The History of the East Cape Smokehouse
East Cape Smoke House came into existence in January of 1996, when
Clarence Moyers, a wayward criminal defense attorney from Texas,
arrived in the small dusty Baja town of Los Barriles. At the time,
Clarence was driven by what some observers noted was nothing more
than a pipe dream, that is, to leave it all behind to the north,
find a place on the beach somewhere on the Baja, and figure out
how to make just enough money to be able to stay awhile.
Perhaps its necessary to back up a bit in order to do this
story any justice. First, its important to note that prior
to his arrival in Los Barriles, Clarence had traveled the world
performing extensive, if not exhaustive, studies on the ancient
phenomena known as fishing. Through his studies and explorations,
Clarence came to realize that fishing was pretty cool and that he
wanted to do more of it if he possibly could. He also realized that
practicing criminal law in Texas was not all that cool and that
he wanted to do less of that if he possibly could, preferably none.
It is also important to note that sometime much prior to his arrival
in the small dusty town of Los Barriles, Clarences son Chris
had given him a very important gift, one that would soon provide
the impetus for Clarences journey south. The gift . . . .
a small home smoker, you know, the $60 model from Costco. Anyway,
Clarence became quite proficient with that little piece of crap
smoker, so much so that he began to engage in delusions of grandeur,
thinking that he may actually have a future in this sort of thing.
Thus, the pipe dream was born.
Soon, Clarence began having trouble concentrating. He was having
difficulty performing even the most menial tasks, like tying his
tie, tucking in his shirt, brushing his teeth, remembering to bring
along his briefcase to court appearances, etc. He has since been
diagnosed with having been afflicted with fishing on the brain.
It was in this disheveled state that Clarence made the fateful decision
to shut down his law practice and move to Baja and open up a smoke
house. His closest amigos thought he was freaking crazy! As it turns
out, they were right, he was and is crazy . . . . like a fox.
Anyway, Clarence arrived in Los Barriles armed with little more
than his pipe dream, a used CHU-350 Enviro-Pak smoker, a used 6x9
walk-in cooler, a little single unit vac-sealer (with the stunning
capability to seal one package of fish at a time, and up to two
per minute if manned by only the most skilled employees), and a
6 stainless steel table. Clearly, a star was born.
Clarence rented a locale at the now famous Plaza Del Pueblo and
opened up shop. Never mind that Clarence didnt know how to
smoke in his new oven. Its little details like that, which
have never failed to deter Clarence, and which make him something
of a Don Quixote of fish smoking. Viewing his own ignorance as nothing
more than a slight inconvenience, Clarence promptly informed the
locals that he would smoke their fish for free, in return for them
lending him their fish for him to practice with. To
this day, Clarence proudly proclaims, and the locals concur, that
he ruined more than a roomful of fish learning how to use
that smoker. Not to be deterred, Clarence worked tirelessly,
perfecting his brining, drying, and cooking techniques. Many countless
hours were spent over cold beer and warm tequila as Clarence painstakingly
developed a science and perfected an art. Thankfully, the fish wasnt
Later on that semester, into the shop walked Pizza Dave
Manuel. Dave had recently relieved himself of his duties at the
local pizzeria, Mananas. Dave needed a job and Clarence, by then
known as Smoker Charlie, needed some help. This, amigos,
was a most fortuitous event in the history of the East Cape Smokehouse.
Quickly, it became evident that another star had been born and Dave
Manuel was soon known simply as . . . . Smokey Dave.
Smokey Dave immediately made his superstar qualities evident, hiring
and firing, smoking and joking, drinking and stinking his way to
East Cape stardom. Smokey, whose penchant for taking on businesses
in distress and turning them into profitable, successful endeavors,
quickly fell by the wayside. Smokey Dave had met his match in the
East Cape Smokehouse. Nevertheless the two amigos, somewhat of an
odd couple in their own right, Clarence with his enviable ability
to always look at the bright side of matters, even where failure
and the threat of bankruptcy loomed at every turn, and Smokey Dave,
with his constant striving for perfection, made a valiant go of
it. Together, they slowly transformed the East Cape Smokehouse into
a veritable force in the Baja fishing industry. They commissioned
the construction of a website, complete with a fishing report which
was dedicated to providing anglers with the most comprehensive,
up to date, information known to man and fish. People began to stand
up and take notice of these two fellows, mocking turned to admiration,
disgust turned to tolerance, insult turned to acceptance. It was
truly a beautiful sight to behold. The rest is history you might
say, but alas, there was still to be another twist to the story.
A few years later, growing weary of the everyday grind of doing
business in Mexico, of hearing the endless fish fables of drunk
anglers anxious to have anyone listen to their blabbering exclamations
of the one that got away, of missing out on all the good parties
because they were stuck in the smoke house making sure the fish
got processed, and thus, never getting ANY, the two improbable amigos
wondered aloud with sly smiles, whether it was time to ride off
into the Baja sunset. Enter Chris Moyers, son of Smoker Charlie,
and destined to become the premier provider of smoked seafood products
on the face of the earth!
