Have fun with your meat. That’s Cam Dyment’s secret recipe.
By Jack Kohane
Photography by Renata Caughlin
Dyment’s a foodie with marketing and sales savvy, whose passion for meat led him to open TheSmoke, a family-friendly 82-seat restaurant (and 28-seat outdoor patio), in Collingwood, Ont. in late 2012.
Dyment contends it’s the only eatery of its kind in the province. Customers agree — 50,000 of them to date have come for the pulled pork, smoked trout and beef brisket poutine, and top it off with smoked banana ice cream.
Dubbed The Georgian Chef, Dyment has produced 35 YouTube videos showing him doing the sizzling art of smoking and barbequing varieties of meat and fish.
His stainless steel Cookshack commercial smokers (he has four such workhorses) can do 50 racks of ribs in one smoker at one time, and 150 lbs. of pork butts, 120 lbs. brisket, or 20 chickens per load.
Last year, Dyment smoked through 4,750 racks of ribs, 4 tons of pulled pork (over 8,000 lbs.), and more than 5,000 lbs. of beef brisket. And now he also sells his own BBQ sauces, over 500 bottles to date.
As for the complementary ice cream delights, TheSmoke scooped 1,300-plus servings in 2013 of the most popular flavours: Smoked Banana and Wild Boar Bacon Bourbon.
All meats, poultry and fish arrive fresh at TheSmoke, where they are rubbed, smoked and cooled to room temperature, then packed into Cryovac portions and chilled in the fridge. When ordered, ribs are popped into a 170°F sous vide water bath for about 15 minutes, then removed from the bag and char-grilled with one of their homemade BBQ sauces for 45 seconds. “This locks in all of the juices and flavours,” Dyment explains.
What goes into his menu? Flavour, texture, but most importantly, creativity. “I have fun with the names, like our Cow Meats Pig Sandwich. It’s basically a brisket sandwich on top of a pulled pork sandwich,” he notes.
Inspiration for new smoked creations, like the smoked trout salad, and wild boar BLT and cheese sandwich on grilled sourdough, soups and desserts, can come from anywhere. A few months ago, he researched “beef bacon” on Google. “I found very little information and made up my own recipe, resulting in a crispy sweet salty prime rib tasting beef bacon.”
Dyment plans to expand TheSmoke concept and eventually franchise it. But for now, it’s still all hands-on. “Everything is from scratch. People can taste it,” he says.
TheSmoke’s top 3 BBQ tips
- Be creative with the flavour profile of the meat. Spice it, but don’t over-season, since over-seasoning masks the flavour.
- Go low and slow when cooking meat. Keep it at a consistent low temperature throughout the cooking process.
- If you see a red layer inside the meat (it is cooked), you have achieved The Smoke Ring. It is a chemical reaction when nitrogen dioxide from wood combustion reacts with the water in meats.