We had the good fortune of connecting with Dave Larlee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dave, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
When I started Smokedmaple three years ago I wondered about success, like so many small business owners. The difference in my case comes in that I am also a full time Priest serving at an Anglican Church in the heart of downtown Dallas. (All Saints Dallas)
Now, When you own a Texas BBQ Catering business you end up sampling BBQ from a wide variety of restaurants. So many of the BBQ spots had one thing in common. JOY. The dinning rooms were full of Joy.
So – the idea became to create a brand of BBQ that sought to make taste buds happy and to bring a taste of joy into people’s homes. As a regular client of ours always says – “You are bringing Joy to the World, one rib at a time.”
So success for us is producing excellent BBQ that brings joy into people’s lives.
What should our readers know about your business?
My friends quickly gave a nickname that has stuck… Priest-Pitboss. You see I’m a priest and I never really set out to have a BBQ catering business.
But now that I have one, I can see so many links between these two roles! Let me back up, I’ve been in Texas for 7 years working at an Anglican Church in downtown Dallas (All Saints Dallas). And I was looking for a hobby. More specifically I was looking for a Texan Hobby. I happened to be on a long road trip with a renowned food critic and started asking him about smoking meat and where to start
The result is I got a smoker and started smoking. Friends started coming round asking if I would smoke for them, which I did happily. I played around with the rub developing my own and one day the thought of glazing the meat with maple syrup crossed my mind. I also happen to be Canadian and maple syrup is a key cooking ingredient for us! The results surprised me, the results surprised my friends, BUT my kids were underwhelmed by it all.
Then Covid19 struck. And we saw a need for more joy in Dallas especially in the lives of our front line workers. So we started sending BBQ to frontline workers. Nothing says thank you like BBQ, eh?
Maybe this is where my priest training has come into play. I’ve been a priest now for 17 years and key to this line of work is blessing people. Now that I’m a Priest and a Pitboss I’m discovering just how powerful a blessing BBQ can be. We’ve fed first responders, doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, community leaders, police and the homeless…the list goes on.
In many ways you could say we we have been pursuing BBQ for the social good. Covid 19 has brought so many challenges to the surface and frankly when faced with them I realized I did not have an answer to all the questions and challenges. But I did have access to good BBQ. So perhaps a small gesture in the gift of BBQ could encourage people leading the charge in these areas to keep bringing their very best to the challenges they are facing.
To date we have given away 1650lbs of BBQ including 473 Racks of Ribs all in an attempt to do our part in these challenging times.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love downtown Dallas and Deep Ellum and so I would start at the Dallas Farmers Market, to browse the different merchants including maybe a quick snack at one of the food vendors before then heading into Deep Ellum for a cup of coffee at Merit Coffee and a tour of the shops in the neighborhood.
I’d also want to walk into downtown and show them the new At&T Discovery District, maybe grab a burger at Chop House Burger.
Any visit to Dallas, in my opinion, isn’t complete without a visit to our very own urban farm – Bonton Farms – and a chat with my favorite farmer in Dallas, Trog. Then when it comes to BBQ we would have to visit Slow Bone BBQ, Baby Back Shack, and Back Country BBQ.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My neighbor Brandon Andreason has been an incredible inspiration to me. He has encouraged me in this BBQ venture and offered me the best advice when I needed it most. At key moments when I’ve faced questions and been puzzling at things Brandon has popped by and been able to offer me wisdom. Not only is he a master with meat he is also an incredible business man all born out of years of working with and smoking meat at his family’s Butcher Shop, Rudolph’s Market & Sausage Factory in Deep Ellum. (http://www.rudolphsmarket.
Linkedin: Dave Larlee
All photos were taken by the Smokedmaple team.