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Behind The Badge: Davis County Sheriff’s Detective David Evans sticks to his ribs with a smokin’ side business

Behind the Badge

FARMINGTON (ABC4 News) – One Davis County officer really knows how to grill a suspect…and a lot of other things as well.

Detective David Evans of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office can really rake you over the coals…a skill he uses as an investigator and on the weekends as a professional barbecuer.

He’s committed to serve and protect…and to serve up some of the best ribs in Utah. Detective Evans learned the art of Texas-style smoking from his father and now runs Cornell’s BBQ.

“The key is slow, low and slow,” Det. Evans told Behind The Badge. “If I’m smoking pork ribs, it’s about a seven hour process from the time that I start my fire to the time that I pull ’em off…I hard smoke ’em for about three hours. I pull ’em off and I let ’em steam for about an hour. That brings ’em to tenderness and I put ’em back on the grill for barbecue and that just kind of glazes the barbecue sauce on.”

After working in construction for 15 years, Detective Evans got into law enforcement 13 years ago, starting as a corrections officer in the Davis County Jail and working his way up to investigator, which unlike TV police shows, can be as slow and methodical as his smoking process.

“Not a lot of fast action, no monster chases,” he laughs. “I have cases that will drag for six months because maybe you can’t interview somebody or there’s some more investigation needed. There’s just so many little things that go into it.”

He says there are some parallels to cooking on his custom built Texas smoker and solving a case.

“You have to pay attention to the details. You really have to look between the lines and you have to look for things that may not even be there,” he explained. “In the same way, you know, it’s kind of an art to be able to smoke. You can’t just throw it on the grill and leave it. There’s certain ways things have to be done. You have to constantly be adjusting.”  

On Saturday he kicked off National Police Week by cooking a feast for his fellow officers and other first responders…displaying the skills he’s learned operating Cornell’s after an admittedly rough start five years ago.

“I couldn’t keep my fire going,” he remembers about his first event. “I had a generator that broke and I just couldn’t keep up with the demand and I think that first weekend I ended up throwing out like 40 lbs of chicken because I couldn’t finish the cooking process… I thought about it like ‘I can’t do this. This is not me. I don’t want to fail no more’ but as I got goin’ it got so much easier. I can fire that thing up. I can load it up. I can go sit and watch a program for an hour and come back and it’s still goin’. I’ve gotten so good at it it just makes it a lot easier as I learn and I still have a lot of learning to do so I can’t wait to see myself 10 years down the line.” 

Detective Evans can usually be found cooking at the Ogden Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s in the summer. He says they will not allow food vendors this year but he might be able to cater your next event.

For more information on Cornell’s BBQ, go to or
Cornell’s BBQ on Instagram.


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