Is your New Year's resolution to become a healthier you? Check out out update to Travis' story on how he lost 178 lbs with his Pit Barrel® Classic. He has been living a ketogenic lifestyle using his Pit Barrel®, helping him stay happy and healthy, all while cooking delicious food.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Travis Majors and I am a 47 year old husband and father of 4 kids from ages 16 - 25 and my granddaughter turned 1 last month. I worked 26 years in Law Enforcement/Public Safety/Emergency Management and am currently a Safety Director for Crude Oil Transport Company and have worked in the oil industry for around 7 years. I have many passions and hobbies which keep me busy along with 4 very active kids. I have coached youth sports for almost 20 years, played drums for about 25 years and I am also a huge sports fan. Lastly, what brings me here is my love for creative cooking, BBQ and the PBC.
When did you become the owner of a Pit Barrel® Classic, or PBC, and why did you purchase it?
I purchased a PBC almost 3 years ago from a BBQ store in Oklahoma City. I purchased it because of the great price and I had heard about vertical drum cooking for a while but hadn’t seen or used one before. However, when I finally saw the PBC in the store, I was in. I checked it out at the store and saw the quality of the Pit Barrel® and how easy it was to cook, so I set my sites on getting one during a later visit. About 15 years ago, I received a really cheap department store offset smoker. The experience with that smoker was hard to use and extremely frustrating, so my BBQ journey was put off for many years. This changed the day I brought home my PBC. I gave BBQ another chance and I am so glad I did - the Pit Barrel® has gotten me hooked great BBQ.
You lost 178 lbs by following the keto diet. Can you tell us more about your journey?
I have come a long way in the last couple of years, so I would love to tell my story. I began this journey as the healthiest "fat guy" in the region. I had always done an annual physical and it always came back with a clean bill of health other than my weight. I had gained weight every year but had never had any issues with cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., until... the physical I had the day before I started this journey. My doctor told me that my A1C was elevated which meant that I would be on the edge of being pre-diabetic. At that doctor visit I weighed in at 468 lbs. Now, mind you - I didn’t know I weighed that much, but that was what I weighed and that number hit me as hard as the potential issue of being a pre-diabetic. My doctor was cool and didn’t freak out he just simply said “you have to lose weight”, which I answered him by saying “OK, I will”. I left the doctor's office determined to get this done without medication, programs, shakes, memberships, etc. I went straight to my office and googled, “how to lower my A1C, without medicine” and several articles on the “keto diet” popped up. Prior to that day I had never heard of the keto diet so I started researching and started that day (34 months ago). I now weigh 284 lbs with a target goal weight of 225 lbs. Most importantly, I have maintained my weight loss by sticking to my keto lifestyle.
How did the PBC assist in your weight loss?
The PBC was a huge factor in my weight loss journey. BBQ and Keto go hand-in-hand like best friends. I have always loved BBQ and have always been confident in the kitchen but using the PBC was a whole new world. I also discovered that BBQ restaurants are sometimes very expensive and use sauces and ingredients that are not keto friendly - and that was what I was really needing at the time. Keto is structured for high fat, moderate protein and little to no carbs. Sometimes I would order brisket and it was bathed in BBQ sauce which went against what I was trying to do and needed to reach my goal of weight loss. I set out to learn how to do it myself to save money and make sure that it was prepared in a keto style that would benefit me the most. As I began to learn myself, I started meal prepping and using all of these fatty proteins that I had BBQ’d over the weekend to provide what I needed throughout the week and BANG! I started really rolling and getting into a more sustainable groove.
"Literally go out and do it today! I’m not sure what today is for you but don’t wait. Don’t overthink it or research it to death, trust me, not very many people out there will start as heavy as I was, as addicted to food as I was, that had less experience in smoking/BBQ than I did at the time so I have traveled that road for you."
What are your favorite things to cook in your PBC?
That is such a hard question because I am finding new ways to use it all the time. I constantly find new things to cook and it leads to a new favorite every time! I heard a songwriter say that his favorite song was the last one he wrote and I find myself in the same boat. Then suddenly I think about a previous cook I created and say "oh man that is my favorite". I will say that as of right now I am loving my bacon weaved smoked meatloaf on the PBC. It is my favorite - at least right now. Even as I am typing this I am wavering because I haven’t tasted a better pork rib than what has come out of my PBC, or pork butt or brisket, so... I am not sure I can honestly answer that question right now. Oh, my chicken legs on the PBC are to die for too.
