With its UNESCO City of Film status, new and improved centre and abundance of exciting new openings, Bradford’s reputation is on the rise! Home to some of the best curry houses in the UK and a vast array of award-winning restaurants, it’s an excellent place to eat out.
You may have heard on the grapevine that there’s soon to be another new player on the Bradford foodie scene. The Dirty Dawgs social media team have been teasing us with talk of loaded hotdogs and funky foodie vibes for weeks now so, we wanted to catch up with the owner and find out more about this exciting new opening.
Joe Clapham already boasts an enviable career, having worked in some of Yorkshire’s best restaurants and secured numerous industry accolades, including a Michelin plate. His new restaurant, Dirty Dawgs BBQ is set to open its doors this Friday (28th May) inside The Underground. By combining his professional expertise with his passion for local produce and love of BBQ, he has created, what we think, is an excellent new foodie offering for Bradford.
Here’s what Joe had to say during our chat with him last week…
What can we expect from Dirty Dawgs BBQ?
Basically, really tasty food in a welcoming, upbeat environment. Somewhere you can hang out, eat well and feel good. It’s time to enjoy top quality meat, cooked low and slow – homemade hotdogs with tasty toppings that change all the time.
Where did the idea for the concept come from?
I wanted to step back from the fine dining scene, I had started to fall out of love with it and wanted to do something that would make me happy again and reignite my passion for feeding people. I was sitting with my son eating hotdogs, he was covered in ketchup and I thought “this is just what I want to do. I will try and make the perfect hotdog”. It all went from there really! I decided I wanted to make food that makes people feel happy, and I don’t think there is a happier meal than a good bbq with friends and family.
What makes Dirty Dawgs BBQ different to other places in Bradford?
What sets us apart is working in collaboration with The Underground Bar and Venue. Good music and good food – perfect! It will be a completely different vibe to most places in the country, let alone Bradford.
We are also only using the finest products and ingredients; all our pork and beef is from rare and native breeds, sourced from small sustainable farms around Skipton.
Also, all of our sauces and toppings are made in house, including kimchi and sauerkraut made from Yorkshire grown cabbages.
You’ve worked in some great Yorkshire restaurants, please tell us about that.
I have worked all over Europe but Yorkshire restaurants rival anywhere and hold a really special place in my heart. I worked at Grassington House in North Yorkshire with John Rudden and Andy Collop, who serve some really beautiful food in an amazing setting. Andy isn’t there anymore but anywhere he is cooking is bound to be a fantastic meal. They both taught me a lot in the early days of my career.
The Box Tree in Ilkley’s reputation speaks for itself. Keiran Smith still heads up the kitchen there and they are doing some top-class meals. I would go back and work with him any day of the week as he’s a really talented chef.
I then spent a bit of time away from Yorkshire in a two-michellin star hotel but came back to run the kitchen at the Bow Room at the 900-year-old Grays Court hotel in York. It’s a beautiful little restaurant, where I could really hone my style of food and what I wanted to achieve in the industry. Whilst I was there we won numerous best hotel awards and created some exciting menus.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Being awarded a Michelin plate in the most recent Michelin guide was undeniably a great feeling for me personally. However, what I think has been really amazing over the last year of restaurants being closed, is how chefs have pulled together and started out on their own. Places like Cosgriff and Sons Sourdough based in York, I would say they are making some, if not the best, sourdough bread in the country right now. Also, The Pie Kitchen run by Rachel Denton. She is making pies that are game-changing – I honestly have never tasted better. These small independent brands are really pushing the industry forward and it is inspiring to see.
What will be on the menu?
We will always have our range of hot dawgs, with plenty of different toppings from kimchi to black garlic. You can have it plain or with cheese. Basically, because we are small and independent the options are endless. We will be putting new treats on the menu all the time as we develop new and exciting flavour combinations.
We have our dirty fries, topped with home-smoked pork shoulder or char sui pork belly. Then there is our version of poutine, which is basically cheese chips and gravy. Very dirty food but one of my favourites – I love it!
Which of those are you most proud of?
I think getting the recipe for the Original Dirty Dawg sausage right. It definitely took me the longest amount of time, lots of trial and error but worth it in the end.
Your teaser dishes mention elements made in-house, please tell us about those.
I am a big believer in the idea that making things yourself from fresh local ingredients always tastes better than if you buy it in a packet. And at Dirty Dawgs BBQ our main focus is on making everything taste the best it can. So, that’s why we will be making so much ourselves, including our sausages, smoked meats, ferments like sauerkraut and kimchi, bread for buns, and our range of bbq and hot sauces.
What’s your connection to Bradford?
I was born and raised here. I have been away for a few years now, but it is a homecoming being back and being able to work in the vibrant Bradford community again.
Why do you think Bradford’s a great place to open a business right now?
There is so much going on right now. I think we are going to see some really amazing things coming out of Bradford over the next few years. The two new big music venues will attract plenty of people back into the city and that will make all the other businesses up their game, which can only be a good thing for the city. In my opinion, Bradford has always been underrated as a city, but the community spirit is second to none. The way everyone is willing to do whatever they can to help other people succeed – from small things like sharing posts on social media for you or bigger things like giving up their time to help paint your new space or help you wash up. That’s why I think Bradford is always going to be a good place to set up a business.
What do you love about Bradford?
Again, it has to be the community! The ‘can do’ spirit of everyone pitching in together to get things done.
We ask everyone this – What does your perfect weekend in Yorkshire look like?
Oh, this is easy actually! I would take my tent out into the countryside, get some fresh air and have a few nights without my phone or laptop. Cook a big meal on an open fire with my friends and spend time with my son.
Dirty Dawgs opens this Friday and there is very limited space for the opening event. To make a reservation or find out more about Dirty Dawgs, head to their Facebook page. If you’re lucky enough to sample the delights at this new Bradford restaurant, we’d love to hear your thoughts and see some of your photos! Send them to Business@theyorkshirepress.co.uk with “DIRTY DAWGS” as the email subject.