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Jack’s Meat Shack BBQ School in Little Cornard fires up grills to cater to exploding popularity of barbecue cooking





A barbecue pitmaster, who rose to prominence on social media during the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to fire up the grills with the opening of a new cooking school.

Jack’s Meat Shack BBQ School will officially launch at Slough Hall, in Little Cornard, next month, delivering an array of courses to help people to master the art of barbecue cuisine.

The venture in Slough Lane will serve as an extension of Jack’s Meat Shack, which has been run for the last seven years by former police officer Jack Rowbottom.

Jack with his wife, Hayley, and daughters Ivy, four, and Remi, two. Picture: Mark Westley
Jack with his wife, Hayley, and daughters Ivy, four, and Remi, two. Picture: Mark Westley

A barbecue enthusiast from a young age, Jack began using the platform after it was created by his wife as a birthday present in 2017 and he began offering catering, private classes and trade show demonstrations alongside his police career.

He said it was during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 that the popularity of barbecuing soared – giving the impetus to move on from policing and go full-time with Jack’s Meat Shack.

“I’ve had an interest in barbecuing from a young age,” Jack said. “When I was 23, I joined the police and did that for the best part of 15 years.

Slough Hall, Slough Lane, Little Cornard, Sudbury. Business story of Jack’s Meat Shack BBQ School. Jack with his family Hayley, Ivy 4 and Remi 2. Picture by Mark Westley
Slough Hall, Slough Lane, Little Cornard, Sudbury. Business story of Jack’s Meat Shack BBQ School. Jack with his family Hayley, Ivy 4 and Remi 2. Picture by Mark Westley

“With Jack’s Meat Shack, I started off as a bit of an Instagram act and it grew really nicely. I worked with more well-known names and, for years, I managed both police work and cooking.

“During the pandemic, barbecuing sort of exploded, because everyone had time and wanted to be outdoors.

“The increase in popularity has been massive. During the pandemic, you couldn’t buy a barbecue for love nor money, because everyone wanted one.

Slough Hall, Slough Lane, Little Cornard, Sudbury. Business story of Jack’s Meat Shack BBQ School. Jack with his family Hayley, Ivy 4 and Remi 2. Picture by Mark Westley
Slough Hall, Slough Lane, Little Cornard, Sudbury. Business story of Jack’s Meat Shack BBQ School. Jack with his family Hayley, Ivy 4 and Remi 2. Picture by Mark Westley

“It went from a hobby to being something I could earn money from on a consistent basis. I’ve got a following on Instagram of about 47,000 people and that’s where Jack’s Meat Shack was born.

“I made the decision to step down from the police and decided to give it a good year to make the business work.

“I’ve always done courses, so it made sense to open a school. It was serendipitous that, one day, this opportunity at Slough Hall came up.”

Launching on June 10, Jack’s Meat Shack BBQ School has partnerships with several leading barbecue and outdoor cooking brands, including Gozney, Grillstream, Kamado Joe, Outback and Traeger.

In addition to generation grilling and smoking courses, the school will offer a dedicated class for teaching people how to safely use a gas barbecue.

To find out more, go to jacksmeatshack.com.

“Nobody in the UK is doing a dedicated gas barbecue school,” added Jack.

“We’ve got a range of classes for every kind of skillset. Sometimes, it’s nice even for people who are experienced with a barbecue to come to a class, just to pick up new techniques.

“The plan with the school is to have a rolling syllabus of classes that change seasonally and we will have various themes for the holidays, such as Hallowe’en and Christmas.”