You are very creative with your cooking and very active on Instagram. How did this interest start?
I have always been creative in everything I do done because it challenges me and is what I need to be personally satisfied and content. I guess in all of my passions there is a creative element that I seek out. First off, I am people-pleaser and as you know some people just are naturally happy so I find that to be a challenge and has forced some of my creativity. In cooking though, I am always trying to find something special. Myself and others can always go back to that dish or piece of food that is just special and brings comfort. With the keto meal plan and lifestyle it limits you to certain items and foods as well, so that helps bring out creativity in my cooking. With any restriction I have ever been given I always tried to find a way to enjoy the unrestricted things within that restricted area. Let me give you an example. Without the ability to enjoy starches, carbs, legumes, fruits, etc. I had to find the “keto alternatives” that I could replace some of those items with to fill that hole I was going to have. I no longer had mashed potatoes, corn, pinto beans, fried potatoes, cream gravy, etc. to use in my meals… (oh lord, I have to stop talking about these, they sound so good). I found myself with zucchini, brussels sprouts, radishes, cauliflower, etc. Before following the Keto lifestyle I loved all for the aforementioned food and didn't like the latter. With creativity, trial and error, and a handy spiral notebook, those mushy, bitter and soggy brussels sprouts eventually turned into delicious smoky and crispy brussels sprouts which I finish off pan-frying with bacon and onions. The zucchini turned into spiralized noodles that I toss with pulled pork and grilled jalapeños. This creativity and ability to come up with new ideas helped me to sustain this meal plan for nearly 3 years and will propel me into the next year of this journey with all of the confidence in the world.
Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to start the keto diet using the PBC?
if you are thinking about it, go out and do it today! Don’t overthink it or research it to death, you will not regret making a change for the better. Not many people out there will start as heavy, as addicted to food, or had less experience in smoking/BBQ than I did at the time so I have traveled that road for you. I feel very strong about this because if I can do it - absolutely anyone can do it. I watched hundreds of videos, read tons of reviews and articles, and wasted a bunch of time. Then I opened the lid of a PBC at a retail store and said, “that is the one I want”. I live in Oklahoma - where we have extreme weather - and my PBC has been the most consistent cooker, even exposed to the elements, amongst my “big offset” smoker, pellet grill, charcoal grill and propane griddle. The PBC can handle it all!
Any last thoughts?
First, I would like to thank you guys at PBC for giving me an opportunity to share my story and passion with others. I can’t say enough about how grateful I am to be featured by you guys. As a customer of yours, I think it is so amazing that Pit Barrel® listens and highlights customers who use their products rather than forgetting about us after we buy a product. I also want to tell everyone out there that the PBC has been a huge part of my keto journey, but more importantly it has been a bigger part of my weight loss and healthier lifestyle than anything else. I say that because the PBC will work for any meal plan. It will absolutely kill the carnivore diet, which is obvious, but I really feel like it would be a great addition for even vegans that want that smoky charred texture on their vegetables, fruits or really any type of meal plan imaginable. When I started this journey, I was determined that whatever I chose, whether it was keto, paleo, whole 30, carnivore, etc. it had to be something I could sustain in my “ecosystem”. By that I mean it had to work in all the settings I would be in. It had to work in basketball gym concession stands, on the road traveling from one state to another, with fast food drive throughs and all the other things that is part of my everyday life or I wasn’t going to be able to accomplish what I needed to accomplish. Keto might not be the answer for everyone, but would say to research what they all offer and find one that works for you and go after it TODAY. I can say that the PBC will work for anything you decide to do because of how simple it is to operate, its portability, ability to function without electricity or anything other than what you can bring in your hand. I want to leave with this. No matter what you want to achieve, whether it is getting healthy, finding a new career, becoming a pitmaster, etc., I have learned to be successful in anything you have to have dedication, discipline and direction. I could have been the most dedicated and disciplined person in the world but if I didn’t have direction it was have been wasted energy. You can interchange any of those three and remove one of them and your chance of success will take a hit. Keep on keeping on and I will see all of you on IG or Facebook.
Thanks to Travis @iammakinitreal for sharing his story with us! We love how active you are on social media and how passionate you are about using the PBC to create a healthy lifestyle. Good luck on the rest of your journey - You know we will be following you from the sideline.
If you're interested in Travis's Keto recipes see the list below.