Mike McGowan has spent his whole life in Dixie, Louisiana.   He cut his teeth in the metal industry welding for his father in the family shop.   He worked there until 1987 when Backwoods Smoker became his full time job.

Mike has lived in the world of BBQ his whole life; he created the first Backwoods model, a patio, after years of listening to people talk about BBQ and the various different cookers that they were using.   He paid close attention to the things that they liked and also the things that they DIDN’T like about their cookers, and set out to make a unit that would take all of the experience that he had picked up on and perfect it.

The result was the first patio model.   He made one for one of his friends who had nothing but great things to say about it.   Eventually more and more people started wanting one, and even came up and started asking Mike if he could do special orders.   Mike would listen to a person’s needs, then create a unit that would do everything that the person would need.   Backwoods Smoker quickly became a household name in Louisiana, and Mike was now splitting his time between his Dad’s shop and creating Backwoods units.

If you were to ask Mike what it was that turned the tide for Backwoods from a part time job into a full time lifelong occupation, he tells a story about a show that a local news station did on him and his cookers.

“It was probably back in 1986 or so, the local television channel had a guy who would do 30 minute shows on local business people, and how they gave back to their communities.   The guy had seen one of my cookers and had eaten some BBQ off of it, and was really impressed by the job that it did.   He called me up and asked if he could do a show on my business.   I said sure, and spent an afternoon with him.   Well, a truck driver from Missouri was passing through the area, and caught the show when it aired.   Along with being a truck driver he also owned a BBQ restaurant in Missouri, and was very interested in getting a new cooker for his business.   He contacted me, and asked me for a cooker which today would be the equivalent of the Professional.   I made it for him, and he brought it back to his business and got great results.   Well, the people he got his sauce from saw it, liked it, and wanted one for themselves, so I made them one too.   They also competed pretty seriously, and took it with them to Memphis in May, well, they ended up winning grand champion on that cooker, and really that is what got the ball rolling, after that Memphis in May competition, everyone wanted one of my cookers.”

Mike switched over to full time in 1987, and since then has been working on nothing but making the different Backwoods Cookers.   Over the years he has expanded his model offerings, and is constantly looking to improve the line to make the Backwoods Cookers simply the best water smokers on the market.

The company has grown from a single man operation to a shop of 10 workers, some full time, some part time. If you have ever called Backwoods, chances are good you have spoken with his assistant, Kathy. She helps Mike keep everything working smoothly, and loves to talk with people who are interested in getting a Backwoods Smoker.

Also, Chase Lummus has been a part of Backwoods since he was a kid helping out and working in the summer time, when it was just Mike and him making one smoker at a time. Now, he keeps the shop lined out and working efficiently. When he has time he tries to do a little competing on the weekends.

The great thing about Backwoods is the willingness that Mike shows to talk with his customers one on one in phone conversations. He will talk with you as long as you need, answer any of your question, and make recommendations based on your needs and wants. He is very concerned with giving people the best value for their money.

Give Mike or one of the gang a call if you need help or just want to talk about Backwoods Smokers.
We take great pride in our products

We are open to feedback and can answer any questions you may have about our products.

What They Say

Got my Chubby last week and took it for a test drive this week with two racks of ribs.   Good God it was fantastic.   It puts the patio to shame.   I cooked the ribs for 5 1/2 hours, spraying with apple juice, soy sauce and a little bourbon, then the last 15 minutes I used your BBQ Sauce.   I thought I died and went to heaven.   They were soooo good.   I am so glad I lost my patio and bought a Chubby.   You can bet your life it is gonna get used many many times.   Thanks for everything, you guys are the absolute best.

Franks Kuhn

This is my 2nd BWS.   I currently have a Party.   Looking forward to the Competitor.   Ultimately, wanting to go to the Professional.   Thanks for putting out a great cooker!

