This is an interview I did (in writing) with Famous Dave Anderson recently. I was asked to do some minor consulting for a venture of his and asked for an interview as my fee. I submitted the questions and he graciously sent back his answers in writing. I’ve edited them for space. And a warning – Dave has some tongue-in-cheek answers to the questions – He’s not talking theology, he’s talking barbecue! So take it easy and laugh along.
If you are a subscriber to the blog you are eligible to win a copy of Famous Dave’s new cookbook: Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook. So hit the subscription box on the right and say a prayer!
Q: How did your faith impact your business in it’s early days?
A: It’s well known that there would be no Famous Dave’s if I did not get sober – and a major part of my recovery was turning my life over to God and seeking a church that was alive.
I actually grew up in a family that went to church religiously and anything wrong I did [I was told] I was going to hell unless I repented. So I sort of rebelled when I was 18 and couldn’t wait to go out and find out how much fun sinning was – and believe me I did my best to find out!
After the first year of creating and opening up Famous Dave’s my wife did an intervention on me – which was the best thing to happen to me. I was headed for an early death. During this time of recovery I started going to church for a far different reason than why I attended when I was younger: I learned that being a Christian wasn’t about “being saved so you didn’t go to hell” and religion wasn’t to keep you from going to hell but spirituality was for those of us who’ve already experienced hell.
So today I am a big believer that Jesus said that He came so that we might have a more abundant life. And besides I realized that barbecue was all about following God’s plan for my life!
Q: Where does barbecue fit into this plan?
A: I am a believer that our good Lord is a raving fan of barbecue! You could say barbecue… “the worship practice of burnt offerings” is a deep-rooted, biblical, religious experience. As early as the Old Testament in Leviticus the Lord is giving directions for a barbecuing goats and cows… “If the sin offering is a burnt offering from the flock, he is to offer a male without defect (the Lord is a stickler for quality control!) He is to cut it into pieces… and the Priest shall arrange the meat and the fat on the burning wood that is on the altar. The duties that our Pitmasters do today is very similar to what the Priests did back then. What is interesting here is that the good Lord specifically says that the fat needs to be on the meat. So even way back in the olden days, our Lord knew how important it was for good tasting meat to be well marbled with fat!
By the way, the altar is really the precursor to the modern day grill. An altar is made out of stone upon which a wood fire is built. This is no different that what are still doing today by our building barbecue pits made out of concrete blocks upon which we build wood fires and lay fatty meats on them to smoke.
And you can read … that the good Lord prefers wood for smoking – “It is a burnt offering, an offering made by a wood fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord!” Proof positive, right here in the Holy Bible, it points out that our good Lord appreciates the smell of meat smoking over smoldering wood! Thus the term “Holy Smokes!”
But let’s get back to the beginning of Chapter Nine, the good Lord calls this a “sin offering” …so I believe that whenever you are bad, naughty, or up to no good that you are supposed to go out and [do up] some barbecue!
Q: What was your greatest struggle in life?
A: Many people ask me about my entrepreneurship story of overcoming adversities and failures and often ask me what has been my greatest challenge in my career. I always say that my greatest challenge has been “me!” It’s not the lack of financing or stiff competition but the times I let myself down. Today, I have learned that all my adversities have done nothing but give me wisdom and experience. It’s often said that God will never give you problems you can’t handle and I say…that’s a load …!!! Which often shocks these folks but then I share that I believe that God gives us problems we can’t handle because that’s were faith comes from! Faith is believing in something you really don’t understand. If you could handle all the problems that come your way… you wouldn’t need God or faith.
Q: How did the idea for the book come about?
A: Famous Dave’s New Barbecue Party Cookbook came about because my last cookbook was recipes that were the type of great southern home cooking and the barbecue that I grew up with – a great cookbook with great tasty recipes. However, many folks wanted a cookbook that best fit what they do in their backyards everyday. So many American families love backyard cookouts and barbecues.
This cookbook is jammed packed with tasty recipes for throwing the best fun filled tasty backyard barbecue parties. Every recipe is accompanied by a picture and the photography is so stunning you might be tempted to lick the pages!!!
Q: What do you do in your business that’s faith-based?
A: First I am very open that I believe in worshipping an almighty living God and I am not embarrassed to pray and give thanks. I think it’s unfortunate that we have gotten to a point where telling folks that we worship an almighty living God is politically incorrect -which is wrong considering our great country was founded on the precepts of faith. I don’t believe there could be a greater and higher honor then when my time has come that folks will say, “There went a God fearing husband to his wife… There went a God fearing father to his children… and there went a God fearing business leader in his community!”
Q: As a successful business leader, any words about leadership you’d care to share?
A: I believe today that men of faith or women of faith need to hold true to higher standards lead by a moral compass that is unwavering. Too many times today, you pick up a newspaper and a high ranking politician, a preacher, an actor, a musician, or an athlete that are held up as role models are violated their trust, confidence, or their marriage because of infidelity, embezzlement, or some deviate behavior. Live your life by a higher standard of values. Don’t be blameful. Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility. Be approachable and have fun! Celebrate life. Celebrate other people. And understand this one thing…it’s not about you… be obsessively devoted to bettering the lives of others.
My thanks to “Famous Dave” Anderson for his time. I’ll be headed over to get my own taste of his products later this week. You can buy the book by clicking this link. (In full disclosure, I’m not making a penny here, but I know the author’s people personally.)