“I like companies that don’t only have good product, they have good people. Bear Mountain is supportive of my comedy and my BBQ journey. Plus, their pellets have awesome flavor and a great burn rate.”
Dave Williamson has developed a bit of a reputation.
Not just for his comedy, though that’s a huge part of his life. The Florida native has traveled the country performing stand-up, placing in prestigious comedy festivals, and even opening for well-known comics like Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black and Jimmy Fallon.
But that’s not exactly what we’re talking about. The reputation we’re referring to has to do with BBQ. From his neighborhood in El Segundo to his professional network across the U.S., Williamson has come to be known as a serious grilling enthusiast, a “Weekend Warrior of Meats,” as he puts it.
Whether he’s in his front yard, barbecuing on his 900-pound Assassin 32 Gravity-fed Insulated Smoker, interviewing famous pitmasters for his podcast Meat Dave or sharing grilling tips with comics before a live set, he’s found a way to blend his passion for BBQ with his work as a comedian.
“BBQ is a huge part of who I am, and it’s linked people to my comedy,” he says. “I’m constantly finding fun ways to mix the two, and it’s created a deeper connection with my fans.”
Williamson grew up loving tasty meat dishes, but he really discovered BBQ when he attended Auburn University in Alabama. He found a smokehouse and went there every other day for lunch in between classes. He got to know the people who worked there so well that they sponsored his water polo team tournaments and catered his graduation party for free. After college, he chased his then girlfriend, now wife, to Charlotte, North Carolina. He took a job with Red Bull, driving all over the state to promote the brand. He ended up exploring different BBQ joints everywhere he went.
Williamson’s grilling education continued to grow as he got into comedy and traveled all over the country. In 2012, his wife and he made the decision to move to Los Angeles for the comedy opportunities. They bought a RV and crossed the country with their son, exploring national parks and picking up comedy gigs along the way.
“Each place we went, we explored the local cuisine,” Williamson says. “In Wisconsin, we got sausages, in Vancouver, we got salmon. All of the travelling sparked my interest in cooking.”
Williamson and his family had so much fun on the road trip, they kept at it for a year and a half before settling down in a house in L.A. Once they settled in, Williamson grew frustrated by the local BBQ scene.
“At the time, there wasn’t much here that compared with the other cities I’d been to,” Williamson says. “I decided the best way for me to eat good meat was for me to make it myself.”
He bought a cheap smoker and made a commitment to learn the art of smoking meats. He bought books, watched online videos and started grilling. He soon developed a knack for it and began to meet chefs and pitmasters in the LA food scene.
“I was really getting into it, enjoying making friends and really appreciating what they were doing,” he says. “Pitmasters are my heroes. I respect the hell out of what they do. I didn’t realize how hard it was until I started getting good at it.”
The deeper Williamson’s BBQ education went, the more he found that people wanted to talk about it. Backstage at comedy shows, other comics would talk to him about what he was grilling and ask for tips. Everyone’s curiosity motivated him to start his podcast Meat Dave in September 2019. On his travels for work, he’d interview restaurant owners, pitmasters and other influential people in the BBQ community. Sometimes he would just go into the local butcher shop in any town he was in and start asking questions.
“I didn’t want the podcast to just be about eating good food. There’s so much more that goes into BBQ than that,” he says. “It’s really about the community.”
As Williamson’s skills grew, so did his outdoor cooking area. He bought the 900-pound smoker from a local pitmaster and he and one of his sons built a BBQ oasis in their front yard this last year during the pandemic.
”I was always known as the comedy guy around town, and now I’m known as the BBQ guy,” he jokes. “People walk by our front yard when I’m grilling, knowing they may get a sample.”
Williamson’s love for BBQ has turned out to be the perfect addition to his brand as a comic. He plans to continue to find ways to mix his comedy and love for BBQ, and to keep putting up content for it via social media and through his podcast. And, after getting so many questions from fans and followers about his favorite type of rub, he’s even coming out with a Meat Dave all-purpose rub.
“I don’t consider myself an expert, but I do consider myself a well-versed enthusiast,” he says. “Anything I can do to help people who are just starting out is where I’m putting my focus.”
When it comes to Williamson’s pellet choice, he loves working with Bear Mountain because of the quality of product, as well as the quality of the company.
“I like companies that don’t only have good product, they have good people,” he says. “Bear Mountain is supportive of my comedy and my BBQ journey. Plus, their pellets have awesome flavor and a great burn rate. Their customer service is easy to work with, and the price point is right.”Make sure to keep an eye on Williamson’s jokes and smokes by visiting his website, Instagram, Facebook page and Podcast