My name is Travis Magee.. and we are M Grills.
2. So who is M Grills?
M Grills is a family owned business based out of our 3rd generation machine shop, Magee Machine & Mfg in Mesquite, Texas. Magee Machine is known for machining large precision parts while M Grills is all about designing and fabricating the best multifunctional grills and smokers on the market. The “M” in M Grills stands for Magee, our family name.
3. Why did you get into making grills?
I grew up around my fathers machine shop and worked summers there for as long as I can remember, but my heart was never into being a machinist. I’ve always been an artist and eventually received my degree in Graphic Design. I’ve worked in the fields of Graphic Design, Multimedia, Photography, and Videography and I have always had an appreciation for machining and metal fabrication.
I was working as a Videographer for a large well known Fashion/Life Style brand when my father and I started talking about making this Texas shaped BBQ grill he made about 30 years ago. We just started talking about it one day and I thought that grill would be a huge hit if we made it available to the public. After a few weeks of research to make sure nobody was making that Texas shaped grill, we started prototyping and filed a patent on the design. I was so deeply committed that I left my videography job to pursue grill making out of my father’s machine shop. So that Texas shaped grill is what started it all. There was already a ton of junk out there, so we knew we were going to build our grills first class or not at all. I love the Texas shaped grill. That is a grill you just look at it and say “damn, that is badass!” It’s definitely a conversation piece and cooks amazingly well. I look at that grill as a functional work of art.
I utilize my skills in creating all of our own marketing materials, product photography, graphics and videos while still getting my hands dirty with fabricating grills. I am slowly building up a great metal fabricating team around me. I have one welder who has been with Magee Machine for going on 15 years now. He and my father have helped tremendously on getting the grills started. I recently added another full time welder to the team. Things are growing pretty quickly so I expect that number to grow soon. We use our machinist in the shop to machine various components on the grills so we do pretty much do everything in house.
4. So how did you come up with the M1?
Being born and raised in Texas, you grow up eating a lot of backyard bbq. My family would get together and grill out every Sunday for the Cowboys games. Grilling to me is all about family time and great food.
Just like everyone else, I've owned many grills and smokers in my time. There were some things I liked about my grills and some I didn't. I never found a perfect grill that did everything well. I got tired of buying grills that would fall apart within a couple of years. Over the past decade, I’ve seen more and more grills popping up at big box retailers and most of them are made overseas. The materials are getting thinner and cheaper. There are air gaps all around the lid and firebox doors. The cooking grates are porcelain coated or nickel plated and simply do not hold up. You pick up the lids and the entire grill feels like its about to fall apart in your hands.
I love to grill and smoke equally and I’ve always had a smoker and separate bbq grill on my patio. When it comes to smoking, if you want the best flavor the only way to go is stick burning which is smoking with splits of wood. Learning to manage a fire is very easy if you have the right tool.
Most stick burners are made from large pipe or large tanks that have been converted into offset smokers. There are some bbq pit builders who make some absolutely killer smokers out there, but for the most part they do not make great charcoal grills and can be overkill for smaller patios. So I started designing my ideal backyard cooker. One grill that is truly multifunctional and does not take up a lot of room. No after thoughts, everything has a purpose with simple/clean design. A stick burning style smoker with a well designed fully adjustable charcoal grate while having a traditional yet modern appearance that would look great on my patio. That was the birth of the M1. After designing, prototyping, testing, and revisions; it wasn’t long before I settled on our now most popular grill, The M1. When I showed the first prototypes to a few friends, the name popped in my head once people kept saying “this thing is built like a tank!”. So the whole tank theme stuck which is what this grill is named after, The M1 Abrams Tank. I now have 1 cooker on my personal patio that will grill and smoke and cook anything I want to throw at it. It can get very hot, it can hold steady low smoking temperatures with ease. Most of all, it’s built to last for many years. I absolutely love the M1.
5. What is the future of M Grills?
We want to bring innovation to the backyard bbq industry while keeping a focus on American Made craftsmanship. The M1 is such as great cooker that I am working on 3 sizes with the M1 being the smallest. I have no desire to make a grill that's already been done. If it's been done, then we want to make it better.
Pellet grills and Ceramic style cookers have taken the industry by storm. You can do a lot with them, but both lack certain aspects that do not fit my style of cooking. I am intrigued by the set and forget aspect of pellet grills, but the flavor tastes not much different than my oven. In my opinion, pellet smokers just do not give off enough smoke to penetrate the meat for a great true smoke bbq flavor.
Ceramic style cookers do not have the correct airflow and capacity to handle wood smoking. They can hold heat very well for long hours which makes them appealing to a lot of people, but not being able to add wood throughout a long smoke does not fit my style of smoking. For grilling, I prefer a fully an adjustable grate to instantly control heat like a Santa Maria style grill. This allows me to sear and instantly drop the coal bed for grilling. I love having full control at my fingertips during my cooks.
You simply can not beat true wood smoking. If I don’t want to hassle with managing a fire or the time involved, then I would just go to a great bbq restaurant and be done with it. If I want to impress my family and friends with some really awesome bbq, then its all worth it to me. I want a single backyard cooker that does it all and can potentially give me the same flavor that will rival any well known bbq restaurant while looking great on my patio.
6. What makes M Grills unique from other grill manufacturers?
I look at M Grills like a handcrafted firearm or a nice craft beer. We are not mass produced and slapped together. That is not in our DNA and never will be. Every piece of material on our grills is of high quality. You will not find our grills at every bbq store around every corner. M Grills is something special. We want our customers to know they have the best handcrafted multifunctional grills on the market. It's about making a tool that will allow our customers to make the best BBQ they can possibly make while looking great on their patio. Design, function, innovation, and American Made Craftsmanship.
That is M Grills.