The Story of Mad Scientist BBQ

2015 - Jeremy cooking on his grill/smoker combo

Jeremy Yoder is a barbecue enthusiast from Kentucky who loves to spend time smoking meat and enjoying the rewards of a long cook. He graduated college in Lexington, KY in 2012 with a degree in Biochemistry and was set to begin medical school in the fall. At the last minute he changed his mind and moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue graduate studies. To pay the bills, he got a job as a science teacher at a private school.

2016 - Jeremy standing in his apartment parking space with his brand new Old Country Brazos (with the grill/smoker combo in the background).

Jeremy wanted a hobby between working and studying so he attended a sale one weekend at a big box hardware store where he bought a grill with an attached firebox. He cooked every chance he had and learned how to use the firebox by reading every book and watching every video he could find on the subject. After a few years he was ready for an upgrade, so he and his wife Erica used all the extra money they had to buy his first real offset smoker—an Old Country Brazos.

Jeremy and Erica lived in a small apartment and had no backyard to house the smoker, so they kept it in their one apartment parking spot. Once Jeremy started to get the hang of smoking meat on his new pit, he considered bringing his teaching skills to the barbecue world to help others avoid the mistakes he had made while honing the craft. Erica had always loved filming and editing videos for fun, so they filmed their first cooking video and posted it on a YouTube channel they created. Jeremy named it Mad Scientist BBQ.

They posted a few more videos until moving apartments in 2016. While the living space itself was an upgrade, they no longer had a spot outside to smoke meat and film videos like in their previous apartment building parking lot. That’s when a new friend named Rick with a nice backyard generously offered to both keep the smoker at his house and for them to continue filming videos.

Experimenting with large pieces of meat like brisket meant there was usually too much food for just Jeremy and Erica to eat, so they always shared the extra with Rick and his family. This led to Jeremy filling up the Brazos with meat to cook for Rick’s grandson’s 1st birthday party in the spring of 2017 ( WATCH ). When Rick asked if Jeremy could cook for several hundred people for his son’s wedding, Jeremy knew it was time to get a bigger cooker. That’s when he bought a 500-gallon custom offset smoker from a local pit builder.
Jeremy’s pit was finished the day before the wedding and, by the grace of God, the cook was a smashing success. (Due to cold temperatures, high winds, and other factors out of their control, it was almost a complete disaster. You can watch that story unfold HERE ).

2017 - Jeremy and Erica after serving barbecue for their first large catering event.

After the wedding, Jeremy received several inquiries to cook for offices, retreats, Christmas parties, and other group gatherings. Erica and Jeremy were both working full time but said yes to every opportunity they could on the weekends. They also partnered with a local brewery called Pocock Brewing Co. who took a chance and allowed them to serve barbecue at the brewery two days before Christmas in 2017. This led to Jeremy serving at that brewery once a month, which in turn led to more business.

For the next two years when they weren’t serving barbecue on the weekends, they were filming videos for YouTube.

  • Todd (owner of Pocock Brewing Co.) and Jeremy looking at calendar dates for the monthly pop-up.

  • Jeremy taking a break between serving people at a Pocock Brewing Co.

  • Filming YouTube videos at home

  • Filming YouTube videos at home

Sometimes serving barbecue for several weekends in a row would lead to large gaps between posting YouTube videos. But in March of 2020 when Los Angeles went into lockdown, they took advantage of the time at home together and filmed as many videos as they could, sometimes even posting twice a week. This consistency helped boost the growth on their channel.

Erica was pregnant, and after several weeks of being at home and no sign of the city returning to normal, they decided they would move back home to Kentucky. That summer Mad Scientist BBQ reached 100k subscribers on YouTube, their daughter was born, they moved to Kentucky, and they were able to go full time with filming YouTube videos. Today, Jeremy loves taking his viewers through the steps of making great barbecue and bringing them along in his experimentation. He and Erica are incredibly thankful for all who have supported them to be where they are today.



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