Disney World’s ongoing “Cooking with Soul” showcases culturally-inspired dishes found throughout the resort
The following are excerpts taken from an interview with Cason conducted by Christin M. Copeland, Product Integration Manager, Walt Disney World Resort.
As things have been heating up this summer, we’ve been firing up the grills and creating a cookout for all to enjoy. From BBQ smokehouses to sweet vinegar slaw, from twists on macaroni and cheese to baked beans, we’ve got enough mouth-watering dishes for a fabulous gathering. But what’s a gathering without some friends?
Recently, we had the pleasure of hosting our friend Big Moe Cason, a world-renowned pit master. As he makes his way around the world on his new show on National Geographic, “World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason,” Moe and his family made a stop here at Walt Disney World Resort to experience some of our best BBQ-inspired dishes.
As we continue to Celebrate Soulfully and in preparation for his visit, we sat down with Big Moe to get certified “tips” on how to cook the best brisket in town! He also shared how he’s become a world-renowned pit master and the types of BBQ dishes he likes to experience on the road.
Q: How did you discover your love for BBQ and being a pit master?
A: Well, I came from a family of 17 kids. I discovered my love for cooking over a fire when my family would gather for cookouts, the 4th of July, and other occasions in the backyard. There were just so many positive memories of togetherness, and grilling was something I enjoyed – hot dogs, pork steaks, chicken – I loved it all. I carried that passion with me into the Navy, where I cooked. And, when I got out, I would see BBQ TV shows and competitions, and I said, “That’s me, that’s what I do.” I entered my first cookoff in 2006, and the rest is history.
Q: You mentioned coming from a huge family. Tell us about your family now and how it has impacted your journey.
A: I’m living the dream. I have a very supportive wife and four daughters, ranging in ages 12-26, with two female dogs and two female cats. Because of all the women, I get to do my own thing – cooking over fire. Princess Tiana is one of my daughter’s favorite princesses. I love all things sci-fi. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is one of the things we want to do on our next visit to Walt Disney World Resort, but EPCOT is our favorite park. We love the food, the atmosphere – there is something to do for everyone.
Q: How do you see the future of BBQ?
A: BBQ is Americana, and it has gone global, no matter what country or culture. Whether in Sweden, the Netherlands, or New Zealand, all people have cooked over a fire – from a strip of goat to Asian-style ribs. I’ve gotten ingredients from all over, from my favorite Korean grocery store to using my own seasonings.
It’s a happy food where people gather around, have fun and make memories. It has such humble beginnings anchored in survival to just feeding people. It has now transcended into an anchor for family gatherings and the focal point of feel-good moments from the backyard, city park to now theme parks.
Q: What are some of your certified go-to BBQ dishes?
A: I love a good brisket sandwich. Especially good brisket – that bends when you fold it over itself. Or BBQ that doesn’t even need sauce. That’s when you know it’s grilled to perfection. And sides. When you think about the different ways baked beans are prepared, or your favorite mac and cheese, your various slaws, etc., those complement your protein and vice versa.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m traveling to Alaska to cook for an Air Force base and soon traveling to Pearl Harbor to cook for the military there. I’ll continue teaching my BBQ classes. My goal with these classes is to teach others to make outstanding middle-of-the-road BBQ. During COVID, I did these classes virtually from my backyard.
Also up is Walt Disney World Resort! In addition to tasting some great BBQ, I’m looking forward to visiting EPCOT, my family’s favorite park, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is so cool! The Tree of life and the Avatar Flight of Passage are our favorites.
Big Moe Cason has great advice for expert pit masters, amateur pit masters, and anyone with a dream. “Stay committed to who you are and your craft. Learn your craft and have an open mind to getting better. Truly believe in what you’re doing.”
Walt Disney World Resort was excited to be one of the stops for Big Moe and his family.
For information, visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/celebrate-soulfully-cooking-with-soul/.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago (lulu.com) or email: [email protected].