Moe's BBQ - Mobeen
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started.
I’m married and am a father to the most incredible little boy named Ibrahim. I initially started BBQing because southern style halal smoked meat is extremely rare in all of North America. As a practicing Muslim, I only eat halal. Therefore, to enjoy smoked meat I had to learn to smoke it myself.
Over the years, it has been an enjoyable journey experimenting with various smoking techniques and creating different recipes. After perfecting my smoked meat, I decided it was time to open the first halal southern style smokehouse in Canada.
When did you realise cooking and/or BBQing was something you wanted to do for a living?
Cooking with fire has always fascinated me and BBQing has been a passion of mine for many years now. Over the years I have served my BBQ to numerous friends and family. The support and feedback of my loved ones gave me the confidence to realise that I can turn my passion for BBQ into a business.
What made you decide to open your own restaurant?
It was my intention to open a restaurant that would allow people a chance to enjoy the unique flavour of smoked meat. I also wanted this restaurant to be inclusive to the growing Muslim community in and around Ottawa. To this day I still get new customers, like myself previously, who have never experienced it due to its rarity. The surprise and joy that these customers get from trying my BBQ for the first time sparks so much joy in my heart. I wanted other people, like myself, who can only eat halal to also have a chance to smell the aroma and taste the flavourful tender smoked meat.
No doubt, the taste of smoked meat is unlike any other. However, for me, it is not just about the BBQing. I like to serve people my food and welcome them to my restaurant personally. Most days you will find me both at the front of the house as well as in the back kitchen at Moe’s BBQ.
In the year that we have been open, I have had a chance to meet people from all over the world. Moe’s BBQ has allowed me to build friendships with so many of my customers that otherwise would not have been possible.
Did you always know you wanted to run your own business one day?
I knew I wanted to run my own business fairly early on. I like the creative freedom and the ability to have full control over my vision. This specific business allows me to combine my passion for BBQ and my wish to serve the people in my community.
I am glad I was able to accomplish my goal because the enjoyment I get out of BBQing is something I cannot put into words. Everyday I learn something new because of this business.
What’s something you’ve learned since starting your business that surprised you?
Like many business owners know, a business can be all-consuming. I’m surprised how many hours I can put into my business and still enjoy the work. To me it doesn’t feel like work because I love what I do.
What’s it been like being a part of the Ottawa restaurant community?
Being a part of the restaurant community has been really nice. People are truly kind, supportive and are always full of helpful suggestions. I take every suggestion seriously and am constantly trying to improve. Their kindness and support has meant a lot to me.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
Hands down, my favourite dish has to be the beef back ribs with a side of poutine.
When you’re not busy in the smokehouse, what’s your favourite place to go in Ottawa?
My business is still fairly new so it is rare for me to have much time off. However, on my day off I like to try new places that I have learned about from food bloggers or have found on Instagram. I’m also really close to my family so I try to spend as much time together with my parents and my in-laws as possible.
What other hobbies or passions do you have?
I have numerous other hobbies and passions. I like collecting mechanical watches, love mountain biking, fishing and go karting.
If you didn’t have Moe’s BBQ, what would you be doing instead?
Opening Moe’s BBQ has been something I have envisioned and worked towards for a long time now. However, if I didn’t have Moe’s BBQ my future would still have been in the food industry. Cooking in general is a passion of mine and I love serving people my food.