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About

Gene Ellis was passionate about barbecue and knew there had to be an easier way to smoke his favorite foods in his own backyard. Judy, Gene’s wife, shared his love of cooking and helped him develop the line of sauces and rubs we still use today!

Gene tried to create easy smoked foods on a charcoal grill with little success. He moved on to a stone fireplace then to welded metal boxes (the initial design concept for what we call the SmartSmokers). “As the metal box technology improved, so did our meals,” said Donna Ellis-Johnson, one of Gene and Judy’s three children.

Gene, ever the entrepreneur, knew there was a need in the restaurant world for equipment that could slow smoke foods without the hassle and long hours of a traditional pit. Word of Gene’s invention spread like wildfire and soon, other backyard cooks were requesting smaller versions of his commercial units.

Little did Gene know that more than 50 years later, his company would still be in the hands of his children, with the help of current CEO, Stuart Powell. From humble beginnings in Gene and Judy’s backyard to more than 50 years and still smokin, Cookshack’s family and character based business practices are why we are the number one choice of pit masters, chefs, caterers and backyard cooks across the globe.