Bill Jamison

Did you know?

Bon Appétit magazine has said of the Jamisons:“Look up barbecue in the dictionary and you’re sure to find a picture of the Jamisons. They are the king and queen of grilling and smoking.”

Photo by: Daniel Barsotti

Bill Jamison and his wife Cheryl have been working and cooking together for the past 30 years and are considered among the country’s foremost authorities on barbecue, grilling, and smoke cooking.


Bill is a native Texan who grew up in the Texas Hill Country, where he learned to love all things to do with barbecue, Texas-style, and spicy chiles. To this day, this is just about his favorite kind of food. Before he and Cheryl decided to devote their lives full time to writing cookbooks, many of which are James Beard and IACP award winners, he was a professor of American history at Southwest Texas State University, a lecturer for the National Humanities Series, and a management consultant in London for British Airways and Honeywell.


Bill and Cheryl are the authors of more than a dozen books, including The Border Cookbook, Smoke & Spice, Born to Grill, The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining, American Home Cooking, Chicken on the Grill, and Texas Home Cooking. Their third book, Smoke & Spice, won a James Beard award in 1995, after which time they decided to devote themselves full time to writing. They have since won three more Beard awards and been nominated for others.


The couple appears regularly on television, radio, and podcasts, in leading food and lifestyle magazines, and as guest teachers in cooking schools across the country. They also serve as guest chefs and hosts at weeklong culinary tours and classes hosted by La Combe en Périgord in France.


During the 1980s, the Jamisons wrote and regularly updated four travel guides called Best Places to Stay. One was about Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the other three covered the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Mexico. When Rancho de Chimayó, a well known New Mexican restaurant, asked them to put together a cookbook commemorating their 25th anniversary, the Jamison’s were hooked on cookbooks that included a lot of information as well as recipes. They discovered how much they enjoyed research, recipe development and testing and so began supplementing their travel writing with food writing.


Bill and Cheryl still love to travel the globe and discover all worlds of food.  They have written about street food of Singapore, Thailand, and Brazil, dined with  a top French chef still unknown in America, served their own sumptuous shrimp and grits for breakfast, and barbecued a whole hog at Memphis in May, one of the nation’s largest and best known barbecue contests.


Today, Bill and Cheryl live outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the same adobe converted barn they have inhabited for the past 30 years. Their website is


See Bill's Recipes

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