About Us

It all starts somewhere...

Taino Smokehouse History
Growing up my father was always trying to cut costs around the house, so we always used a cast iron stove in our living room during winter. He would go get wood every weekend and split it up with our neighbor. So from a young age watching a fire was part of our regular routine. Keeping with the cost cutting theme our big family vacation was an annual camping trip to the Burlingame campgrounds in Rhode Island. Morning and night my sister and I would poke at the fire while hypnotized by its dancing flames.
Gazing into a fire seems to satisfy a primal need that has existed since the dawn of man. My sister and I surely had this primal instinct because the two of us most certainly were fire bugs.
Taino Smokehouse History
When my sister and I came of age we were finally ready for some real camping, camping without running water, stores, or bathrooms. So our parents took us to the Saco River, and that was where we were introduced to food prepared on an open flame. Traversing the Saco River by canoe, means canoing for the day and camping on one of the many sandy beaches at night. There are no resources on this river, just you, the canoe, any supplies aboard, and the beautiful night skies untainted by any light pollution. Cooking food, in particular meat, requires a fire, so it is necessary to gather firewood and dig out a fire pit in the sand. Combining two of my favorite things... fire and food I was in love with this method instantly.

Taino Smokehouse History
As you can imagine my sister and I grew up and moved out. After graduating Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Computer Science I had a hard time finding a job so I decided to attend graduate school. A cross country college tour was in order. So in 2003 my 1987 Nissan Maxima and I took to the open road. A solo cross country trip around the country applying to grad schools opened my eyes to all of America's greatest wonders.
Taino Smokehouse History
We don't have a lot of BBQ in the northeast, pizza is our thing! Clam chowder, lobster, spaghetti and meatballs, and I love all of it. While traveling cross county I was inspired by all of the BBQ restaurants, and most of the towns had a few. Connecticut probably had 10 BBQ restaurants in the entire state back in 2003. Experiencing all of this BBQ really brought me back to those sandy nights on the Saco River and roasting meat over the coals.

Taino Smokehouse History
I had my first authentic smoked rack of ribs in St. Louis, Bison Rib Eye steak in Wyoming, fig milkshake in Arizona and authentic Mexican scrambled eggs in Austin, Texas. If you have ever enjoyed the scenery of the Dakotas, or walked through the stagnant air of the red woods, rolled in the white sands of New Mexico, then you have probably felt a sense of freedom and connection to this beautiful earth. The feeling I got really can't be put into words with out sounding like hippy but it felt great. So experiencing this BBQ and being on such a natural high from the land and journey, there is no doubt that I subconciously associated this food with this feeling. Quite simply, BBQ feels good, our country is beautiful, and boy do I love to watch a fire burn. After returning from this trip within a week or so the "feeling" had gone. I was back in the Northeast and back to the short answers, fast driving, a town lacking vistas, and oh yeah... no BBQ! At the time I felt that we were really missing out on some great things back home. If you have never driven across the United States from coast to coast, I highly recommend you do, at least once in your life.

A couple of months after my trip I was offered a job as a software developer in a data center. In the nine years that followed I met my wife fell in love with her as well as Thai and Indian food, bought a house, and became comfortable. I unfortunately gave up my more adventurous ways and all activity based hobbies. Being too tired from work, and not in shape, I endured many years of inactivity in general. In 2007 my father had a life changing stroke. His and my life would be changed forever... I bought a house closer to him, greatly increasing my distance to work. As time passed his health and ability to care for himself degraded. So my wife and I decided to take him on a cross country trip while his health would allow. We traveled to many states out west and visited many of the National Parks. On this trip my love for bbq was renewed, I was so comfortable and settled
Taino Smokehouse History
I had forgotten the thrill and sense of adventure a cross country trip brings. Between the trip and my father's health, I was really questioning my life decisions and my passion for living. Faced with the reality that life is very short, I had decided it was time for a change.

Taino Smokehouse First Catering Robin Williams
Currently there are 574 Native American Tribes recognized by the American government. Before Columbus there were many more than this. These tribes for the most part are forgotten in our day to day lives. Local schools and textbooks never mention the people that lived for thousands of years right where we live today. For example the Wangunk in Middletown. Never mentioned in Middletown's school books...

The same can be said for Barbecue. Across the country many of the barbecue hotspots take credit for inventing barbecue, mastering barbecue, owning barbecue. All the while the word "barbecue" itself comes from the Taino peoples. Yet no one across America has even heard of or recognizes this fact. Hence, our name, Taino Smokehouse, to educate, inform, spark a conversation, on where, who, how, why. Please click here to read the full story of the Taino people.

September 2012 we had our first catering gig, the guest of honor Robin Williams. This was a charity event for the Christopher Reeves Foundation, their mission statement: "The Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy." This event definitely set the tone for our entire business, and after three years we are riding that first day high. We got to give our services for a good cause, and we got to meet a legendary human being.

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