Chris, a marginally successful criminal defense attorney and partner
in a law firm in San Diego, caught wind of the farcical rumblings
down south, and soon made preparations to attain his rightful destiny,
prepared to do so by force, if necessary. Chris soon followed in
his fathers footsteps and quit the practice of law and moved
to Baja in order to take over the East Cape Smokehouse. What a dumbass!
Of course, Chris prefers the term naïve. The move enabled Smoker
Charlie, who by then had legally changed his name to Stoker,
and Smokey Dave to spend some quality time fishing, drinking beer,
and chasing women, while Chris got to work his ass off! Chris thinks
theyre bastards in the truest sense of the word.
Making the most of a crappy situation, Chris, like his father before
him, born with the ability to look at the bright side of things
(dumbass!!), decided to kick this thing in the ass and take it to
another level. Getting the last laugh, Chris engineered the move
of the operation to the current locale, the previous site of Mananas.
Hah! In his first year, Chris quadrupled the output capability of
the operation and began providing service to Rancho Leonero, Spa
Buena Vista, Rancho Buena Vista, Hotel Los Barriles, Martin Verdugos,
and yes, Punta Colorada. Chris, by then known affectionately in
most circles as Smokedogg, a.k.a. Smokedoggydogg, was
clearly on his way to superstardom.
In his second year, Smokedogg came up with yet another ingenious
idea, his greatest to date. Smokedogg decided that it would be
neat if he could open up a shop in Los Cabos (what a dumbass!!!),
in order to service those poor anglers who had to put up with maggot
ridden smoked fish offered by some loser in Cabo who doesn’t
care about customer satisfaction. It was decide that a location
near the airport would serve Los Cabos clients the best. Thus the “Airport
Depot” was born. It was a great idea in theory but in practice
problems became apparent almost immediately. First, the maggot
farmer in Cabo was a less than welcoming host when Smokedogg arrived
on the docks in Cabo, ready to claim his rightful destiny as the
premier processor of smoked seafood products in southern Baja (including
Cabo). Numerous threats were endured by Smokedogg in those early
days, including but not limited to, threats to be banned from the
country due to immigration restrictions, to threats of bodily harm,
the latter being Smokedogg’s main concern. Another problem
which became apparent was the fact that the “Airport Depot” was
too far from the docks in Cabo, Playita, and Palmilla.
Being ever the optimist but readily admitting that he could at
times be somewhat of a dumbass, Smokedogg decided that it would
make more sense to move the airport location down to the marina
in Cabo, than it would to cede to the demands of the maggot farmer
and hightail it out of town. As such, it was done and Smokedogg
opened up our beautiful Cabo Marina location. The fact that said
location is slightly bigger than an average walk-in closet was
neither a deterrent, nor a motivating factor in Smokedogg’s
quest to expand his ever-expanding fish processing empire.
In the beginning, times were tough as the maggot farmer, by then
evidencing his truly evil nature, had begun mounting a somewhat
successful anti-gringo campaign among the various charter fleets.
The funds were tight and Smokedogg actually considered on numerous
occasions to pull the plug and go belly up in Cabo. Slowly but
surely however, the charter captains began to realize that our
products and services were far and away superior to those of the
evil maggot farmer. Better still, our smoked fish was actually
edible as opposed to something not even their gatos (cats) could
As of the date of the launch of the new website at www.bajapapas.com
the Cabo Marina location is thriving! The evil maggot farmer is
out of the fish processing business! The last we heard, he was
selling timeshares to gringos at one of the local resorts . . .
. beware of a big ol’ dumb lookin dude named Gustavo that’s
selling timeshares. Anyhow, it’s simply proof positive that
good always triumphs over evil, amigos. That, and the fact that
good tasting fish triumphs over bad tasting fish any day. It remains
to be seen whether the expansion of the ever-expanding empire will
pan out, but you can be sure that Smokedogg will proceed with the
same blind ambition that was instilled by his father, the infamous
Stoker. Stay tuned . . . .
In closing, Smokedoggydogg would like everyone to know that this
latest escapade, the changing of the name to Baja Papa’s
in order to facilitate the global expansion of the empire, and
the new website, complete with membership capabilities, was all
done with the ultimate goal of continuing to provide you, the customer,
with the best Baja experience imaginable, whether you're actually down on the
East Cape fishing, traveling down the Baja Peninsula, or simply sitting
in your office or home wishing you were engaged in either of the
aforementioned Baja adventures.
That being said, we proudly bring you Baja Papa's East Cape Smokehouse,
providing quality Baja style smoked seafood products, comprehensive
fishing reports, and now the ultimate Baja Club Membership package,
and doing so with generations of Family pride.
Chris Moyers, a.k.a. Smokedoggydogg