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Pork Barrel BBQ Returns To Capitol Hill – Testifies on Job Creation & Entrepreneurship Before House Small Business Committee

“A Job Creation Roadmap: How America’s Entrepreneurs Can Lead Our Economic Recovery”

Testimony of:

Heath Hall
President and Co-Founder
Pork Barrel BBQ
Alexandria, VA

Before the

Committee on Small Business
United States House of Representatives

March 21, 2012

The Honorable Sam Graves, (R-MO), Chairman
The Honorable Nydia Velazquez, (D-NY), Ranking Member

Good afternoon Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Velazquez and members of the Committee. Thank you for hosting this important hearing on entrepreneurship and for your invitation to provide testimony. My name is Heath Hall, and I am the President and co-founder of Pork Barrel BBQ, a BBQ sauce and spice rub company, with a newly opened restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia.

Small businesses and the entrepreneurs who create them fuel the engine that drives the American economy and as a result the success or failure of small businesses determines the overall health of our nation. It is an honor to return to Capital Hill where I once served as Senior Legislative Assistant to Senator Jim Talent, a former Chairman of this distinguished Committee, and perhaps more importantly the site where two entrepreneurs converged and the Pork Barrel BBQ journey began.

In early 2006 during a heated Senate budget debate my business partner and Pork Barrel BBQ co-founder, Brett Thompson, and I were two fatigued Senate staffers working late into the evening discussing the limited late night dining options on Capitol Hill. I’m sure you’ve found yourselves in this position more than once. While we discussed the lack of a good barbecue joint in Washington, D.C. and our desire for barbecue that night the Senate began to engage in a debate over the merits of pork barrel spending. At that very moment the idea for Pork Barrel BBQ was born.

Like so many entrepreneurs it took us several years to transform our idea into a blueprint for what we hoped would become a successful business. In June of 2008 we dusted off the idea to create Pork Barrel BBQ and began to take the necessary steps to move forward. After several weeks in the kitchen we were ready to convene the first meeting of the Pork Barrel BBQ Kitchen Cabinet, a team of friends and family who would be our tasters, and ask them to critique several variations of what would eventually become our first product, Pork Barrel BBQ All-American Spice Rub. After a second meeting we had the recipe for our first product and figured it would be smooth sailing from there. We couldn’t have been more wrong, for the challenges of entrepreneurship were just preparing to raise their ugly heads.

There is a critical point where every small business start-up and the entrepreneurs founding it have to make the decision to move forward and invest their own time and money with zero guarantee of getting anything back. For most entrepreneurs, including us, that question presented itself in the early stages when we were confronted with many forks in the road where one direction led to locking the door and heading for the safety and comfort of going no further and the other led down a path filled with challenges including interpreting government regulations, seeking adequate capital, and securing retail outlets and customers.

These challenges can make the heartiest entrepreneurs weak in the knees. There were more times than I can count in the first year of our company when we asked ourselves if attempting to reach our end goal was worth the risk, given the time away from our families and uncertainty associated with moving forward. I say this with the belief that we had it easier than most entrepreneurs as a result of our education as lawyers and familiarity with the regulatory process as former Congressional staffers. For many, if not most, getting through these challenges means spending precious capital, which is needed for product development or production (essential to elevating an idea to the point it can be considered a viable company) and on advisors who can instruct them on how to make their way through these early and frequent minefields.

After months of combing through state, local and federal regulations to ensure we were in compliance, Pork Barrel BBQ was formally founded in December 2008. Many friends and family members thought we were crazy founding Pork Barrel BBQ at the peak of the economic crisis, but we wanted to prove that a small business could succeed if it was founded by entrepreneurs with a tireless work ethic, who had a great product and a few people who believed in them enough to provide them critical advice and give them a chance. It was our goal to prove that the free market was still the best path to success for entrepreneurs and small business to take on their journey to grab their slice of the “American Dream.”

