The Catlin Barbecue Society

Main Photo Left to Right: Dan Harmon-Gross, Grant Stone, Andrew Foster, Erik Granum; Not Pictured: Peter Marchant, Nathan Krishnamurthy, Elliot Harmon-Gross


The Catlin Barbecue Society, although only lasting two years (2003-2004), even had its own signature sauce – raspberry chipotle.

Founding member, Erik Granum ’03, recalls the days of grilling in the Fir Grove…

How did the Catlin Barbecue Society come into being?

The Catlin Gabel Barbecue Society came into existence at the beginning of the 2002-2003 school year. At the end of the previous year, I lost a hard-fought race for student body president. Having been involved in student government throughout high school, as a Senior, I found myself with extra time on my hands and, admittedly, with a bit of an ax to grind. I cooked up the concept for a laid-back club that would counterbalance the intensity of other extracurriculars like mock trial, model UN, and the like. We started with small, informal grilling sessions in the Fir Grove. After a while, we became more serious about the craft, increased membership, and enlisted coaching from culinary-professional parents.

Memorable member moments?

One guy who deserves a shout out is Grant Stone, a fellow '03 grad. In the early days of the club, Grant and I drove to a Shari's diner in Newberg to pitch the CGBS idea to board members of the Oregon Pork Producer's Association. Together, we convinced a bemused group of pig farmers to provide us with a year of free ribs, butts, and shoulders in exchange for hanging their banner at our events. After a year of truck loads of free meat, our sponsorship was, predictably, revoked.

What type of activities did the group do?

Our first events were small grilling sessions in the Fir Grove. We often got together after school at the end of the week or hosted gatherings after sport competitions. As the club grew, our undertakings became larger and more elaborate. We held a big fundraiser at Spring Fest and took over as the official burger flippers for various school-hosted events. In May of 2003, we held an enormous end-of-school party behind the Dant House. In preparation, the die-hard members of the club smoked 96 racks of ribs, which we brought to school and finished off on two massive barrel grills (along with other food options). In those days, before the art building, the Dant House backed up to a big grassy slope. With 200 feet of plastic sheeting, some dish soap, and a hose, we were able to turn that hill into a huge slip-n-slide. And to top it all off, we set up a stage where garage bands were able to cycle through and keep everyone entertained. The sun was shining, everything smelled like smoke, someone brought a marimba. It was magical.

Tell us about the meat!

We started out small. Hot dogs and hamburgers were the fare for our first meetings. From there we quickly evolved to steaks. And it didn't take long for us to earn our stripes as a true barbecue society by smoking meats (mostly pork – thanks OPPA!). In the end, I would say ribs became our foremost area of expertise.

Thanks for sharing, Erik. You’ve made us hungry!