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Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Josh Henney, 37, recently taught a session on grilling at the Peabody Public Library in Columbia City.

Griller shares passion with class at library

– Josh Henney of Columbia City enjoys every aspect of cooking. His mom, Deb Lowrance, knows this and that is why she suggested he teach a class on outdoor grilling at the Peabody Public Library in Columbia City where she works.

The 37-year-old led the class, which had 35 participants. Because the food didn’t last long and he received positive feedback from the program, Henney felt it was a success and is planning to do another class.

“I had a lot of questions about general techniques on the grill. The biggest comment was how I kept the pork chops so juicy,” he says.

Henney works as a warehouse manager at Onward Manufacturing, a maker of gas grills, in Huntington. He also sings with the band 80D, which plays anything from Taylor Swift to Stevie Wonder.

Asked if he prefers grilling or cooking, Henney says grilling.

“That’s why it’s nice to work for the manufacturer. We make the Huntington Patriot (gas grill) model which was voted best in Consumer Reports. I’ve got a big grill in the backyard. It’s got a burner built in the side shelf,” he says.

Henney had another reason he wanted to do the demonstration.

“It allows people to see that, as you can tell, I’m not the stereotype. I’m raising kids, even though I have tattoos and piercings. I’m not a scary guy,” he explains.

Rather than eating out, Henney likes to make meals at home for his three children, Elexia, 18, Kevin, 17, and Trinity, 11. This past weekend, he decided to make deep fried pickles for the family. He was astounded that they didn’t burn themselves.

“They were eating them as soon as they came out the fryer. I had to make them wait for them to cool down,” he states.

Q. What’s your favorite cookbook or website?

A. It’s an old stand-by, The Better Homes and Gardens. A lot of recipes … I just make those up. Not every recipe turns out to be a winner. You just don’t let it set you back. Learn from your mistakes and do it better next time. Website? The Food Network website ( Alton Brown is my favorite (cook) on there. He’ll have something on there that I’m not sure about but I’ll try it. Very rarely has he had a recipe on there that I didn’t like.

Q. What vegetable do you eat most often?

A. We eat a lot of salads in general. We eat a lot of fresh vegetables. I get green beans at the farmers market and I will have to buy two bags because the kids will eat one before we get home. We eat a lot of guacamole. I taught (the kids) how to make it. That’s something I’m proud of – all my kids can cook. If there’s a pudding cup, bag of chips or fresh salsa and guacamole, they’ll choose the salsa and guacamole over the pudding cups or chips. My youngest daughter, Trinity, loves the tri-color peppers.

Q. If you were stuck on an island, what’s one food you would have to have?

A. Oh, it would definitely have to be one of my burgers. I don’t overcook them. I actually have friends that show up with 10 pounds of hamburger and say, “You’re grilling hamburgers.”

Q. What advice would you give to beginner cooks?

A. Don’t be scared to try. Some people defeat themselves out the gate. Don’t be afraid to make a dish that you taste and you go, “Oh, that’s bad,” because you can always try again and learn from your mistakes. Keep trying.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

1 pound bacon

1 bundle asparagus

Salt, to taste

Pepper to taste

Wash asparagus and soak in a bowl of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Preheat grill to 350 degrees. While grill is preheating, lay asparagus out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Wrap a single slice of bacon around each spear of asparagus. After grill has reached proper temperature, place asparagus on the grill. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until bacon is fully cooked and asparagus is tender. Beware of flare ups. The grease is likely to catch fire so this is a perfect recipe to practice indirect cooking. On propane models, only light one side of the grill, using it to produce the heat, and cook on the unlit side. As the bacon is finishing, you can move it to the flame side of the grill to crisp up the bacon. For charcoal models, after coals are ready for cooking, move coals to one side of the grill, making a flame side for searing and a non-flame side to cook internally. Makes 4 servings.

No Bake Baked Beans

2 (15 1/2 -ounce) cans pork and beans

1 small onion, chopped or 2 tablespoons dried, chopped onions

2 teaspoons minced garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon horseradish

1 (4 ounces) can mushroom pieces

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients, heat on stovetop or in microwave. This is also great to cook over a fire or on a grill sideburner. Makes 6 servings.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-0088; fax 461-8648 or email