Chef Spotlight: Gary W. (bitemebbq)
Meat master Gary Welch started grilling on a used Traeger ten years ago and has never looked back. His love of cooking started in his grandma’s kitchen making whipped cream from scratch and inspires him to regularly cook for his fellow paramedics at work. He sat down with Dalstrong to talk about his experience cooking at the Dickson BBQ Smoke Show, making dessert on the grill, and why fishing through six feet of ice is his favorite thing to do.
How did you get started with BBQ?
I started cooking on a Traeger about ten years ago after I bought a used one for $100. I had a buddy who cooked for me on his and it inspired me. The one I bought was the smallest one you could get at the time, and I used it for two years. My friends and family pitched in for an upgraded one for a birthday present. I started posting a few food pics on my personal page, then decided one day to take nicer pics on an account dedicated to food. A few friends were sitting around and we came up with “bitemebbq” for the name. Traeger eventually contacted me to be an influencer three or four years ago. I only had about 1,000 followers at the time. It’s been growing ever since.
What inspires you now?
I always found myself in the kitchen helping out when I was a kid. My grandmother was a huge inspiration. She taught me how to make whipped cream from scratch. I moved away to play hockey when I was eighteen, and I lived with three other guys who wouldn’t eat unless I cooked for them. That started my everyday cooking. Now I’m a paramedic, and we have a Traeger at our paramedic base. I cook for my partners at work, and I love it. I’ve also had some great opportunities to cook with Traeger and Diva Q BBQ (Danielle Bennett). She’s a huge inspiration to me. I bought her cookbook five years ago. She called me out of the blue two years ago and asked me to come cook with her at the Dickson BBQ Smoke Show. It was an epic experience. We served 5,000 samples. I got to meet a ton of Canadian BBQ personalities. Not just Traeger people, but also Green Egg and others. Also a bunch of American foodies and other walks of the BBQ world.
Do you have a favorite new discovery or “never fail” recipe?
I’ve really been enjoying beef ribs. They always come out perfect. I prefer eating them over brisket, which can be hit or miss. Ribs are relatively simple, but a long enough cook to enjoy it throughout the day. It’s so satisfying when you can pull the bones out clean. I’ve been doing some baking on the grill lately. It’s a very different flavor profile on the grill versus the oven. I did lemon squares recently, and they were pretty tasty. (I bought a bunch of lemons for making smoked lemonade which never happened, so I came up with that.)
What’s the biggest mistake you see people making with meat?
One mistake I see a lot is that people slice meat the wrong way. It has to be against the grain, especially with a tri-tip. If you slice with the grain, it'll be the toughest bites. Against the grain, it’ll be the best bite. Same thing with turkey or chicken. Take the breast off then slice against the grain. And always use your meat thermometer. It’s temp versus time. Always. I hate when people ask how long cooks take. Every animal is different, so every piece of meat is different.
When you’re not cooking, where are you?
We live on a lake, twenty minutes outside of Kamiskotia. We do a lot of fishing. There’s nothing better than catching fresh walleye and firing up some tacos with it. In the winter, we fish through six feet of frozen water. My wife and I sit out on the lake, play cards, have a couple drinks, try our luck at catching fish through ice. We’re big into hunting, too. We have two golden retrievers, we’re big dog people.
Is there a spice or ingredient you secretly hate?
Not a mushroom guy. You won’t find any mushrooms in my recipes. My wife feels the same about onions, so I have to be careful about that.
What are some essential things every BBQ cook needs?
Meat thermometer is number one after the grill. Another thing I use a lot are cotton painter gloves. They’re really cheap, and I put them under my nitro gloves. It allows me to handle the hot meat hot quickly without tongs.
Is there one tool you can’t live without?
I have the Shogun series, they’re the only Dalstrong knives I’ve used so far. I have the 6” Boning Knife, which I use for all my trimming. I use the 10” Bull Nose Butcher Knife for breaking down chickens and bones, and it doubles as a chef’s knife for me. I also chop veggies with it. I love the 12.5” Cimitar for big meat, tri-tip, turkey, brisket. Also the 9.5” Chef Knife is an all-around great knife for everything. If I had to pick only one knife to ever have, it would be the 9.5” Chef Knife. I’m a big fan of the Shogun handle because it fits my hand perfectly. I like the weight of it. They’re well-balanced knives. The attention to detail in packaging is impressive, as well as all the details of the knife. Classy from the time you open it.
If you could cook a meal for one person, who would it be?
I’m a huge hockey guy. My whole life was playing hockey. So it’s gotta be Wayne Gretzky. In addition to being a legend, he’s a winemaker. I’d love to share a bottle of his wine and cook beef ribs for him.
What is the one dish that everyone seems to screw up?
It’s gotta be chicken. A lot of people dry out chicken. There’s nothing worse than dry chicken or turkey. Use your thermometer to get it to 160-165° F and let it rest. Same with pork tenderloin and chops. Just don’t overcook food, it’s ok to let it rest. It’s ok to cook it four to five degrees under and let it sit so the juices redistribute while restings. It’ll cook another five degrees while resting.
What would be your last meal?
I’d have to go with a 3” ribeye, reverse seared with garlic green beans, garlic rosemary mashed potatoes, and a caesar salad with smoked bacon. Maybe a couple of grilled shrimp on top of the steak. And a bottle of cab.
You can follow Gary’s cooking journey by following him on Instagram and Tik Tok.