🇨🇦 Canada’s Friendly Neighborhood BBQ Guy
Meet Brad Billard – Lumber Jack Grill Master.
Brad Billard @cdndrumsmokerandco has found a renewed passion for cooking since building his ugly drum smoker in 2019. A hospitality guy through and through, Brad’s been in the front and back of the house at various restaurants but now, it’s all bbq! Whether on his drum smoker, charcoal or pellet smokers you’re sure to find Brad around his “grillfriends”
Living in Southern Ontario, Brad grew up with strong East Coast roots where the kitchen is the heart of the house. You can see the passion Brad has for cooking and entertaining his guests…whether it’s traditional southern bbq with a twist or a little Canadian flare. Co-host of The Eh-BC’s of CDN BBQ, Brad is on a mission to grow bbq in Canada and foster those relationships between businesses and backyard bbq enthusiasts like himself. Shout out to Mike @250northernbbq!
We asked Brad a few questions about his approach to BBQ and here’s what he had to say.
When did you get into grilling, and how often do you fire it up?
For as long as I can recall I’ve been drawn to bbq and cooking in general but it really wasn’t until 2019 where my interest became more focussed on low and slow barbecue after building my own ugly drum smoker. I was usually the person that gravitated to the grill for family gatherings big or small so the calling has always been there. Now, I cook whenever I can on any one of my grills… for the taste and flavour it adds, for the therapeutic nature of being one with your grills along with the connection it affords while sharing with the bbq community online.
Name one grilling technique you’ve learned over the years that has served you well.
It’s more of an apres grilling technique that has benefitted me the most and that’s to allow your meat to rest. A 10 minute rest of a steak can dramatically improve the moisture retention and provide for a much more flavourful end product. The same can be said for all proteins as well, not just steak. It’s as crucial as the cooking process itself.
What’s the most unique thing you’ve grilled or cooked?
I am not as adventurous as some when it comes to what I enjoy to cook or eat. My palette was tricked at an early age. While eating things I was told were one thing turned out to be something else less mainstream or commercially available and I haven’t recovered. So for that reason, beef cheeks that I smoked for a Beef and Guinness pie is about as unique a thing I have grilled or cooked to date.
Tell us about your most memorable day around the grill.
Probably has to be one of my first cooks on multiple grills for some colleagues from work. I used my newly purchased Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 and my Ugly Drum Smoker. The menu included: my first ever brisket, pulled pork, sausage, baby back ribs, wings, smoked mac and cheese, smoked peppered bacon beans, bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, coleslaw, and cornbread. It was aptly deemed Brad’s Sausage Party and Meat Sweats The camaraderie, belly laughs, full bellies, smiles and silence while eating will be forever etched in my memories and ultimately represent what bbq means to me.
What was one of your most memorable cooks?
It’s a toss up between two cooks really. First, cooking with my Eh-BC’s co-host Mike while in Alberta with friends and “bbq” family last summer. The amazing folks at BarrelBossQ had me out to complete my Canadian Drum Smoker license plate project just after The Didsbury Lions BBQ and BBQ on the Bow events. Second, being asked to cook a meal for Fielding Estate Winery here in Niagara that was featured in their June Wine Club summer edition. It was cooked on site at the winery with a simple charcoal grill using Lumber Jack Premium Lump Charcoal to demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be a fancy high priced grill to make quality bbq and it was paired with two of their wines.
What are you cooking these days?
These dog days of winter, I’m cooking a lot on my new Facebook Marketplace purchased Weber Kettle grill. It’s been a mix of the usual bbq items…burgers, wings, steaks with a heavy focus on Canadian rubs and sauces. Since the start of The Eh-BC’s of Canadian BBQ I really have tried to focus on using as many Canadian made bbq products as possible.
What is your favourite thing to cook?
Tasty Food…but in all seriousness, my favourite thing to cook is what my friends and family ask for. There isn’t anything more satisfying than throwing down a tasty meal for friends and family and having those experiences be the memories that stand out.
What’s your favourite Lumber Jack Pellet flavour?
That’s a tough one to be honest…they are all quality and top notch but I would have to say my favourite Lumber Jack Pellet flavour is the Supreme Blend. The versatility of the oak, hickory and cherry blend is ideal for almost everything I’m smoking.
Who are your BBQ idols?
If I’m being honest, I didn’t really have any before jumping in and discovering the BBQ community online. As my BBQ journey continues, I have a ton of respect and admiration for Eugene @tendeanoutdoors who was more or less the catalyst for me jumping into the world of low and slow BBQ. Along the way, I got the opportunity to meet Uncle Ted Reader @tedgrills as well as host him on The Eh-BC’s and I gotta say his body of work is downright impressive. The first ever female Georgia State BBQ Champion and winner of Netflix’s American BBQ Showdown, Tina Cannon @tinacannoncooks has also inspired me to just go for it. I admire her continued work for Meals on Wheels despite her success and one day hope to be able to take her up on her offer and head to Georgia to cook with her.
What’s your absolute favourite thing to grill?
Dino Beef Ribs hands down. There is just something absolutely appealing about the taste, appearance and flavour of “brisket on a stick” that floats my boat.
Do you have any good tips for BBQ beginners?
Depends on your definition of good, lol.. but just do it. Experiment, don’t be intimidated and at the end of the day if what you’re cooking and how you’re cooking it works for you and the people you are cooking for then that is all that matters. Don’t get caught up in what you’re cooking on either…#onegrill (shoutout to the awesome people of the Canadian BBQ Mafia). I don’t think you can call yourself a pitmaster without years of fire management experience, but who says you can’t work your way into becoming a grillmaster.
If you don’t already, be sure to follow Brad @cdndrumsmokerandco on Instagram to see what creative stuff he’s cooking up!
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