Award-winning sauce maker all too familiar with Lee’s Summit

tporter@lsjournal.comApril 12, 2013 

Shannon ‘FireBug’ Kimball knows Lee’s Summit well.

A one-time resident who currently offers grilling/smoking and locally crafted beer-pairing classes at A Thyme for Everything in downtown Lee’s Summit, Kimball and his wife spent years here before a move just across the state line to Leawood, Kan.

“I miss Lee’s Summit for sure,” Kimball said in a recent interview from the Alexander Majors House, a museum in south Kansas City. “Love the local community; the downtown community. I’m still pretty deeply entrenched in the culinary scene over there. The beer-pairing classes at A Thyme for Everything have gone really well. We’ve sold out the last three. I was the first one to bring in backyard grilling and barbeque classes there. There’s a lot of interest in grilling, so I took that interest and introduced it and it took off well.”

Geography aside, Kimball’s presence in Lee’s Summit has added depth to the culinary classes offered by A Thyme for Everything owner Jet Pabst.

“It’s been going really good,” Pabst said. “He’s a great instructor. He knows a lot about smoking and grilling and all that goes with it. Being in the Kansas City area everybody wants to know, so he’s very good at what he does and it shows through in his classes.”

Kimball has carved quite a reputation for himself, first as a master griller, then as a BBQ sauce maker and now he has delved into the herb cocktail-making arena. Kimball infuses whiskey-based drinks with herbs plucked from the family’s garden to give the cocktails a healthy, hearty flavor.

“I cook with herbs quite a bit and I was looking to infuse drinks with food and everything,” Kimball said the concoction’s development.

“Everything he does, he puts an herb in,” added Kimball’s wife Lori, who lived in Lee’s Summit for 17 years prior to the couple’s move. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s cooking or he’s making some kind of drink or trying some sort of mixed concoction, he’ll mix things up. We have an herb garden in the back of the house. He goes to the backyard and picks what he needs and walks right through whatever he’s doing.

“People forget these plants were put here as a natural way to keep you healthy.”

Kimball will showcase April 26 a cooking and entertaining with herbs demonstration during an Herb Cocktail Party fundraiser at the Alexander Majors House Barn, 8201 State Line Road. Kimball, an award-winning sauce creator, chef, culinary instructor and founding member of KC Food Artisans, will present two cooking demonstrations and prepare a tasting menu with signature cocktails.

“It should be interesting,” Kimball quipped. “I’ll be making cocktails and grilling at the same time, so that’ll be really fun.”

The Herb Cocktail Party is a fundraiser for the John Wornall House/Alexander Majors House museums and kicks off the museums’ 25th annual herb sale. The event is a mere three to four blocks from the couples’ new home in the old Leawood area of Kansas.

“It’s kind of like being in the kitchen; you play around. It’s like trial and error until you find what works” Kimball said of creating herb-infused cocktails.

“It brings in some nice earthy flavors and color, too. You eat and drink with your eyes. Whenever you can add some nice color that’s visually pleasing, that’s all the more better.”

As for the moniker bestowed on Kimball, he said it came from his upbringing on a cattle ranch near Redding, Kan.

“I used to love to burn pastures and everything so that was my nickname,” Kimball said before pointing at his wife. “My marketing department here kind of incorporated it into my sauce name and it really stuck. We’ve been getting a lot of good reviews on the name, actually.”

Tickets to Herb Cocktail Party are $30 per person and can be purchased on-line at or by calling 816-444-1858. The event is sponsored in part by DST Systems, Inc.

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