Woman finds calling as pitmaster, works to inspire and fill bellies at Sam Jones BBQ

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Tuesday, December 12, 2023
Pitmaster finds her calling, works to inspire more women
Lindsay Bortle is a pitmaster at Sam Jones BBQ in downtown Raleigh who is breaking barriers with some NC food.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina is known for its barbecue. It's a source of pride for people who call the Tar Heel state home and we take it very seriously. That's why Lindsay Bortle takes such pride in her job as she breaks barriers in the delicious world.

"I was one of the females growing up that knew I would never be in a skirt at a desk, putting on makeup," Lindsay said.

And that's why she says she felt right at home in Sam Jones BBQ smokehouse.

Whether it's preparing a huge hog or maintaining the fire, this is her calling.

"I just love being part of the reason people come here. They come here for all of the food obviously but they want the BBQ, they want the ribs and I'm glad that I'm serving it to them," Lindsay said.

Lindsay is a pitmaster at Sam Jones BBQ in downtown Raleigh. And in the world of BBQ, there aren't many females who hold that title.

"I want it to be inspiring. I want the women who don't know what they can do but know they don't want to have on the heels and be in the cubicle, I want them to know we can do this. It's okay. Come apply for the job. Not just pitmaster, any male-dominated job," Lindsay said.

Right before the pandemic, Lindsay started at Sam Jones working in food prep. After watching people work in the smokehouse, she wanted her chance.

"I just started being pretty mesmerized by what was going on outside and I knew that I could do it and I asked if I could go out there," Lindsay said.

And the rest is history. For the past year, she's worked as a pitmaster. And she knows she's found her calling.

"I want to be here for a while. I want this to be where I landed. I just...I don't know, I just love it," Lindsay said.