Ok, so the other day we shared our personal love of barbecue and how it even made an appearance on our wedding day. Today we are going to dive right into the heart of the matter and tell you how Pork Barrel Barbecue got started and why it’s coming to Alexandria.
Heath Hall and Brett Thomson met as staffers in the office of U.S Senator Jim Talent of Missouri.
Conservative politics was a given but they also shared a mutual love of slow cooked pork, smoky ribs, tangy sauces and a strong belief in the power of small businesses.
One night, during yet another long session on pork barrel spending – and while eating pizza for the fifth night in a row – Heath and Brett had what can only be called a eureaka moment. Why not start their own small business and why not call it Pork Barrel Barbecue?
But, being the smart young men that they are, they did not quit their day jobs. And they decided to start small, with a single product, a seasoning rub. Fast forward to December 2008.
After endless experimenting in Heath’s kitchen and trial and error experiments with family and friends, Heath and Brett found a manufacturer and then a distribution system – pounding the pavement.
Their very first customer was our friend Steve Gatward at Let’s Meat on the Avenue in Del Ray. Their products now sell in 65 stores (including Harris Teeter, Ukrops and Balducci’s) in 4 states and the District of Columbia and on the Pork Barrel Barbeque Web site.
Their next move was an appearance at Beer, Bourbon & BBQ day at National Harbor and then the Food and Wine Festival (also at National Harbor) where they met local food writer/critic and personal chef Jordan Wright. From there they moved to the Safeway National Capitol BBQ Battle in late June. And here’s where it gets interesting.
Armed with their trusty backyard Weber grill and a batch of sauce that Heath “whipped” up the night before, the boys went up against the legends of barbeque, some of whom were rolling with $40,000 custom grills. In a David and Goliath moment, Heath and Brett took 2nd place with their sauce and 4th place with pulled pork!
Capitalizing on their win, they replicated the sauce for mass production and had it on the market within two weeks.
Next? A call from local restaurant legends “Mango” Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn.
We’ll wrap up this amazing story how about how Pork Barrel Barbecue is coming to Alexandria in Part Three so stay tuned.
I am soooooooooo hungry,