The King Of BBQ: Q&A With Dave Caswell
Name: Dave Caswell
City: Kamloops, BC
Current Occupation: Broil King BBQ Ambassador
Favourite Hobbies: Well since I’m not a professional… Cooking is my hobby!
Favourite Cookbook: If I could only name one it would for sure be: Franklin BBQ – Aaron Franklin (required reading for bbq enthusiasts ) however I would be remiss to not also mention: Grilling with House of Q – Brian Misko (Canadian BBQ Legend), The Asian BBQ Book – Alex Skaria, and my latest cookbook I’m super excited by is Ramen Otaku – Sarah Gavigan
Favourite Food To Eat: Ramen, Curry, Burgers, and BBQ of course …
Favourite Kitchen Gadget: Well, as a BBQ guy without doubt my favourite kitchen gadget, if you can call it that, would be my smoker. I smoke using a BroilKing Pellet smoker. It is a new grill for BroilKing and like all of their products it is very well thought out and built super well. Pellet smokers are very convenient in their operation as they act similar to an oven in terms of setting them to temperature and not needing the constant monitoring of traditional smokers and BBQs. The versatility of the Broil King Pellet smoker is market leading with with its ability to not just smoke low and slow but also use high heat searing temperatures. It also comes equipped with a rotisserie function which is a great way to cook in general but truly amazing in a smoker.
My other favorite kitchen gadget would be my (kitchen aid) food processor… Is there a greater time saver in the kitchen?
Actually, another is my Instapot.. I love making ramen and it makes bone broth a snap
My cooking journey started by attending local ribfest event and being inspired to learn how to cook traditional BBQ at home… I started off on a gas grill using wood chips to create smoke. However soon after that I got a low quality “offset smoker” which has a smoking chamber and and offset firebox where the charcoal and wood goes. I loved cooking on the offset and I think anyone serious about BBQ should learn to cook on a wood fire. However, the time involved in the constant monitoring of the fire for 10-12 hours at a time..didn’t make me very popular in the house hold…Soon after this I transitioned to a pellet smoker. I spent a few years focusing on learning traditional american BBQ. The next big twist unlocked a more global BBQ perspective, inspiration and pursuit. After watching the first season of Mind of Chef with David Chang, my wife brought me to a local Ramen shop. It is a pretty traditional shop,…you can see the chef constructing the bowls, they make their own noodles there as well… and I had a lightbulb moment there tasting flavours that David Chang (momofuku – fame) did such an amazing job describing in that series. I was really interested in the challenge of ramen. The time investment in making the broth and the layering of flavours was very comparable to BBQ. From there its been a full time pursuit cooking pursuit to learn new styles and flavours. My cooking journey is fully documented on my Instagram channel (I’ve never deleted anything… lol). Instagram has also been a major source of inspiration for me with the supportive community and all of the amazing food and cooking you can be exposed to!
Q&A With Dave Caswell
1. Do you have a lucky charm in your kitchen?
Does Beer count?
2. Your favourite spice?
In BBQ we use a lot of different spice blends for various proteins. On this front i lean towards a salty – spice profile over sweetness, just because it’s more versatile. If I could only have one spice that’s not salt or pepper, I would likely keep my cumin. Again from a versatility it has great flavor when grilled and is a gateway to southwest flavors and curries..
3. What’s the last thing you burned?
My last failure was a brisket. Every once and a while you get a piece of meat that really “questions if you know what you are doing”..But also once and while you get a lean brisket that just doesn’t have enough fat in it to tolerate a long BBQ cook…nice flavor but way off on tenderness……
4. What get’s you angry in the kitchen?
Not being organized….and mostly that has to do with the whole camera eats first aspect of creating content for Instagram. A lot goes into food presentation on the photography side..like all cooking you are trying to bring everything together at the same time. However on the photography side you also have a narrow window that the food looks good. Sometimes things just don’t work out like you would hope but if it is as a result of not being organized, I can get frustrated. I also like to put this in the context that my family is waiting at the table to eat…Most of the time I’m not working with the luxury of replating or re-cooking something.
5. Latest flavour combination you discovered?
Well the very latest technique flavor I tried first time was a confit pork. I made that for ramen bowl. Inspired by Ramen Boss Lady – Sarah Gavigan of Ramen Otaku fame. The real truth… SPAM… I’ve started to make some really interesting plates with smoked SPAM… for sure the spam is foi gras of the grocery story. Super inspired to make some street food inspired BBQ with SPAM.
6. What’s the most expensive purchase in your kitchen?
I am super fortunate that my Instagram account has grown to support my cooking hobby. One of the awesome things about working with Broil King is that they have a full suit of top quality accessories. So I’m well looked after there… Other companies that support me include Tuo Cutlery and Inkbird thermometers. The next piece of equipment that I don’t have that I would like to add would be a sous vide!
7. Do you listen to music in the kitchen? What’s your favourite song?
Yaaaaas… I listen to a lot of reggae and hip hop when I’m cooking… But things are getting serious if I’m grooving to Prince.
8. Favourite comfort food?
Japanese curried – ground pork on rice…
9. Favourite smell in the kitchen?
Favourite smell is when that smoke starts rolling out of the smoker!
10. If you could change anything in the food industry what would it be?
Not necessarily changing anything but continuing to support or provide more support to local food serving local product.
11. What do you admire in other chefs/social media influencers?
Certainly the creativity and inspiration… its easy to fall into the trap that its all been done before .. and then you see someone do something truly unique!!
12. Who is your greatest inspiration?
I couldn’t name a single inspiration…..
13. What dish are you most proud of?
As a hobby cook that is kind of a tricky question… I think my goal is to take traditional BBQ – Grilling flavors and on one hand try to elevate them while giving them a street food twist. I think I’ve come up with a few unique takes on chicken and porkbelly, paired with up with some classic summer grilling flavors (corn & beets)
14. What ingredient can you not live without?
There is nothing better than a good quality olive oil. It really makes such a difference!
15. Your favourite advice for other inspiring social media foodie influencers?
Don’t be afraid to start! It may seem intimidating to put yourself out there but it is also so rewarding to share your creations with the world.