About Us


Gene Ellis was passionate about barbecue and knew there had to be an easier way to smoke his favorite foods in his own backyard. Judy, Gene’s wife, shared his love of cooking and helped him develop the line of sauces and rubs we still use today!

Gene tried to create easy smoked foods on a charcoal grill with little success. He moved on to a stone fireplace then to welded metal boxes (the initial design concept for what we call the SmartSmokers). “As the metal box technology improved, so did our meals,” said Donna Ellis-Johnson, one of Gene and Judy’s three children.

Gene, ever the entrepreneur, knew there was a need in the restaurant world for equipment that could slow smoke foods without the hassle and long hours of a traditional pit. Word of Gene’s invention spread like wildfire and soon, other backyard cooks were requesting smaller versions of his commercial units.

Little did Gene know that more than 50 years later, his company would still be in the hands of his children, with the help of current CEO, Stuart Powell. From humble beginnings in Gene and Judy’s backyard to more than 50 years and still smokin, Cookshack’s family and character based business practices are why we are the number one choice of pit masters, chefs, caterers and backyard cooks across the globe.  


Ed “Fast Eddy” Maurin lives in the heartland of BBQ, Kansas City, MO. He is a retired KCMO fire fighter, and his passion has been barbecue since 1986 when he cooked at his first American Royal.

Fast Eddy became interested in cooking with wood pellets in 1990. Looking for a better way to use pellets, he designed his own smoker and took it to market in 1998.“I have traveled many places in the world cooking barbecue and am always searching for new and better ways to improve on the best barbecue in the world, ours! I enjoy the interaction with customers and hearing the success stories of their wins at cook offs and the long lines that extend out the doors of the restaurants.”

Fast Eddy has been married for more than 30 years and has one son and two gorgeous grand daughters. In late 2003, Cookshack and Fast Eddy's BBQ joined forces and created the Fast Eddy’s™ by Cookshack line of pellet fired smokers.

After 15 years of establishing a reputation as a winner on the circuit, he now devotes his time to helping teams improve their performance and promoting the Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack product line.

Aside from hundreds of walks to the Winner’s Circle, Fast Eddy has been on the well-know “Today Show” in Rockefeller Center, appeared on the United States Barbecue Championships, Food Network, Chris Lilly’s Barbecue All-Star Showdown, Championship Barbecue Series on versus and was featured on the DIY network.

These days, you'll find Eddy doing one of his favorite things, teaching others his method of quality cooking.

“I am more interested in the results of students from our cooking classes than my own now. Due to the popularity of the cookers, I do not cook nearly as much as I used to, and I like to use my time helping customers and students from classes. The 2006 American Royal open winner was an alumnus from our 1st cooking class, as was Scottie Johnson of CancerSucksChicago.com, who won the 2006, Jack. Randy Pauly from Hot Knots Cooking team came to our last class and just won Grand Champion at the 2007 World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. That is what I like to see.” -Fast Eddy