For Jason Wilson, a Texas-raised U.S. Army veteran, barbecuing is more than just a passion - it's a form of personal therapy. After returning home from deployment and transitioning back into civilian life, Jason craved normalcy and found it over the grill. Ten years and a whole lot of healing later, his father-in-law encouraged him to start a blog to capture and share his cooks with others. After all, there had to be others that could benefit from this unique type of therapy. Teaming up with his wife, Jaclyn, Jason launched the Meat Therapy Instagram to share his love for barbecue, bourbon, and beer.
Meat Therapy, as a company, has now spread to other social media platforms and transformed into interactive cooking classes hosted at the couple’s historic J.S. Berry House in Waxahachie, TX. Jaclyn’s passion for design and the hosting experience coupled with Jason’s cooking techniques turned a dream of providing meat therapy sessions into a reality. These sessions offer a hands-on experience with the prep, process, and presentation of various proteins as well as Jason’s signature smoked TX Whiskey old fashioned or a spread of local craft beers to be enjoyed near the commercial quality backyard kitchen. Although Jason still humbly refers to himself as an “Average BBQ’r”, the success of Meat Therapy and the sentiments of his attendees seem to suggest that he is much more of a pit master, executing his unique concept perfectly and helping others along the way.
“Jason has a passion for his family, his country, his church, and his BBQ. I love that he is spreading the knowledge that he’s obtained over the years, and I’m proud of what he’s done with Meat Therapy,” says Jeff Owens, who recently attended a Father’s Day Meat Therapy Session, highlighting the ins-and-outs of smoking brisket.
What sets Jason's classes apart is his hands-on engagement and focus on the experience of cooking, rather than just serving up his guests the final product. To Jason, eating, drinking, and making new friends while sharing his passion is an incredible opportunity, and he doesn’t take it for granted. What brings Jason the most joy is hearing stories or seeing pictures of cooks that he played a role in through the teachings of his Therapy Sessions. That joy was what got Jason through the roughest challenges thrown at him by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Respiratory Therapist and the Manager of Cardiopulmonary and Respiratory Therapy at his local hospital, he was pushed to work 18-hour days, 6 days a week. It was the energy and excitement of his Therapy Session guests that kept his cooking therapeutic and rewarding during these unprecedented times.
As Jason expands on the idea of community created over the grills in his backyard, he makes connections to the feelings of what makes Texas a great place. “Throughout my life, being a Texan has meant that I was never alone,” he goes on as he talks about different phases of his life. “Whether it was time I spent living in Colorado or my stint in the Army, there was always someone with that commonality that made me feel closer to home.” He also appreciates the Texas values that his Texas Standard gear portrays. Not only are the Guayabera Libres and the Western Field Shirts he wears over the grill perfect for keeping him cool, but they also represent his Texas Pride. The moisture-wicking material and mesh-lined venting on the back of these shirts lay down the perfect foundation under his grilling aprons.
One of the main messages that Jason strives to communicate with his social media followers and everyone who attends Therapy Sessions is to follow your passion. The taste of a new experience is always refreshing, and you'll never know until you give it a go. “Don’t be afraid to suck at something new” says Jason “that’s exactly what got me to where I am today.”.
The Texas Standard team encourages you to check out the awesome work that Jaclyn and Jason are doing with Meat Therapy. You can follow @Meat.Therapy on Instagram and book Therapy Sessions on their website meattherapybbq.com. Looking for a quick glimpse into the kind of food that Jason cooks up? Here you go:
“Life is too busy to put together recipes with 37 ingredients. Whether you are just beginning your outdoor cooking journey or consider yourself an award winning pitmaster, my advice would be to keep it simple. An easy recipe that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser is Smoked Salsa. I mean, are you even Texan if you don't bleed salsa?!”
¼ cup red onion
4 cloves garlic
Salt or season to taste (Meat Therapy preference: 1 Tbsp Meat Church Holy Voodoo)
1 cup cilantro chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Smoke tomatoes, jalapenos, onion and garlic at 250 degrees with hickory or lighter smoking wood/pellets for 1.5 hours. Add all the smoked veggies and cilantro to a blender with the juice of one lime. Pulsate to the consistency you are looking for, grab a chip and dive in!