“Fast Eddy” Maurin earned his nickname for his love of off-road racing. But he also has a slow side, as in his passion for low and slow cooking.
Maurin’s knowledge of fire and smoke — gleaned from his past lives as a Kansas City firefighter and competitive barbecuer — along with professional welding experience, led him to design Fast Eddy’s patented wood pellet grills and smokers, manufactured by Cookshack.
Kansas City-based Maurin designs several types: commercial (found at the car-themed A Little BBQ Joint in Independence, Hayward’s and the former KC Masterpiece), competitive (for barbecue teams around the world) and consumer (you can buy his popular PG500 for around $1,500 at Cabela’s; Rabbi Mendel Segal, founder of KC’s Kosher Barbecue Festival, uses one).
Maurin designed his first pellet cooker in 1998 after tiring of inconsistent cooking results and all-nighters to tend the fire. In 2003, he struck a deal with Cookshack, a Ponca City, Okla.-based manufacturing company. Fast Eddy cookers are popular on the competitive barbecue circuit, and consumer sales are particularly strong in Europe, where burning wood pellets is considered carbon neutral.
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A regulatory push in the U.S. and a recent EPA-funded student study looking at ways to design grills and smokers that restrict “particulate emissions” has left Maurin and others in his industry trying to decipher the smoke rings. “I worry our Midwestern way of life might be threatened,” he says.
Maurin says wood pellets control the moisture content for a more consistent, cleaner burning heat source while imparting a more intense, smoky flavor to foods than charcoal or gas.
“Pellet grills have been around for 30 years, but people still don’t know about them,” he says.