Tom Adams (Edwardsville, IL)

I just wanted to thank y’all for making a great cooker.   We’ve been competing for 2 years on the Fatboy and love it; we used it on all four categories this year, we’ve been starting to have success the past three comps, [and we] have had a call in every category besides 2 … finishing overall 4th, 10th, and 6th.   I just wanted to say thanks.   Hopefully once we finish this year and start on next, we can keep the same pace and hopefully get GC!


Just wanted to let you know how much I like my new Party SS Smoker.   I’ve only used it 3 times so far but each time it’s been a winner.   Great job constructing the smoker.   It is well made & I’m are that it will last a long, long, time.   It seems when the smoke comes out of the chimney my friends show up like flies!   Thats a good thing!   Thanks!

Mark S. Ockerman

Just a quick note to say we used the Backwoods party you gave to me in the British Championships this last weekend and Came in Grand Champions.    Thank you so much, it was a dream to use    […]   three of the team have already competed at the World Championships in America before in 2007, and this year they get to go again as the Country winners for Great Britain.

Jeremy R. Fowler (Team Captain, ‘Crispy Critters’)

Thanks for your hospitality and professionalism in taking time to speak to me about the different smokers you manufacture.   I received my G2 Party in good shape and see why you create them the way you do […] The G2 did an excellent job of holding temperature.   I loaded it up with charcoal to see how it held overnight, and the next morning it was sitting on 250 degrees (where I left it the night before).   I smoked several chickens and then a brisket, adding charcoal & wood chunks and monitoring the water pan as needed, never letting the G2 get cold.

Ross Tilbury, Road House BBQ (Boise, ID)

I would like to say thanks for the awesome cookers.   When I first heard of your cookers I thought yea right, that cooker couldn’t be good.   But man I was wrong … the people who have them have a cooker that an excellent man from Dixie, LA. built!   […]   I just wanted you to know I appreciate your hospitality and helping me out to get some of your cookers.   I will use them to the best of my ability to win, but if nothing else, to tell people about them and the Man and Crew who made them.   And once again.   Thanks.

Brent H. T.

Smoker arrived in good condition.   I fired it twice this weekend and everything looks good.   Thanks for the quick turnaround.   Results photo attached – look at that smoke ring!

Randy Lydacain

Just wanted to say thanks for making such a quality product… great design, great workmanship… a great smoker!!   I absolutely love my new Heavy Duty Party & how consistent it is.   One load of wood lasts a long time, all while holding a nice even temperature.   The meat that comes out at the end is beyond compare.   All I need now is a stand with wheels to roll it around, and I’ll be set!   Thanks again.    This smoker rules!

Craig DeMoss

I received my smoker a few weeks ago and have been using it almost everyday.   Talk about perfect, great design and was all that I expected.   You guys have a great product and very well made, I refer you guys to all my customers.   Nice Job !!!!   Your friends at Voulas Offshore Cafe in Seattle.

Sikey Vlahos

Proud owner of a Fat Boy!   My biggest problem is: why did I wait so long????   Also, wonderful customer service.   I had a few questions when I first received my unit, called and spoke directly to Mike.   He was able to offer solutions and recommendations for me to resolve.   He added, if those do not work, please give me a call back.   Why can’t the rest of the world be like BWS company???

Art Morales

I wanted to get back to you to let you know the delivery went fine.   Your folks built the crate so well I think I could have tossed it off a 3 story building and it still would have been OK.   Even the truck driver was very impressed with the crate build, saying he rarely sees companies taking the time BWS took to crate and ship my smoker […] I couldn’t be happier with it, and I’ve been singing your praises to everyone I talk to.   Thanks again for making such a great smoker and your wonderful customer service!

Bob Stachnik

It’s about 20 degrees and snowing lightly so what a nice day to do a brisket.    This will give you an idea of northern BBQ.    The only thing that doesn’t mind the cold is my BWS Party Cooker.    Take note of the temperature*.  Take care!

Larry, Backyard BBQ (Saginaw, MI)

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