Author, Dadgum That's Good Too! (2012)
Co-Owner/President, Masterbuilt Manufacturing, Inc.
Masterbuilt Founded in 1973 by his father, Dawson
Wife, Tonya; 3 Children: Brooke(21), John(19), Bailey(14)
Holiday Cooking with Masterbuilt's John McLemore
The 700 Club
A DADGUM GOOD HOLIDAY
John McLemore says there’s a difference between good food and great food, “…What’s a meal without good times with good people? Just plain ol’ food. In order for it to be dadgum good food, it must be shared…” That statement holds true everyday for him but especially during the holidays. The holidays are a special time for his family and friends. John usually has anywhere from 30-40 people at Thanksgiving, which consists of family, friends, and the Masterbuilt family.
Masterbuilt’s signature deep fried turkey was created during Thanksgiving. In the 1980s, they expanded their product line and created a turkey fryer. During Thanksgiving of 1982, no one was frying turkeys but they deep fried one. In case this turkey didn't turn out well, John’s mother arranged for a family member to roast a traditional turkey. When the deep fried turkey was served, John says it was unlike anything the family had ever tasted. To this day, deep fried turkey is still the highlight of the McLemore Thanksgiving meal and their recipe is still prepared and enjoyed by the whole family.
In 2008, Masterbuilt introduced the first indoor electric turkey fryer and Butterball became the first brand to officially license a deep fryer.
DADGUM, THAT’S GOOD, TOO
Family and friends are very important to John. He says they are the people who have influenced his life and his cooking. John loves being the chef in his own home, but even more than this he loves getting everyone involved in the kitchen. On his first book tour, John learned a lot from the people he met. Many of them shared their recipes in his new book, Dadgum That’s Good Too. It has cooking tips and hints as well as stories and memories about family and friends. The book is lovingly dedicated to John’s mother, who passed away December 29, 2012. Many of the recipes were created and tested with the Masterbuilt staff, which is a big family. For example, the Masterbuilt Court Pear Pie recipe was developed using the fruit from the pear tree in the parking lot of the Masterbuilt facility the company purchased in 2007. Every year, the tree has an abundance of fruit, which is shared with the employees and the deer that walk up from the woods behind Masterbuilt’s office.
John will be sharing the following recipes: Gordon’s Persian Lamb, Smoked Bacon with Asparagus, Claire’s Sweet Potato Fritters, Smoked Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Potato Fries with Maple Pecan Syrup, Smoked Turkey Salad Sandwiches, and Masterbuilt Court Pear Pies.
Masterbuilt is a company that spans three generations. John remembers when he was 8. He observed his father, Dawson, twisting metal in the backyard with his bare hands. Dawson made the steel into scrolls and circles then welded them together to make his first “product,” a plant stand. John says, “Most of the products we developed were for our family’s personal use,” whose mother wanted a way to water her plants. Soon, his father, who worked for Goodyear, started selling the plant stands to various hardware stores.
The McLemore family loved taking vacations together. On those trips, they went fishing and caught a lot of fish. One day, Dawson built a fish fryer to make cooking the fish easier for the family. One of their friends loved it and wanted one for himself. They made him a fish fryer and traded it for a lawn mower. Soon they started making the fish fryers and selling them in hardware stores in neighboring states. That was the start of M&M Welding.
The company started with three products: a baker rack, plant stand and fish fryer. There have been “accidents” along the way. When John was 13, he got tangled with a large hand-held grinding machine. He got 110 stitches and lost several pints of blood.
The demand for the fish fryers grew and by 1976 the boys were actively involved in the business with their father. They renamed the company, Masterbuilt Manufacturing, Inc. This reflected their belief that they needed the support of the Lord (our Master) combined with the fact that they “built” their products.
In 1983 John graduated high school. His college was “The University of Masterbuilt.” While John knew he would benefit from a college degree, he was exposed to hands-on learning that he would have never received in school.
When Dawson was 47, he retired and left Masterbuilt in the hands of his sons. The company continued to grow and their product line expanded. John’s brother, Don, retired from the company in the summer of 2012. Now, John is the sole owner of Masterbuilt, which is the first time the company has been solely owned. John's son, John Jr. (or J-Mac) is carrying on in the family business. John’s family members are strong Christians and are very active in their local church community. The McLemores also love to test their recipes at church. In times when businesses were struggling God has been helping Masterbuilt thrive and succeed.
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