Skip to main content
Blog Article

Kicking Off Summer 2022: BBQ Tips from a Pitmaster – Davidson Hotels

Jun 20, 2022

Justin McCabe

Regional Director of Revenue Management, Davidson Hotels

I started my career in Revenue Management with Davidson Hospitality Group in May 2000 at the Hilton Kansas City Airport, before moving to the Hilton Memphis in May 2003. In early, 2006 I left Davidson to relocate to San Diego, with my now wife, and spent time operating a variety of resort and convention properties in the San Diego market. In early 2013, I was welcomed back to Davidson as Regional Director of Revenue Management covering the western portfolio for the company.

In 2016, our family relocated back to Kansas City, where I am currently based. A year after relocating, a couple of neighbors and I decided to try and compete in sanctioned BBQ events in and around Kansas City, home to the largest BBQ organization in the world, the Kansas City Barbecue Society. In 2018, our team, Boom Chicka Cow Cow, was born. After a week of work, sometimes traveling around the country, we will load up on Friday afternoon and drive to a random field, parking lot, arena, etc. to burn some meat. Events sanctioned by KCBS cook four proteins at every contest: Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Butt and Brisket. Awards are given out by category, as well as the highest overall aggregate score of the four categories combined is awarded Grand Champion.

After getting our feet wet the first two years, experiencing moderate success, our results took off over the last two years. In late 2019, we took home Grand Champion in the Side Dish event (Potato, Vegetable and Beans) at the American Royal BBQ, where close to 500 teams compete each year. In 2020 and 2021, we were awarded Grand Champion in Enid, OK in back-to-back years, as well as several Reserve Grand Champion awards in events across the Midwest. We capped off our season last year taking 4th overall at the American Royal Invitational.

When I am not working or competing in BBQ events, you can generally find me at our local soccer and softball fields, watching my two oldest children’s games and practice, at the local basketball court or in the stable watching my youngest daughter ride horses.

Tips for the perfect summer BBQ

  • Plan ahead. If you’re going to be smoking large cuts of meat, such as brisket and pork butt, these will take an extended period of time. The good news is, finish them early and rest the meat in a cooler for up to 2-3 hours before serving. This will give you plenty of time to socialize before eating without worrying about actually cooking anything.
  • While experienced chefs can determine a meats doneness by look and feel, I would highly recommend investing in a meat temperature probe, such as ThermoWorks Thermapen, to guarantee your chicken, burgers and steaks are cooked to the appropriate temperature.
  • If you’ve ever competed against our BBQ team, you know that we bring the music. Have your BBQ playlist ready to rock!
  • If you’re providing drinks, make sure to offer a variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. To keep costs down, try making pitchers of lemonade, iced tea and margaritas. This will also help cut down on waste.
  • Unless you’re from Southern California…don’t forget the bug spray for those summer evenings.
  • Lastly, every BBQ needs a sweet treat at the end. Summers are great for fruit inspired desserts. However, you can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies and rice krispie treats.


I really wanted to share a recipe that is great for summer and being outdoors. It doesn’t need to be kept cold and pairs well with just about any protein you’re serving.

Avocado Tomato Salad


  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, preferably fresh
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped to taste
  1. Place tomatoes, shallot and avocado in medium bowl.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Toss very well to combine.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and fresh parsley to taste.