About Us

JT Family

Welcome to the Smokewagon!  A heartfelt Thanks for your interest in our services.  JT’s Smokewagon BBQ is a Competition BBQ Team and Full Service Catering Company owned and operated by the Thompson Family in Slater, Iowa.  Jonathan Thompson runs the operation as Pitmaster and Chef with management assistance from his wife and partner Leanne Thompson.  We have a hard working team behind us made up of our 3 boys:  Kian, Noah, and Grady Thompson who keep the business hopping!   We also have several other family members and friends that step in to help with competitions and large catering events throughout the year. 

Our business started, humbly and astonishingly, as a hobby - hosting backyard cookouts and has steadily progressed to the company it is today. After some light persuasion by family and friends, we decided to try our luck at some local competitions several years ago. After winning a few top 10 place finishes, Championships, and People's Choice Awards, we knew we had something good. Of course, the Chef prepares his food the way he likes it, so it was no surprise! During this time, we were receiving regular requests for our products by family, friends, and acquaintances which eventually lead to us starting the business. This has allowed us to offer a service that people needed in the area. We are here to provide Central Iowa with great food and a local choice.

We are a family business that helps other families plan and host fantastic events and serve great food with less stress! We specialize in award winning, authentic pit style BBQ, soul food, fresh homemade side dishes, and comforting desserts. So, if you are in need of a caterer or just a good connection. And would like to have great food without the headache and time sacrifice, contact us today! We are available through the website and by phone, email, or even Twitter and Facebook for your convenience.

As you look through our website, please let us know if you have any questions or would like to learn more about something that interests you. We want to call your attention to a few great features. To make getting in contact with us easy, we have provided a Contact Us link on the home page. Note that our full Menu is located under the Our Services tabs or in an easy downloadable format under the Our Menu tab. If you would like a quick quote, you can use our Get A Quote link. Once we have your information, we'll be in touch shortly with some preliminary prices. Of course, we are always able to customize your menu to fit your budget. Finally, we will occasionally be offering Ala Carte ready to heat BBQ by the pound, our own spices and rubs, and some cool JT's Smokewagon Competition gear under the Order Online tab. So check back often to get your shopping and gift lists completed. Thanks for visiting!

Fresh succulent BBQ meats! Our BBQ is just better… Give us a try or get a sample and see for yourself. Most of our business comes from word of mouth, so please Tell Your Friends!

Meet the pitmaster


Jonathan Thompson found his passion for cooking at an early age.  As a boy, he spent days standing on a stool helping his mother, Susan Thompson prepare her legendary meals and snacks for family and friends.  Everyone looked forward to those special creations that can only be described as love.  He learned the technical aspects of restaurant operations holding several positions in large and small kitchens through his early childhood, High School and College years.  As a Chef, he experienced the essential components of preparing a good menu, offering excellent service, and attention to every detail.

Whether preparing individual meals or running large banquets, making food for someone is an intensely personal gift. It's good for the soul. The satisfaction gained by making the customer happy through recipes and meals is something he has spent his life pursuing. He found himself nearly packing up and heading out to New York for a position in the Culinary Institute of America! While his heart was at home as a Chef, he found his desire for family and normal working hours was stronger.

BBQ and outdoor cooking became a passion for Jon early in life. He spent years researching proper techniques, methods, and recipes to make authentic slow smoked products. Eventually, BBQ became his outlet for expression. It's in this business, that Jon can now fully enjoy his skills as a Chef and Pitmaster. Something he truly loves!