The activities of teenage boys are many and varied, but Dylan Cave pushed the boundaries with one of his youthful pursuits.
The self-described “carnivore” developed an early affinity for barbecuing, especially the wood-smoked variety. After experimenting with charcoal and wood chips on a propane barbecue — with delicious results — he jumped into the barbecue big leagues.
“I bought my first competition-style smoker when I was 16.”
Now 23, the Red Deer resident was treating a buddy to a barbecue meal a year ago when the friend suggested Cave open a restaurant. When he resisted, the friend persisted and pledged to help finance the venture.
“I started looking for locations right away,” said Cave, who settled on the site of the former Wai’s Restaurant and Thai Gardens Restaurant at No. 104, 4916 Ross St.
His financier friend came on board as a partner, as did Sean Draper and Kyle Depta — whom Cave worked with at The Vat Pub.
On Tuesday, the group took possession of a thousand-pound (450-kg) wood smoker from Tennessee.
“It’s an amazing unit,” said Cave, who describes the rotisserie cooker as his “pride and joy.”
The premises around it are currently being renovated, with the restaurant — slated to be called the Red Boar Smokery — expected to open next month. It’ll have seating for about 40, with the partners also anticipating a brisk take-out business. Beef, pork and poultry will be on the menu said Cave, as will seasonal selections like farmed elk and game meats.
“We’re thinking about doing a soy chicken as a veggie alternative,” he added.
Draper acknowledged that he and Depta normally favour vegetarian foods, but their appetite for smoked meats keeps them from going entirely green.
“This is just exquisite,” he said.
Food preparation will be time-consuming, with a 10-pound brisket requiring about 16 hours in the smoker, said Cave.
“We’ll be using two different types of wood: hickory and applewood.
“The hickory wood is really great for beef; it’s got a really intense smoke to it. The applewood is a more tame wood and it’s more for pork.”
The Red Boar Smokery will be a family restaurant, but it’ll also be licensed.
“Beer and barbecue go hand-in-hand,” explained Cave.
He said potential downtown customers are already asking about catering services.
The Red Boar Smokery’s menu will include beef and pork ribs, as well as a variety of side dishes.
“We’re going to have some great salad options,” said Cave.
He’s optimistic Central Albertans will welcome southern-style barbecue, noting how it’s quickly gaining popularity in Canada.
“It’s huge in Calgary,” said Cave, describing how barbecue competitions are held there — something he’d like to see happen in Red Deer as well.
Earlier this week, Woody’s Bar-B-Q — part of a franchised restaurant chain that originated in Jacksonville, Fla. — opened in the Quality Inn North Hill at 7150 Gaetz Ave.