot dogs we ate throughout the city. We went to the top of the Sears building and ended our trip with a victorious baseball game at U.S. Cellular Field.  Chicago is one of America’s best cities.

Lou Malnati Deep Dish Butter Crust Pizza

White Sox and Astros game at Cellular Field in Chicago

After all was said and done, I was glad about our decision to forgo Maui this time around, knowing that the island will be there when we are ready.  For now, I was glad to have traveled to Weber and meet some truly fine people who inspired me on many levels.  We hoped that we did the same for them.

<see Part 1 and Part 2>

2 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Another great article Donna. It was our new Weber Summit Grill we bought back in 2009 when looking on line to find a recipe that we found the world of BBQ. A contest in Santa Maria where this guy was going to cook who had just taken 1st place in all four meets the previous contest that we decided to make the drive up and meet this Pitmaster. When arriving and meeting Harry he was so gracious and told us he doesn’t do PC and was in the middle of finishing up for turn ins’ but come back and he would sneak us a rib. That was the beginning of our journey. We took Harry’s 2nd class and the last for a while since he was going to do this TV show he couldn’t talk about. That brought us to the California BBQ association where we got to meet you. Privileged and enjoyed every year since with you both. He helped us take two top ten walks in our first KCBS event at Stagecoach. Linda and I just love being around you guys. Thanks for everything

  2. Donna Fong says:

    That is so sweet of you to say Barry. I never heard that story before. I only know the one of how you and I met at the Anaheim class so many years ago. 2009 maybe? We’ve been friends ever since. Funny how three paths eventually came together, eh?

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