Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 23, 2012

Grilling is a lot like investing

Dave Lobeck
CNHI News Service

Sellersburg, Ind. —

Grilling and creating BBQ is a lot like investing.

As some of you might know my full time occupation is as a financial adviser. While I was preparing for a seminar on the basics of successful investing, and it dawned on me that successful investing and being a great outdoor chef have a lot of things in common.

Here is my list.

Buy Quality: This speaks for itself. When determining securities to add to your portfolio, quality is the most important characteristic. It is the same with grilling, cooking or creating world class barbecue. If you buy inferior meats and produce, the end result will reflect that.

Always stick with quality.

Have a Plan: As in building a successful investment portfolio, planning is important. Know what you are doing and how you are going to do it. Winging it may sound like fun, but unless you are experimenting and cooking for just yourself, always stick to a plan where you are reasonably sure of the outcome.

Diversify: In the realm of investing, you diversify to minimize risk and volatility. “Don't put all your eggs in one basket” as they say. As an outdoor chef, your choices and options are truly limitless. Don't get stuck just grilling steaks and burgers. Spread out and diversify. Learn how to slow cook pork, or
experiment with ways to cook vegetables and side dishes outdoors. Variety is the spice of life.

Seek Professional Advice: This is paramount in the world of investing, and just as important in the world of grilling and barbecue. First, get to know your local butcher. Allow him or her to educate you on different cuts of meat and how to prepare them. Second, start picking up books on barbecue and grilling. Every book you read will give you insight into the mind of someone who is obsessed with good outdoor eats.

Patience: Investing is a long term activity, requiring patience and discipline. Creating great barbecue requires the same characteristics. “Low and slow” is the only way to great pulled pork sandwiches, beef brisket or bone-in prime rib. Patience and discipline will result in a feast at the end of the day.

Limit Risk: In investing, there is the rule of “risk versus reward.” The more risk you are willing to take, the higher your potential gains could be. For the most part, limiting risk in cooking is a prudent approach. When preparing a meal for your friends or providing the smoked turkey for the holiday gathering, make sure you have successfully done it before. Take risks when you are cooking for just yourself.

Think Long Term: Short term cycles and blips in investing should not derail you from sticking to
your plan. When it comes to barbecue and grilling, make sure you include the younger generation, whether it be your kids, your grand-kids or the friends of your kids. Pass along your favorite tips and recipes so they are being enjoyed decades from now by people you care about.

Share: If you follow the prudent rules of investing, the potential is there to have a nice pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If you apply the same rules to outdoor cooking the end result will be a geat meal. In both cases, don't forgot to share.

Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at