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Who is BIG DAVE?
From Valley Ranch with the Dallas Cowboys, to Ericsson Stadium – the home of the Carolina Panthers, and Death Valley, home of the Clemson Tigers, “Big Dave” (David O. Jones) and his barbecue have been the talk of the town among professional athletes, business people, politicians, and the general public alike for the past 24 years. When in Texas, do like the Texans do, and Jones really whips it up “Texas-style” with his own special blend of herbs and spices, producing a taste known rarely to those living in other parts of the country.
While under the name of Lil’ Red BBQ Smokehouse in Dallas, Texas, Jones was the Executive Chef to the Dallas Cowboys for several years, and owned a restaurant in North Dallas off of Greenville Ave. Upon return to his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina in July 1997, Jones and his establishment became the official caterer to the Carolina Panthers for the remainder of their football season.
In July 1997, Big Dave was hired by Ericsson Stadium to furnish his Texas Beef Brisket to the stadium, as well as, the team.
Big Dave with Barry Switzer
In August 1997, Jones opened a barbecue house under the name of Big Dave’s Famous BBQ & Catering Co. at 1618 White Horse Road, giving Carolinians a chance to experience “barbecue gone Texas” without actually having to travel to the distant Longhorn state. Motorists traveling White Horse Road near 1-85 cannot help but smell the delicious blend of meat and hickory coming from the outside cooker, as it is an aroma that is sure to make a hungry person stop in or a late person wish he had more time. Today, Big Dave’s can be found in Clemson on US 123, (Tiger Boulevard).
When Jones’ barbecue hit Dallas, it took Texas by storm and now the state will never be the same again. And if his barbecue success in Dallas, Texas is any indication of the success he’ll have with his barbecue in his own hometown, then South Carolina hold on to your waistline, because it’s going to be Big Dave in the Carolinas with barbecue that’s gone hog wild.
Emmett Smith of the Dallas Cowboys
Jones, who is a former Fountain Inn Police Officer with a background in psychology, was laid off in 1989 due to an accident which left him disabled for 2 years. His employer’s loss was barbecue lovers’ gain because he began cooking to fill some of the empty time on his hands.
His initial taste test came from his many neighbors in the exclusive apartment complex in Dallas where he lived with his wife, Patricia and children Kayla, Kristin, Kamille and David Jr.
Big Dave Jones’ big break came when he was able to obtain the food contract for the Dallas Cowboys. “One day it was like a light- bulb came on a couple years later,” Jones said. “I said ‘I’m going to take this out to the Cowboys. So I went to Valley Ranch about twenty times. About twenty times they opened the door and they closed it back,” Jones said, describing how hard it was to be heard with a large number of other vendors wanting the Cowboys’ business as well. “About the twenty-fifth time, this lady goes, ‘man you’re persistent.’ I said ‘Madame, that is what it’s having to take. I think you’ll acknowledge me today. “She let me in, tasted my food and her eyelids went up. She said ‘I want to introduce you to Kevin O’Neal, the Cowboys’ head trainer. Kevin tasted my food and he immediately asked me if I’d like to do one of his mini camps. I said ‘uh, I’ll look at my schedule’ and we both laughed. I told him it would be an honor.
Soon after, we became known as the official caterer for the Dallas Cowboys and they started endorsing our restaurant. The players developed enough confidence in us to start asking us to prepare meals at their homes and Jerry Jones (owner of the Cowboys) started asking us to do things. We developed a pretty close repose.”
From there, Jones’ barbecue grew from one store to three, with patronage by professional athletes from all over. He catered to the Mavericks, the Sports Brothers, Freddie Jackson of JAMS Radio in Dallas, Larry Johnson (Mr. NBA), and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to name few. Jones said he also has aspirations of one day feeding the President of the United States.
Since being back in Greenville, Jones’ barbecue has been enjoyed by Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Reeves and linebacker Tommy Novis, Corey Lucci who plays with Buffalo, the crew of boxer Evander Holyfield and the uncle of Kevin Garnett who says his nephew will be patronizing the facility soon. Jones’ barbecue was such a big hit that business grew by leaps and bounds and went out of control. “The Lord blessed us,” Jones said. “We grew at a rate that was almost out of control at one point… I couldn’t control it… Everybody wanted our food!
A family illness has brought Jones back to the Carolinas where he is still cooking up barbecue “Texas-style.”
So drop in to see Big Dave and give your taste buds a blast. Not only will you get your money’s worth, but it’s all you ever wanted to taste in barbecue, but never have.