Out of Office: TIer powers up high-voltage sauce for his barbecue

TIers do amazing things every day at work and when they are out of the office. In our ongoing series, ‘Out of Office,’ we showcase the unique and fascinating hobbies, talents and interests of TIers all over the world.

 VideoTIer Oren Roades swears he has barbecue sauce running through his veins.

The Texas native grew up barbecuing on his family’s rice farm in Edna, a small town halfway between Houston and Corpus Christi. His parents barbecued for any celebration or gathering, except Christmas and Thanksgiving.

“We had these huge barbecue pits and we had chicken, brisket and ribs,” Oren said. He also remembers hunting and barbecuing feral hogs on the farm to keep them from destroying the rice crop.

Sweet recipeOren, who works in our high-voltage power solutions group, has turned his analytical skills to barbecue. His goal: Perfect the art of barbecuing.

In April, Oren’s pork ribs ranked 5th out of 97 teams at the annual Germanfest Barbecue Cook-Off in Muenster, Texas.

“He takes his barbecuing very seriously,” said TIer and colleague Ramanan Natarajan. A vegetarian, he has never tasted Oren’s barbecue.

The same skills that make Oren a valuable employee also make him a good barbecue pit master.

“Oren is an extremely easy going, fun-to-talk-to guy,” Ramanan said. “He has a good rapport with pretty much everyone within the team. He’s also a pretty good manager. He has a good eye for spotting talent.”

For Oren, barbecuing is not as much about the meat (he shops at Costco or small Latino meat markets) or the wood (oak, pecan, mesquite and applewood) as it is the sauce.

His secret weapon is his mother’s recipe for barbecue sauce.

“I won’t change it,” Oren said. “It’s super simple, but it makes a difference. It has the sweetness, but a little bit of a bite and a little tingle, too.”

Salt recipeHe wouldn’t reveal all of the ingredients, but said the sauce contains some lemon juice, which he thinks creates that “tingle.”

Oren experiments with the rubs he uses on some meat, such as brisket rub, constantly tweaking the flavor. He’ll test his latest concoctions on his fellow church members in Aubrey, where he lives.

Oren has shared some of his dry rub and sauce recipes with fellow TIer Tim Legat, who barbecues at home. For some reason, it never tastes quite as good as Oren’s, he said.

“He’s more of a craftsman, a perfectionist,” Tim said. “Oren’s barbecue has a fantastic flavor. I really like his smoked chicken.”

Oren’s favorite barbecue is pork ribs and tablitas, or beef short ribs.

Tablitas are also his children’s favorite. Oren and his wife, Stacie have four children ages 15, 8, 5 and a newborn.

Oren has participated in barbecue competitions with his buddy Kirk Anderson for about five years. They go to the same church, are fellow Aggies and their daughters were in Girl Scouts together.

Oren and Kirk compete in about two to three contests each year with the main goal being to reach the Texas state championship, Oren said. So far, they’ve only done that once.

In 2012, their ribs won third place at Muenster’s Germanfest, which qualified them for the state cook-off. They ended up placing 20th out of 176 teams statewide.

Oren’s talents go beyond barbecue, his co-workers and friends say.

He makes metal and wood furniture, such as bed frames and wine racks, and welds large metal and stone sculptures with Dallas artist Eliseo Garcia. Oren learned those skills on the family farm, too.

Oren even built his own barbecue pit on a trailer with 15 feet of cooking space on one side and grills on the other side.

Next, he plans to perfect his brisket barbecue – something that has not won an award yet.

“We’ve got the chicken and the ribs down, but the brisket has always been a struggle,” Oren said. “We’re constantly trying new things.”