Author, Dadgum, That's Good (2010)
Co-Owner/President, Masterbuilt Manufacturing, Inc.
Wife, Tonya; 3 Children: Brooke(21), John(19), Bailey(13)
John McLemore: Bringing the Family Together with Good Food
The 700 Club
STARTING IN THE BACK YARD
John, 45, remembers when he was 8 his father, Dawson, was 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. “Most of the products we developed were for our family’s personal use,” says John, 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 family loved taking vacations together and while on those trips, they went fishing and caught a lot of fish. One day, Dawson built a fish cooker to make cooking the fish easier for the family. A friend of theirs loved it and wanted one for himself. So 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 the neighboring states. That was the start of M&M Welding. “We started with 3 products: a baker rack, plant stand and fish fryer,” says John. There have been “accidents” along the way. When John was 13, he got tangled with a large hand-held grinding machine. He got 110 stitiches and lost several pints of blood.
The demand for the fish fryers grew and by 1976 the boys were involved solidly behind their father. They renamed the company, Masterbuilt. 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. 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 gotten in school. In the 1980s, they expanded product line and created a turkey fryer. It was Thanksgiving 1982. At the time, no one was frying turkeys so for a back up, John’s mom arranged for a family member to roast a traditional turkey. The turkey was served and John says it was unlike anything the family had ever tasted. To this day, deep fried turkey is still the centerpiece of the McLemore Thanksgiving table 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
John will show us how to smoke foods in the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. It has 4 smoking racks and can smoke up to 50 pounds of meat at a time. The meat is cooked with the heat furnished by the electrical elements. By adding wood chips, the smoke adds flavor to the meat. The most common used chips are hickory and mesquite. Apple and pecan wood chips also add a unique, milder flavor. He says many women use the smoker and says using the smoker is as easy as using your oven.
John will smoke Baby Back Ribs with Espresso BBQ sauce, page 129, Game Hens, page 114, Smoked Asparagus, page 107 Smoked Cabbage, page 125 and Smoked BBQ Shrimp, page 141.
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