Father-son duo builds barbecue business

June 12, 2019

A father-son competition barbecue team is branching into pop-up lunches, catering and workshops. They’ve also created a log book they’re selling on Amazon and launched a YouTube channel to help others improve their skills.

Zach Bauer and his father, Paul, took their hobby of smoking meat and started on a competition circuit as Holy Smokes Barbeque a couple of years ago, traveling in a three-state area for Kansas City Barbecue Society events.

They did a couple of pop-up events for the public last year, but those efforts are gaining steam this year. Holy Smokes was part of the rib cook-off at PorkPalooza II, taking second place against a dozen area pit masters.

At this point, their operation is small. “We don’t do the whole food truck thing,” said Bauer, who works full-time as a graphic designer and is the church planter and pastor at Red Door Church. His father is retired. They haul their converted milk tank smoker around on a small trailer and stick to bookings for parties and other gatherings. Their specialties are pork, brisket and ribs, all smoked with hickory wood, and their popular side dishes include beans and coleslaw, he said.

They sell their Hog Heaven dry rub, which Bauer describes as a “sweet heat style,” on their website, theholysmokesbbq.com. And they’ve created the log book, which is available on Amazon.

“It allows you to track cooks, temperatures, seasonings and sauces,” Bauer said. “In the barbecue world, there are so many variables and steps and things. This will help in ultimately getting better at it as you cook.”

They also have started to share their knowledge with others who love to barbecue. They launched a YouTube channel that offers tutorials and recipes.

“We have a few barbecue companies we are in discussion with to become brand ambassadors for, and that will help us continue to share barbecue with more people.”

They now offer group barbecue classes, too.

“We try to find organizations that want to do a fun group activity,” Bauer said. “We offer a three-hour shop class on understanding barbecue: how to prep meat, trim it and then how to smoke it. We also have food for them to taste.”

So far, Holy Smokes has 10 classes scheduled through fall in a four-state area.

The workshops, events and competitions provide one of the essential ingredients to cooking.

“Barbecue is more than just fire and meat, it’s about the journey and conversations you have along the way,” Bauer said. “That’s what makes it special.”

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Father-son duo builds barbecue business

A father-son competition barbecue team is branching into pop-up lunches, catering and workshops, and they’ve also created a log book they’re selling on Amazon and YouTube channel to help others improve their skills.

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