Smokeout BBQ: Doing Business in Clintonville
Posted by cmh gourmand on March 24, 2013
I first noticed the Smoke Out BBQ trailer set up for the BBQ trade one Saturday afternoon in the dead of winter. It was set up at Robbie’s Hobbies in Clintonville conveniently near my abode. Inconveniently, I had just eaten at Ray Ray’s. This niche spot in the Beechwood subsection of Clintonville hosted the mighty Per Zoot Food Truck for a few days last spring. Across the street, Beechwold Hardware hosted Tatoheads in the early days of the Tatonation’s birth. This is not the easiest part of town to start the mobile trade. The parking lots are small, the traffic is dense and there are blue hairs just around every corner getting ready to pull out right in front of you at 1 mph. However, the neighborhood loves to support new local businesses and there is a certain mobile karma in the area.
So back to my first encounter. I was full so I just bought the smallest sandwich possible and samples of each uniquely names sauce (Fargo, Athens and Amarillo). My diagnosis. Good sauce. Good que. I hoped that I might see them again. More Saturdays than not I saw them plying their trade at the corner and hoped they might stick it out. As it turns out, they will be so here is my exclusive world premiere interview with John Becker – the man with the handlebar mustache.
Who else works on Smoke Out with you?
A: I have a business partner, Eric Grant, and our wives may be on
location from time to time. Our sons will be learning the art in the
When did you first get interested in BBQ.
A:I spent summer and winter breaks of college working for a landscape
company. We would cut mature apple trees from a local orchard, split
the wood, and sell it to local BBQ joints. Back at OU in Athens,
through trial and error, I learned to take a fatty cut of meat, wood
smoke, and patience and turn a cheap cut of meat into something better
What is your BBQ style – Texas, Carolina, etc., if any?
A: I have eaten BBQ extensively in the Carolinas, Texas, Memphis, and
St. Louis. I enjoy good BBQ anywhere. The food we offer is the food we
like to eat with the meats being smoked by local cherry wood. Smoke
Out BBQ is pork oriented, but we also offer pulled chicken and brisket
on a rotating basis. The menu will expand once spring hits.
What inspired the trailer?
A:Eric and I both have experience in construction. We bought the
trailer shell and turned it into a fully functional kitchen ourselves.
You make many of your own sauces, any stories about that; family recipes, win any competitions, etc.
A: As much as possible, our offerings are homemade: sauces, rub, slaw, Mac N Cheese, etc. I’ll take a thumbs up or a smile from a customer who likes our food over an official award any day.
What are the next steps for Smoke Out? Do you hope to open a restaurant, do more catering?
A: I am just happy that I have the opportunity to share my favorite BBQ with my neighbors in Columbus.