In 1995 I was sent to shoot a story for BCTV News about a BBQ Competition at New Westminster Quay Public Market. I knew nothing about REAL Southern BBQ. I thought BBQ was throwing a steak on the grill. How wrong I was!

It was the Canadian Festival of Chili and BBQ and I was amazed. There were Texans cooking chili, there were folks from all over the US and Canada cooking amazing looking ribs and brisket. I didn’t even know what a brisket was but I knew I wanted to try some. I had so much fun filming the story and sampling their amazing food and meeting all these incredible cooks who were having such a great time together, I was in awe!

One of the cooks at the contest, Jim Erickson from Beaver Castors BBQ team, kept coming around as I was filming saying “Hey Bad Ass, try this!” and he would hand me another sample of something to try. It was sooo good! He told me years later that he knew then that they had hooked another BBQ devotee and the handle he gave me stuck. Bad Ass BBQ was born right there on the banks of the Fraser river. I purchased a little smoker from one of the cooks that day and so the journey began.

I started competing the next year. I did all the research the web would let me to find out how to make real Texas Chili and BBQ. My first competition was a chili cook off in Anecortes WA. I won my first ribbon that day and their hook was set even deeper. I was on cloud nine!

I then met my incredible wife Karen who is a fabulous cook and our passion to create great BBQ really started to grow. All our summer vacations were spent traveling the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of our next ribbon and trophy.

Now it has become a family affair. Our son Dylan and daughters Disa and Jill join us on the BBQ circuit which makes something that is already great even better! Dylan is my right hand on the BBQ pit and has already done catering jobs for his friends. Disa helps us with our catering jobs and vending and Jill has taken most of the pictures of our food you see here on our site. And Karen? Momma Kee as we call her -long story from one of our family trips to Mexico… runs the whole show. People call me The Pit Boss but in reality it is my lovely wife who runs the show! Without her we would not be nearly so Bad Ass.

“Pretend it is your very last meal on earth. You can have anything you want and you can have any famous chef cook it.”

Tempting offer. I was in a radio studio. The subject, what do you really want to eat when you know you are not going to eat again?

Tough question.

No. Not at all. I knew the answer. All the people before me had picked famous men in tall white white hats who had written books and were on television saying how they add four grains of salt from the Adriatic and not three from the North Sea.

They were fancy cookers of fancy meals with names I cannot say.

“I want a barbeque from my buddy Dave McKay,” I said.

“Who’s Dave?” asked the interviewer.

“Dave is the coolest cook, barbequer, chef I have ever know. He is a pork and beef and chicken genius. He is Rembrandt with sauce. He is Shakespeare with charcoal.”

You are getting the picture, I like this guy.

He is a cameraman at Global TV and he is good at taking pictures. But mostly I like working with him because sometimes he will open a package of pulled pork and say, “Try this. I have new sauce.”

“Oh, my god. My mouth is dripping, which is not a good thing when I still have to go out and work.”

I have tasted many of his barbeques. I am lucky. And I am unlucky. I can’t eat anything else now. His makes my tongue vibrate down to my toes.

I go out to a restaurant and my tongue says, “Are you kidding? Get me the real thing.”

I was so proud when I read a story about him in the National BBQ News out of Atlanta, Georgia. I mean, this guy lives in B.C. and no one in Georgia knows where B.C. is.

But they know Dave. And so do I. For my last meal, I want Dave standing over the charcoal. And I hope he will be trying a new sauce.

Mike McCardell Global News