When something sparks Joe DiApice’s interest, he’s all in. This is clear in his career: He works as a Software Engineer for Ford Performance Racing. It was also apparent years ago when he took up all grain homebrewing and got hooked. He researched equipment, built up a fully electric, 20-gallon single tier 3 vessel system, and bought and launched a business and website around the hobby almost immediately.
“I’m the type of person who really gets into things,” the Bear Mountain ambassador says. “I go in fully.”
DiApice always enjoyed eating BBQ, but it wasn’t until March 2020 that he decided to make it himself. He got a hankering for ribs and, since most restaurants around him were closed due to the pandemic, he bought some at the grocery store and smoked them on his gas grill. He thought the ribs were “ok,” but he knew he could do better.
He started researching pellet grills. Six months later, he bought one and graduated from ribs to beef jerky to queso dip, pork butt, and brisket. He documented his BBQ feats through a personal social media account, and in August 2020, he took it to the next level, launching @BBQFriend on Instagram. Immediately, he felt welcomed by the BBQ community.
“Nobody was afraid to share recipes, tricks, and tips. I’ve made a lot of good friends that I have never met in person. I talk to people from California, Seattle, even Alaska. I truly believe there are lifelong friends to be made through BBQ.”
DiApice was born and raised in Long Island, NY and holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Western New England College. Early in his career, he worked in commercial real estate in New York City, then worked for NASA as a Systems Engineer, specializing on the Space Shuttles Main Rocket Engine. In 2012, he made the move to North Carolina to join his parents and sister. Today, he lives with his wife and five-year-old daughter right outside of Charlotte.
When it comes to family and BBQ, DiApice gets a lot of support. He bought his dad pellet grill so they can enjoy spending time BBQing together. His daughter loves to help him food prep. And he says his wife is both a creative genius and amazing cook.
“She’s an out of the box thinker when it comes to food. She influences a lot of what I make,” he says.
When DiApice first became interested in BBQ, he found it was difficult to keep track of all the new information he was getting. From learning the craft and tracking his progress to finding recipes, the process felt a bit discombobulated. He searched for a tool that would help him keep everything organized but couldn’t find one.
“I thought, I’m going to make an online tool for this,” he says.
At the start of 2021, DiApice started developing BBQFriend.com. This site will be a place for BBQ enthusiasts to visit, create accounts, share recipes, and track their own progress in a cook log. Each user will also be able to keep certain content private if they’d like and communicate with one another.
“I haven’t seen anything like this yet, and I really hope it will be a great resource for people who love BBQ,” he says. DiApice plans to open up BBQFriend.com to beta testers in March and then hopes to have it go live a few months after that.
DiApice first came across Bear Mountain pellets through scrupulous research. He read article after article about the best pellets. When he kept seeing the Bear Mountain name, he scoured BearMountainBBQ.com to learn more. He was immediately attracted by the range of flavors.
“I think these are the best pellets on the market. They burn cleaner and longer. I don’t go through as many of them, and I don’t need to clean my grill as much,” he says.
As DiApice works on BBQFriend.com, he’s also seen huge successes with his Instagram account in recent months. Two of his reels went viral, which nearly doubled his follower count. He hopes, as he sees more success, he is able to give back to BBQ.
“I want to support content creators and give back to this amazing community.”
To keep up with DiApice’s latest dishes and news about BBQFriend.com, follow him on his Instagram. If you’d like to try out some of his creations, check out his Wagyu Short Ribs and his Pulled Pork Tacos & Elote.