Check out the interview:
1. Tell us about how you started Big Fat Daddy’s and why? Share your story.
I’d like to think it was a lucky accident. I had a love for culinary at an early age. Mom was a single mom and often times didn’t have a babysitter. She would drag me to work with her and instead of playing with my toys I was helping in the kitchen.
My Mom was later in food concessions with my stepfather, so I helped out and I learned the ropes. At fifteen I was already mentally notating what I would do differently. I didn’t want to be just another food vendor. I felt like when you go to a fair or festival it’s the same old foods and same old song and dance.
I started selling on my own while in high school but soon I stopped doing traditional fair food like those crappy frozen patty burgers, carnival pizza and souvlaki and started focusing on gourmet cuts of meat. I spent the early days throwing together spice and rubbing meats, steaks, briskets and rumps down with different spice and grilling it.
Now here’s the thing on a fair and festival circuit you have to grill fast and get food out fast. Low and slow is not always an option. I had to perfect a method for sealing the moisture and flavor in but grilling over high temperatures to serve in a hurry.
Of course I was the taste tester, so my first born Liz was calling me Big Fat Daddy—and I said that’s it, for good luck I’m renaming my business Big Fat Daddy’s.
2. Have any tips you don’t mind sharing when it comes to barbecuing?
I also get asked a lot if I brine, marinate and inject on top of dry rub. I should say depending on the item. For my pit beef, never do — it’s the rub I want you to taste. For brisket that I want to be juicy, I will pump full of injection for an extra boost, but I cut my dry rub down. Truth is once you start doing too much to your meat it’s too many flavors and your mouth gets confused. I really think less is more but the key is to keep it moist. My advice, keep it simple.
My biggest advice is don’t be scared to throw together ingredients for a rub you would never fathom trying as some of the oddities may indeed complement one another. Here’s a case in point, why do all rubs have to be dry?
3. Do you have any particular favorite barbeque recipes?
I have to tell you, try this rub on a hunk of meat, even if you bake a roast in the oven. You know there’s twenty million ways to grill once piece of meat based on what seasonings and spices you use. It’s truly an addicting hobby. So I would have to say the rub recipes or marinades are the best recipes out there. Each creates a different taste on your meat.
Fresh Pepper Rub for One Roast
- 2 tbs Dry Whole Mustard Seed
- Few Sprigs fresh Dill
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt
- Pieces from bell peppers from the garden (a 2” piece of orange, red, yellow and green).
Directions: Make a simple rub mix with those ingredients from your garden and pulverize the crap out of them in a juicer. Rub this concoction on your meat and leave in the fridge for 48 hours then cook or grill. Tell me, would you ever consider something so basic tasting so good?
4. What was it like being on the Food Network?
I was glad to have a recipe picked other than my beef. Believe it or not I hate being on TV and these guys made it fun and easy. Noah and the production crew were great. I never thought it would take a few hours for a few minutes worth of on air but hey, it does. I still keep in touch with them.
5. What are your future plans for 2015 and beyond?
I guess I’m going to continue riding the wave to see where it takes me. Big Fat Daddy’s has just been inducted into a museum for 2015 — Trail of Smoke and Fire at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. I’m also hosting a one year factory tour opening up through the local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau which is funny because I’m not a factory at all. I guess I’m a landmark now? I’m slowly working on pitmaster classes and a lot of companies are approaching me to help them with social media. It would be nice to slow down on the road a little. That may be hard to do, it’s sort of been my life for three decades. I guess only time will tell.