Best friends Leonard Aberman and Jeff Cohen decided three years ago that their routine of barbecuing food and talking about baseball may be something other people would enjoy. Soon, their podcast Baseball and BBQ was born.
Over the years, the pair has expanded from their normal conversations to implementing interviews from authors who write about BBQ. Aberman explains that they will contact people through Twitter or Facebook to try and make contacts, while also attending different events (prior to COVID-19) that would help expand their community of listeners.
“Publishers enjoy it because we have a niche audience,” Aberman said. “So their books are getting to who they want to have them presented to and we are getting specific listeners who they’re looking for.”
Before the pandemic, Aberman and Cohen went to a barbecue expo in Atlantic City and another company in Pennsylvania called Barbecue Guru. “It’s great for Jeff and myself because we’re talking to people that we never imagined possible,” Aberman added.
“I think Leonard and I have a good mix where he does a lot of the PR work I guess, you know, getting the podcast out and writing letters, thanking people,” Cohen said. “I do all the typical editing and uploading so we have a good working relationship that way.”
Aberman and Cohen both appreciate the perks of the podcast due to promotions they will do with certain companies, but the pair have not made money from their content. Overall, they both are thrilled that the podcast has lasted three years.
Baseball and BBQ is shared on multiple platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play and other platforms like their website. In some cases, Aberman and Cohen can see where groups of listeners are – their traffic goes across the United States and to Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
In late July, Baseball and BBQ interviewed Ed Randolph, author of Smoked: One Man’s Journey to Find Incredible Recipes and Showstopping BBQ with Your Traeger Grill: Standout Recipes for Your Wood Pellet Cooker from an Award-Winning Pitmaster – check out the show episodes.buzzsprout.com.
Randolph, a Hudson Valley resident who resides in Newburgh, is also the founder, owner and pitmaster of Handsome Devil LLC who won the Food Network’s 2017 New York Wine & Food Festival for the best barbecue. Lucky enough for Newburgh residents, construction for Handsome Devil BBQ’s new restaurant is underway, but because of COVID-19, plans have taken longer than expected.
“Ed is an incredible pitmaster and to have someone of his caliber open a restaurant in the area will be a big deal,” Aberman said. “His books are excellent as well.” It’s clear that Aberman is not alone in his sentiment, as on Aug. 18, Randolph’s book Showstopping BBQ with Your Traeger Grill landed at #10 for Amazon’s best barbecue books. As of Aug. 24, he remains in the top 15 at #12.
Randolph never studied culinary arts, but rather grew up in Minisink Valley, and learned how to cook for people from his mother and grandmother.
As of last month, Handsome Devil BBQ’s construction for their outdoor smokehouse and kitchen is in the works. Follow their Facebook page to watch out for their grand opening and to learn more about the winner of Food Network’s “Chopped.”
Now due to COVID-19, other than taking their microphone to barbecue and baseball events, Aberman and Cohen were able to reach an audience that was unattainable before. Their podcasts are recorded through Zoom, allowing them to interview people all over the world while giving them better sound quality than before.
“For baseball books specifically, authors have formed what’s called the pandemic book club,” Aberman said. “Usually with books, you have a launch party and book signings, but because of the pandemic all of those have been squashed.”
Baseball and Barbecue is released every other Saturday and can be found on their website baseballandbbq.weebly.com.
“I always say if for some reason you don’t like this show, listen to the next one because it’s not going to be the same – it’s going to be different,” Aberman said. “Keep listening, because hopefully most times you’re really going to enjoy it.”