“Oh God, it’s terrible!”
Logan Cahoon, perhaps the only person alive in the middle of the Yogi Instructor and BBQ Pitmaster Venn Diagram, is stating his opinion of the state of barbecue in Santa Monica (and in his opinion, most of Los Angeles).
In his eyes, the city just doesn’t have a solid BBQ contender. This, of course, broke his meat-loving heart.
“I tried all the places, all of ‘em,” he said.
What, pray tell, were these BBQ joints missing? Maybe the brisket wasn’t burnt on the edges enough? Maybe the sauce wasn’t as tangy-spicy as he hopped or, I dunno, something with the sides?
“Everything,” Cahoon says with a half-joking laugh. “It just wasn’t the same as the South. Not the same quality, flavor, any of that.”
Cahoon, currently the owner of the food truck MeatHead BBQ, now wants to transplant his beloved Southern-rooted BBQ to the Santa Monica masses. He’s been hosting pop-ups of sorts around Venice and will now be regularly serving outside of Santa Monica Brew Works and KCRW’s Night Market at the Bungalow.
Before yoga and before attempting to disrupt the BBQ scene in SaMo, however, the Jacksonville-born barbecuer found himself in his home state of Florida, dissatisfied with where his life was heading.
“I was very unhappy with my career in finance,” Cahoon said. “I felt like I was going to be trapped in my hometown and trapped in life. I hadn’t left the region before. I was 26 and it was time to make a change. I knew I’d end up with a wife and kids and locked in forever if I didn’t make a change.”
Cahoon packed up and headed west, picking Santa Monica for what he says are obvious reasons.
“Good weather, diversity and options to find a new path in life,” he said. “That’s all you need.”
Cahoon found an apartment off 6th and Broadway after about a week of searching. Soon after, the 6’4 285-pounder went full-Santa Monica and began teaching yoga at YogaWorks for a few years, building a steady client base that grew to know and love the big yogi.
Stagnation, however, hit again.
“The career trajectory of being a yoga teacher in Santa Monica is like being an actor,” he said. “There are so many people doing the exact same thing. I didn’t see a viable financial future in it.”
Cahoon would smoke meats and prepare meals for friends whenever his life hit forks in roads such as this one. One friend told Cahoon that his food was so good that he should sell it, an idea that was made flesh when Cahoon decided to email a local chef. (Cahoon preferred not to name the chef.)
The chef, like many Santa Monicans, took a spill on a Bird scooter. He broke his arm and couldn’t cook or cut much of anything. Cahoon offered to be his hands if the chef would clue him in on some tricks of the BBQ trade. The chef agreed.
He apprenticed for months, learning about different styles of BBQ, where to find high-quality meats and more. When his apprenticeship was over, Cahoon began to sell food to his yoga clients, who were enthusiastic about what he had to sell.
Cahoon soon traveled to renowned BBQ havens such as Austin, Texas to test the mettle of his meat. It was during these trips that his confidence in his BBQing ballooned.
“I realized my food was good,” he said. “I felt confident in selling to anyone. I had to ask myself, where would people buy my food?”
Cahoon pondered a name for his new BBQ vehicle. Something catchy… but who would he sell too? People that need protein… Muscles…
And thus MeatHead BBQ was born, initially selling at Muscle Beach in Venice.
Cahoon says the Southern BBQ-style and his high-quality food set him apart from other BBQ joints. Cahoon still teaches yoga (at Equinox) but now also works at a meat distributor, giving him direct access to a swath of top of the line meats.
“I’m very anal about the quality of my food,” Cahoon said, noting he’s used wagyu brisket and tri-tip sourced from Creekstone Farm, for instance.
“I only use the highest quality meats, my rubs are sugar-free and MSG-free and my sauces are mostly vinegar-based with minimal sugar. I want to give you delicious food that makes you feel good.”
Cahoon says he has lofty goals for MeatHead BBQ. A brick and mortar store sounds good, sure, but Cahoon wants to get those Southern-tinged sauce and rubs into as many hands as possible, hoping one day he can sell those on a mass scale.
Until then, Cahoon says he’s content meeting Santa Monicans, converting them into his #namasteak lifestyle, one customer at a time.
“I just want to share my love of cooking and food and barbecue with the community. Growing up in the South, [BBQ] brought everyone together. All our buddies would be excited to join at a table for barbecue and it was communal … I want to bring that passion and love and culture and impart it to people here in Santa Monica.”
MeatHead BBQ will be at Santa Monica Brew Works in August every Monday as well as Friday August 2, Sunday August 11 and Saturday August 24. MeatHead BBQ will also appear at KCRW’s Night Market at Bungalow August 8, 15 and 22.
For more information, visit MeatHeadBBQLA.com