Time around the grill is best enjoyed with friends and family. Robert and Brian Gerwig know this to be true. The father and son duo launched the joint Instagram account @g_bque in August 2020 to share some of their BBQ recipes, photos, and videos.
“We send so many food pictures in our family group text, we figured we should start sharing them with others,” says Brian.
Robert, who is 56, and Brian, 28, live more than 500 miles apart, but they stay in touch almost daily. One of the biggest topics of conversation? What’s smoking on the grill.
“I think it’s increased our communication and given us something to talk about,” says Robert.
Coming from a family of cooks, Robert and Brian both grew up helping to make good food. Robert’s father was in the Marine Corps and they moved around constantly. Wherever they were, they spent a lot of time around the grill. He even remembers grilling fruit bat and whole pigs when they were stationed in Guam.
“There’s definitely a grilling and smoking culture in the military, a sense of family and gathering,” he says. “I was often asked to go outside and tend to the grill. That’s really where my love for BBQ first started.”
Although he’s had an appreciation for BBQ since a young age, Robert didn’t start grilling regularly until about seven years ago. When Brian was home from college, he would watch his dad grill and ask a lot of questions.
“When my dad got into BBQ, obviously I enjoyed the food, but I also enjoyed the process, being outside, tending the fire, tending the meat,” says Brian.
But living mainly in apartments post-college, Brian didn’t have a place to hone his craft until he and his wife bought their first house and, in turn, Brian’s first smoker. That’s when he “went crazy,” as Robert jokingly puts it, BBQing ambitious meals for large crowds constantly. Today, Brian grills around five days per week. Robert comes in at three or four.
Although they share a text message thread, and a gene pool, Brian and Robert have different experiences and ideas they bring to BBQ. They share recipes, they talk grilling accessories, they swap tools. Brian even convinced Robert to switch from a charcoal to pellet grill last year.
“Brian is always challenging me with new approaches, then sometimes I throw him some old school tricks,” Robert says. “It’s really been fun to grill with someone in the family because it’s not competitive.”
While everyone in the family enjoys eating BBQ, Brian and Robert are known as the designated grillers. They both say one of their favorite things about BBQ is sharing it with others, from family and friends, to people in their neighborhood and church.
“We’ve learned it’s a lot of fun to do something we enjoy, but it’s also fun when that thing is appreciated and enjoyed by other people,” Robert says.
They’ve also found joy in getting to share their treats virtually on Instagram.
“We’ve found this really awesome community that helps us be better at what we do,” Robert says. “We share with each other, and we’re all very supportive.”
Brian was first introduced to Bear Mountain pellets by a BBQ friend on Instagram. He ordered them online and was immediately impressed.
“The pellets burn smoother and last longer. You open up a bag and there is zero dust in it. Plus, the flavors are great,” he says.
Per Brian’s suggestion, Robert gave them a try as well.
“Complete honesty: I like Bear Mountain the best. They’re clean, the size of the bags is perfect, there are a variety of flavors,” he says. “When I’m grilling, I’m focused on the meat, the rub, the sauce. I don’t want to worry about how the fuel is burning. With Bear Mountain, I don’t have to.”
Brian and Robert both have full time jobs they love, but they’re open to exploring more ways outdoor cooking can be a part of their lives. They’re continuing to grow their Instagram account, and Brian and his wife plan to start doing some local catering events in the coming months.
“I don’t necessarily have plans for BBQ to be a full-time thing, but right now it’s a lot of fun and I want to share it with others in the community,” Brian says.
Regardless of where their grilling passions take them, they both agree that their love of BBQing has brought them closer together.
“It’s so enjoyable that I know many times a week we will connect over BBQ,” says Robert. “For me, as a dad, that’s just phenomenal.”