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Jordan Hanger, known by many on Instagram as Ninjacue, has spent the last eight years teaching himself how to smoke delicacies of all kinds on the grill. But about three and a half years ago, the father of two could tell he was overdoing it. He was overweight and low energy.

“I knew I needed to make a change,” the Lakeland, Florida resident says. “I wanted to be healthy, to have the energy to keep up with my kids. So, I asked myself, ‘What can I do to make this lifestyle healthier?’”

Jordan decided to try a ketogenic diet, a low-carb regimen that focuses on fats and proteins. He also got outdoors more with his two sons and made sure to go to the gym a few nights a week. Right away, he felt better. He was able to lose the weight without sacrificing his love for BBQ. Today, Jordan still leads a low-carb lifestyle, while managing to post mouthwatering creations nearly every day on his Instagram page.

Ninjacue Pastrami Burnt Ends
“It’s possible to still be healthy and enjoy BBQ,” Jordan says. “Everyone thinks I only eat meat, but that’s just what I put on my page. I also eat salads, healthy sides, I try to use sauces that aren’t as loaded in sugar and carb-heavy.” Jordan’s family moved around often when he was growing up because his Dad was in the military. No matter where they called home, he loved watching and helping his mom in the kitchen. A Korean woman, Jordan says she is an incredibly skilled chef who would bring Asian flavors into their meals, an inspiration he still uses in his cooking today.

The first time Jordan tried BBQ was eight years ago. He was visiting his sister in Ohio and ate ribs for the first time. After that, he couldn’t get the taste out of his mind. But when he got home to Florida, he couldn’t find any BBQ joints in the area.

“I had this lightbulb moment where I realized I could learn to make BBQ,” he says. Jordan pulled up YouTube videos and websites to start his education. He interacted with others online to learn more and purchased his first grill. Through trial and error and many taste tests – which his two sons, wife, and dad gladly participated in – he learned what worked well together and how to make meals that tasted as good as those ribs he tried in Ohio.

Less than a year ago, Jordan launched his Ninjacue Instagram account so he could share his creations and interact more with others in the BBQ community. He decided on the name partially because of his Korean heritage – he loves incorporating Asian flavors into his grilling – and also because ninjas are known for being agile and active, which is a huge focus of his since going low-carb a few years ago. In a short time, Jordan’s page has grown significantly, and he’s made a lot of friends doing it.

“People send me recipes, others message me asking for tips,” he says. “I love helping others, and being a part of the amazing BBQ community. Everyone is willing to help. Everyone is so kind. It feels like a family.”

Jordan’s full-time job is in auto insurance, but he’s also a part-time photographer, doing family and wedding photography. This experience has helped him in his work as an influencer.

Bear Mountain BBQ NinjaCue

“Moving toward food photography has been a good challenge for me,” he says. “I think the images on my page are what sets me apart from others. I’m always working to improve because I take pride in it. Sadly, you can’t taste food on Instagram, you can only see it and it better look good.”

When it came to finding the right kind of pellets for smoking, Jordan had tried several brands but wasn’t happy with anything he tried. A Bear Mountain ambassador recommended trying our pellets, so he purchased a bag locally.

“Once I tried Bear Mountain, I was hooked,” he says. There’s virtually no dust, the pellets have a long burn, there’s a variety of options, and the flavor it gives on the food is amazing.”

Ninjacue’s one-year anniversary on Instagram is in June. Jordan is pleased with the growth so far and wants to continue sharing his love for BBQ with others. He doesn’t know if his grilling will ever turn into a full-time career, but he’s open to opportunities.

“I’m here for the ride and excited to see where my love for BBQ takes me,” he says.

To try out one of Jordan’s creations, check out this Pastrami Burnt Ends Recipe. To see more of his tasty creations, check out his Instagram page!