In 1994 I discovered the Internet and I thought I had discovered the greatest
information vehicle that had ever been invented. The first web page
I wrote turned out to be one of the first web pages on the Internet designed to sell term life insurance.
Everyone I knew at the time thought I had completely lost my mind and was
wasting my time with this Internet stuff. I kept telling people that the
internet was going to be bigger then television and the more I talked about it
the more people were sure I was crazy.
At that time I was an insurance agent and so that is why I wrote my first
term life insurance web page. Some kids at a college had invented a web
browser called Mosaic and they had just made a new browser called Netscape.
A couple of other kids at another college had this listing of their favorite web
pages in a database that you could search on. It was named Yahoo and the
first time I used Yahoo I did a search on Insurance and found one web page in
the search that was for the Hartford insurance company. I immediately was
hit with the idea of selling life insurance using the Internet. So I
started to work learning how to make a web page. This turned out to be a
tough task as there
were no books to be found on how to make a web page. So I just studied the
web pages that were out there and wrote the first one using Notepad.
One day while I was working on this first web page I was driving to an
insurance sales appointment and listening to the radio. I was listening to
an interview with Carolyn Wells who was with the Kansas City Barbecue Society and
then the another great idea popped into my head. I had the same feeling
Isaac Newton must have had when he discovered gravity. I said to myself
screaming out loud "make a web page about Kansas City Barbecue and sell Kansas
City BBQ sauce on it." I was sure at that time I was going to get rich off of
this web page, but that never happened. Damn I was excited and I still am today thinking about that
moment. In the radio interview Carolyn Wells mentioned that KCBS would give a
free copy of their publication called the "BullSheet" to anyone that wanted it.
So as soon as I could get to a telephone I called her and told her I was going
to make a web page about barbecue in Kansas City and I am sure she had no idea
what I was talking about. I asked her if I could advertise her offer
of a free copy of the BullSheet on it and she said OK. I also told her
that because of this web page on the Internet she might have to give away a lot
of newspapers and said that was OK. A year or so later they withdrew that
offer because they were giving away too many copies of the BullSheet. So I
went to work on the insurance and barbecue web pages at the same time. Now
people were really looking at me strange when I talked about these web pages I
was working on.
Back then it was very expensive to get an Internet connection and to get the
space to make a web page. Everyone was charging as much as they could for
space to store your web page. The new barbecue web page was costing me
$160 per month in 1995. But I charged straight ahead and got the web page
up and running and I named it the Kansas City Bar B Que Connection. A few
people found the web page and sent emails to me. You can't believe how
exciting this was for me. People had actually found my web page and
were sending emails of praise to me.
One of the options that the web server offered was a message board that I
could add to the web page. I thought it would be nice idea to put a forum
on the web page and a couple of people thought it was a great idea and so
The BBQ Forum was born. The software was bad at that time and the Perl system on the server didn't work well and it broke all of the time. Whenever the forum broke
down we always lost some
data and had to start the forum over again. However it was wonderful
because all of us in different locations could share idea and information on the
Since I was born and raised in Kansas City barbecue has been around me all
my life. When I started The BBQ Forum I was shocked to find out the
everyone in the country did not know what barbecue was. Some people in
parts of this country, even today, have no idea what a brisket is. When The BBQ Forum started people who had lived in Kansas City and then moved to other parts of
the country felt like they were in BBQ Exile. In fact one of the very
first threads on the BBQ Forum went like this:
in barbeque exile geographically
Wed, 15 Nov 1995 11:37:37 -0700
Since leaving the midwest (Lincoln Nebraska), I have been in search of
adequate barbeque in the Northeast. I have found some surpassingly good barbeque
in Syracuse, New York at the Dinosaur Barbeque, and in North Lawrence, New York
at the Alamo Grill. North Lawrence is near the Canadian border and the Akwasasne
good place, which also features occasional Blues artists such as Sonny Rhodes.
None these places approaches Kansas City Barbeque, however. I've had Haywoods,
Bryants, Gates, and Roselands in K.C. I've eaten BBQ in Lexington, N.C., and at
Aleck's BBQ Heaven in Atlanta. These approach K.C., but do not surpass for my
taste buds. Would love to find out about some real BBQ in Northeastern Ohio or
This in a way describes the feeling that brought all of us together in the
very beginning. People who knew what real barbecue were scattered around
the country for what ever reasons. They all yearned for good barbecue.
Some people around the country knew how to cook barbecue and they were eager to
share their knowledge of the fine art of barbecue cooking. Then through
the magic of this new media called the Internet and The BBQ Forum we were all
able to communicate. It was magic to all of us. I replied to Tom's Message
with the following.
Re: in barbeque exile geographically
Thu, 16 Nov 1995 12:29:50 -0700
I get a lot of email from people all over the country who feel the same way
you do. This web page started out to be just about Kansas City BBQ and obviously
is growing past that. There is some very good BBQ in other parts of the country.
However people who have tasted KC BBQ and then had to leave do indeed feel
exiled to another world. Here are some portions of email sent to us.
From: ED "Glad to see that KC BBQ finally got on the Web. It was signed
Ed a KCBS member in BBQ-starved Syracuse, NY"
From: Craig "Your home page is a welcome spot for someone like me. I
have been exiled to the Pacific Northwest for over seven years and miss
K. C. BBQ. My family still uses bottles of Gates Sauce as forms of barter."
From: Greg "For a former KC Resident, this is a great way to keep in touch
with the great BBQ of KC. I sure miss it!" Huntsville, Alabama
From: Seth "I live for KC barbeque (genetic inheritance from my father I
think)" Cedar Rapids, Iowa
From: Bryan "Used to live in Shawnee at the corner of 75th and Quivira, and
on a good day, could get a whiff of Zarda's from down the road. There
is NO good BarBQ out this way. New Jersey