When you find a style of cooking that captures your imagination, there’s nothing more exciting than a store dedicated to the gear and gadgets you need to become an expert at it. For those who gravitate toward outdoor cooking, St. Louis Home Fires is the place to be.
The specialty shop offers a well-curated selection of charcoal and gas grills, free-standing smokers, charcoal ovens and more. Owner Frank Schmer researches each model the store carries – reading reviews, studying warranties, considering availability of replacement parts and giving preference to American-made products – before adding it to the store’s offerings. “I have to know the latest on grilling and barbecue if I want to keep up with our customers,” says Schmer. “It’s not uncommon to have a handful of folks here for hours sharing recipes and techniques, looking for something to bring their skills up a notch. Everyone on our staff cooks too. You have to [know how to cook] if you want to help customers find the best equipment for what they want to do.”
As a member of the St. Louis BBQ Society and organizer of the annual Wildwood BBQ Bash, Schmer has a passion for helping barbecue enthusiasts up their game. The store carries 20 kinds of smoking wood and over 100 rubs and sauces, including a number of locally made options, and offers monthly cooking demonstrations by local chefs who share tips and tricks for improving your barbecue prowess. “Barbecue is a lifestyle,” says Schmer. “It brings people together. I always say that foodies are the best kind of people and that barbecue people are the best of the foodies.”
No matter what kind of foodie you are, it’s undeniable that a trip to St. Louis Home Fires will bring a new perspective and enthusiasm to your outdoor cooking experience.
St. Louis Home Fires, 15053 Manchester Road, Ballwin, 636.256.6564, stlouishomefires.com