BBQ&A: When You Say, “C. Davis,” You’re Talking Serious BBQ
Are you ready to emerge from the two-year COVID cocoon and have some fun? Get ready for a major event to kick off the summer of 2022: United Way of King County’s first Annual Community BBQ with Doug Baldwin! The event will be held rain or shine on June 18 at Renton Memorial Stadium from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We’ve designed an outing for all ages that features tasty food, good music, family-friendly games and fun-filled surprises. The Annual Community BBQ offers a chance to gather with friends and make new ones. There’ll be something for everyone to enjoy!
Dozens of food vendors, performers, educators and entertainers have signed on to help make the BBQ a success. Here’s one: C. Davis of Seattle-based C. Davis Texas BBQ, one of the most sought-after BBQ vendors in the area. We recently sat down with C. Davis to chat about his craft and his participation in Saturday’s event.
United Way: Tell us a little about you: What brought you to the Seattle area?
C. Davis: I’m originally from Tampa, FL. I’ve been here since 1989. I tried to walk on with the Seattle Mariners farm system [in Bellingham] years ago, and I didn’t make it. I left it at that and decided to stay. I tried to live in Alaska a couple of years after that, and I decided to move back here because of the business opportunities.
I started with the BBQ in 2011. I was watching Pitmasters, and a guy dared me I couldn’t do it. I ordered a $6,000 smoker from Texas and I perfected my craft three months later. I opened up in Georgetown and I sold out, but because it was such hard work I only did it once a month. I was working, flipping homes at the time. I really didn’t start liking it until about seven years ago.
United Way: What happened?
C. Davis: There was a gentleman standing in my line, I had no idea who he was, who purchased BBQ from me. I get a call a couple of days later asking can I cook for that person. Come to find out, it was Bill Gates. It kind of took off a little bit from there. Four years ago, I was at the Bite of Seattle [food and beverage festival], and I met [former Seahawks player] K.J. Wright. He tasted my BBQ, and we were laughing and joking. I said, “Man, you should put me on with the Seahawks, since you like it so good, right?” I didn’t think anything of it. A month goes by; I ran into him again, and I said, “If you get a chance, just mention my name [with the Seahawks].
Three weeks later, I get a call. I’m looking at my phone and it says, “Seattle Seahawks.” I’m thinking it’s a prank, so I just answered the phone [in an agitated voice], “Hello!” Come to find out, it was the Seahawks! My jaw just dropped! They said, “Hey, K.J. wants you over here.” And the rest is history.
United Way: What did perfecting your craft entail?
C. Davis: My great-grandmother, she was bedridden, and we had a smoker in her backyard. She taught me how to do things and bring ingredients to her. When I got a smoker up here, I had to learn to do things on a larger scale. I realized that doing things in bulk and getting it out fast is where the money is.
United Way: How did your business respond to the pandemic?
C. Davis: When COVID hit, between the Urban League, K.J., some of the Seahawks, Community Passageways and moneys out of my retirement, I raised over $500,000. We focused on single family homes and we fed them. I fed thousands and thousands of people. The Urban League helped out me tremendously, and I’m grateful for them.
United Way: What helps make your BBQ unique?
I like my brisket cooked a certain kind of way, and only Texas style can do that.C. Davis
C. Davis: All my wood is shipped from either Mexico or Texas. All my rubs come up from Texas. I add this North Carolina tangy gold sauce; people love that. I smoke my brisket anywhere from 18-22 hours: You put the fat side up, put the rub on, let it smoke for 15 hours, rotate it, wrap it up for two hours, put a half can of beer on each one. I like my brisket cooked a certain kind of way, and only Texas style can do that.
United Way: What made you decide to take part in United Way’s Community BBQ?
C. Davis: Doug [Baldwin’s] behind it. It’s for the community. I’m a community person, so I said, “Count me in.”