Off the Clock with Team Topo: Backyard BBQ

In The Wild

Off the Clock with Team Topo: Backyard BBQ

Memorial Day is right around the corner and with restrictions being lifted and infection rates going down it’s about time to get out and have some fun. Topo has always been about getting outside and this Memorial Day has opportunities!

Like every Memorial Day, our family will mark the occasion in two ways: we’ll take time to remember those who served our country and are no longer with us, and we’ll celebrate the unofficial start of summer. And that means cookouts.

Now I'll put a massive disclaimer out that I'm no expert on smoking meats, but I'm definitely working hard and putting in the practice. If you’re looking for some fun activities this weekend, keep reading. By Dan McComb, Warehouse Manager

What to eat:

As I’ve been experimenting, I’ve found smoking meat is one of the tastiest and easiest ways to prepare a meal. I’m a huge fan of pulled pork and tri-tip, but I’ve taken a couple shots at ribs and prime rib as well. There are tons of recipes out there but here is one to get you started. (Pro tip: measure cayenne with your head and not your pride; a little goes a long way.)

Dry Rub:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup paprika (smoked)
  • 2 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp lemon pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp cayenne pepper

Apply liberally to pork shoulder, chicken thighs, or brisket and warm up the smoker.

Smoke to desired level of doneness, let it rest for about thirty minutes, then enjoy! Having a Texas preference when it comes to smoking, I’m not a huge sauce guy, but you do you.

Proper Hydration (with whiskey):

I'm one for proper hydration throughout the meal prep process, and considering it’s a three-day weekend some libations and liberties are expected. I’m a firm believer in drinking whatever you enjoy but to share an option, Stranahan’s Original never disappoints. I’ve heard the argument against whiskey being too strong to pair with smoked meats, but again this is a matter of hydration during meal prep, so drink whatever while you eat.

What to Do:

Now that your meat is smoking, and you’re properly hydrated, what’s next? You’ve got at least a couple of hours to kill, if not many more depending on your meat selection, so here are some ideas for you.

In my younger years (I’m a very old 34 by the way) I'd be down for some doubles beach volleyball or some sort of Ultimate Frisbee tournament, but now feeling like an old man, I'm leaning a little more towards cornhole and disc golf. Whatever you decide, find some friends, neighbors or family and make it happen. Too many of us have been inside for far too long and nothing says social distancing like throwing sandbags at each other. Also, a little sun and a lot of vitamin D goes a long way for mental health.


This is a touchy subject, maybe not politics level, but proper theme music does set the mood for everyone to relax and properly hydrate socially. Given the season and outdoorsy nature I'm personally going with some good old bluegrass. Upbeat, casual, and fun; perfect for entertaining friends and family. If you’re having a hard time deciding, check out our playlists on Spotify. (The Hiss Golden Messenger or Monster Rally ones would work well.)

Top Topo Products:

  1. Dirt Pants - These are literally the greatest single article of clothing ever created. So much utility and comfort combined into one everyday product. I might own 5 pairs.
  2. 3-Day Global Briefcase - I’m a sucker for utility, and from everyday carry to carry-on to bug-out bag this thing understands my needs.
  3. Insulated Shirt Jacket - It’s getting warmer now, but I can’t say enough on how this jacket got me through the winter. Warehouses are not warm.
  4. Quick Pack - I’m not sure if I have one of every color yet, but I'm getting close. Dog walking quick pack, fly-fishing Quick Pack, day hike Quick Pack, survival Quick Pack, you name the activity and I have a Quick Pack prepped and ready to go.
  5. Tech Case - Admittedly I'm a little nerdy about tech and organization and love my Tech Case full of chargers, adapters, and power banks. Confidently throwing this into a carry- on or overnight bag whenever I know I'll be away from home is always comforting.

Bear’s Favorites:

  1. Bandana Print - Gear/Natural/Blue - keeps him stylish and casual, tones down the intimidating Rottie-Shepherd factor!
  2. Klettersack - holds his water dish, leashes, and snackies on long hikes.

Dan's Picks

Dan McCombs Picks