Hi there and welcome to Salt Pepper Skillet! I am Justin, the creator, food photographer, writer and publisher behind this food blog world of culinary passion, where cooking, photography and the joy of sharing meals converge.

Here you’ll find inspiration for cooking and eating better food through simple techniques, smoking, sous vide cooking and grilling.

Whether it’s a simple smoked chicken or multi-day sous vide and smoked brisket, I strive to break down each recipe into approachable steps for optimal success and fun in the kitchen (inside and out).

A Little Background About Me

I embarked on the journey of Salt Pepper Skillet fueled by my passion for the culinary arts and questions for the recipes for food I would make for friends. My usual answer was simple: “Just throw this with that and add some salt and pepper,” encapsulating my belief in the beauty of uncomplicated cooking.

During my high school and college years, I found myself working in the front of the house in Michelin 5-star restaurants. There, I immersed myself in the expertise of trained chefs who continue to influence my cooking style to this day. I would go home and recreate the menu items as best I could for practice and fun.

Upon graduating from college at San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration Marketing, I embarked on a professional journey that allowed me to express my culinary prowess. I joined a small startup company while simultaneously indulging my passion as a part-time Private Chef in Rancho Santa Fe, California. This unique opportunity enabled me to experiment freely with intriguing ingredients, crafting culinary experiences not only for the family I served but also for myself and my friends. Additionally, I occasionally ventured into the world of private event catering, which was so much fun and so much work.

My path led me to an advertising and branding agency, where I was an Interactive Project Manager. Managing large-scale projects for prominent consumer brands. This gave me invaluable knowledge and experience that sent me out to create my own web design agency, specializing in strategizing, designing, and developing online experiences for small businesses.

Amidst my culinary and entrepreneurial pursuits, I re-discovered another passion that I had acquired in high school, which was photography. The ability to capture moments with your own interpretation captivated me.

As I delved into the realm of food blogging, I realized that food photography could be a profession in itself. Salt Pepper Skillet because a photography portfolio in itself, allowing me to transition the hobby to a profession and I become a commercial food photographer for food brands, magazines and restaurants.

What You’ll Find on Salt Pepper Skillet

  • Simple recipes that taste better than the sum of their parts.
  • Tips, tricks and techniques to elevate your cooking game.
  • Approachable recipes to bring great flavors to the feast.
  • A focus on outdoor BBQ, smoker and sous vide recipes.

As Seen In

As seen on

Frequently Asked Questions

How did you come up with the name Salt Pepper Skillet?

The blog’s name came from the idea of only using the basic essentials to develop great flavors. You really don’t need a huge list of ingredients to make seriously delicious food. People often ask “What did you season this with?” The answer is almost always “just a little salt & pepper.” Your ingredient + salt + pepper + a hot skillet can do wonders. That’s where the name came from.

I’m new to outdoor cooking, where should I start?

Smoking a pork tenderloin is one of the quickest, easiest and most delicious ways to utilize your smoker without the long time commitment. When you have mastered that, give a smoked brisket a try.

What camera do you use?

I shoot photos with a Sony A7 III DSLR camera body. My primary lens is a Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, but I also use a Canon 100mm f/2.8 L macro lens for close-ups and a Canon 50mm f/1.2 L. My primary video camera is a Sony ZV-1. Feel free to reach out with any camera questions.

What type of lighting do you use?

Ninety percent of the lighting in my food photos is taken with artificial lighting. I utilize the Godox wireless system with two Godox AD-200 Strobes and various light modifiers including a 24×48″ softbox.

What smoker or grill should I get?

People ask me all the time what smoker or grill should they get. The answer totally depends on their individual situation, so I will ask multiple follow-ups to try to dig deeper before giving a recommendation. Learn more about the different types of smokers and which might be best for you.

Some Fun Facts About Me

  • I love the outdoors (especially the mountains) where I like to mountain bike, camp, rock climb, hike and cook around a campfire.
  • I have a wonderful wife (Stacy) and two young kiddos who keep us very busy.
  • The first thing I learned to cook was fried eggplant, and then fried calamari (a very popular dish in Monterey where I am from.) I still love making fried eggplant to this day.
  • I am a professional food photographer.
  • I live in San Diego and grew up on the Monterey Peninsula.

My Favorite Recipes

These are my all-time favorite recipes. Mostly quick and easy go-to’s that I can make without even thinking about it, and they are delicious.

Work With Me

  • Collaborate on a recipe article
  • Recipe development
  • Food photography

Let’s Stay Connected

Feel free to send me an email if you have any comments or questions.

Thanks again for visiting!