MADISON (WKOW) -- The first time you experience a slab of ribs at Smoky Jon's barbeque, it doesn't take long to realize why the walls are covered in awards.
"There's a tremendous amount of meat on them." Says Jon Olson, aka Smoky Jon, "Good ribs aren't cheap and cheap ribs aren't good. But these are cadillac ribs."
Smoky Jon should know.
He's been barbequing since he was ten when his dad asked him to watch some chicken on the grill.
"I cooked it real well." he says, "16 pieces of chick and I think I ate about 8 of them. But it wasn't quite as good as dads, but good enough to inspire me and it went from there."
That inspiration led to more than 70 pro barbeque awards including a string of national championships and, of course, a successful restaurant.
He attributes it to a lifelong love of pork, smoke and grill.
"You can have it up here," says Jon, "but if you don't have it in your heart you're not going to be successful at this."
For those who are curious to learn, Smoky Jon says the first lesson is patience.
"Slower the heat, tender the meat." is Jon's motto, "Barbeque is something that defy's today's pace of fast fast fast."
Generally, if you want ribs that taste even close to these, it takes 4-5 hours of smoking over indirect heat.
A lot of people when they get a nice rack of ribs like this will baste it with sauce throughout the cooking process. But with a full bodied sauce like this, what that does is it breaks it down, that's why at smoky johns, they cook the sauce first and ladel it on.
Smoky Jon's tried and true methods are profiled in a series of bestselling books on barbeque.
And he loves showing the rest of the world that Wisconsin is more than just brats, beer and cheese.
"Well, we pride ourselves on being the barbeque kings," he says, "the Wisconsin barbecue kings!"
And when you're Positively Wisconsin, it's good to be king.