We sold our first tin of Pork Barrel BBQ All-American Spice Rub on December 4, 2008, and over the next three weeks sold nearly $2,000 in rub – if you knew any of our friends or family that holiday season you probably received a tin of our rub as a gift. We were flying high and felt like nothing could stand between us and success. That feeling lasted for only a few weeks before the cold reality of the challenges associated with breaking into the retail world hit us square in the face. We were an unknown, undercapitalized business in the land of giants. We needed everyone, while no one needed us. We were once again at a fork in the road where we had to decide whether to expand our risk or pack it up and go home.

We reassessed where we were and where we wanted to be and what it was going to take to get there. The first realization was that we needed every ounce of capital we could find, which at the time meant every ounce of capital we could personally contribute. Out of necessity we were forced to be good stewards of our limited funds and do the overwhelming majority of the work ourselves.

Because we had limited funds in addition to limited access to additional capital we decided that we would take nothing out of the company, every cent of profit would be reinvested and allow for greater growth. To this day, even as our company has been much more successful than the vast majority of small businesses, we have reinvested every dollar of profit back into the company. In order to do this we have both maintained full time employment outside of Pork Barrel BBQ, and still do, but this has allowed us and our company to survive. The disadvantage of this arrangement is that we are often forced to miss opportunities because duty calls at our day jobs. We believe this has led to a slower pace of growth than we would have realized by now if we had been able to dedicate our full time and energy to growing the business.

It is important to note here that every extra regulation, requirement, or delay that government imposes is a burden that new small businesses have to overcome. These burdens cost entrepreneurs time and money and often lead to many small businesses prematurely calling it quits, opting to create fewer jobs and slowing innovation. I’m not saying that none of the regulations were necessary or justified. They often were, but I do want the Committee to understand that they come at a cost in time and money which small businesses must pay and which can not be used to grow a company and create jobs.

Our second realization was that we would need to increase our brand identity if we had any hopes of playing on the same field as the larger and more developed businesses. The challenge was doing this on a shoe string budget. We accomplished this by targeting social media, a rapidly growing and virtually free avenue of marketing that many of barbecues’ well known brands had failed to take advantage of at the time. Within a few months we became the most followed barbecue company, which we still hold the honor of today, and one of the 100 most followed food companies on Twitter. This may seem insignificant to a Fortune 500 company, but it was the key that was about to unlock a great deal of opportunity for Pork Barrel BBQ.

In May 2009 we received an unforeseen bit of luck in the form of an inquiry from a producer at Mark Burnett Productions informing us of their interest in having Pork Barrel BBQ appear on Burnett’s new ABC reality show, Shark Tank. Burnett’s team had discovered us through Twitter and thought we were an ideal candidate to pitch our business to the Sharks on national television.

Shark Tank was an opportunity for us that most entrepreneurs will never enjoy. It allowed us to address two of our core concerns at both an accelerated pace and at one time. We were being given the opportunity to acquire much needed capital through an investment from the Sharks. In our case we secured an investment from Shark and New York real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran who remains a valuable business partner to this day. We also gained an unimaginable amount of national exposure that would take most entrepreneurs’ years or longer to attain. I sit before you today and can say with no hesitation that Pork Barrel BBQ would not be the national company we have grown into today, with our sauces and rub for sale in over 3,000 stores in more than 40 states, had it not been for our opportunity and determination to take full advantage of our appearance on Shark Tank.

I believe Shark Tank is one of the greatest things to happen to entrepreneurship in America in recent years. Not only does it provide a few dozen entrepreneurs, like Brett and I, the chance to go from an unknown to a national brand overnight, it is also inspiring thousands of entrepreneurs across America to shake their fears and decide the risk of entrepreneurship is worth taking. I know this because we receive emails and phone calls from entrepreneurs every week telling us how our success and Shark Tank has given them the confidence to take their shot at reaching for their piece of the American Dream. This renewed passion for entrepreneurship can only be a good thing for America.

The exposure we received on Shark Tank moved us from the 10 yard line to the 50 yard line almost overnight. Access to capital, although not gushing in, became more readily available, retail accounts who once slammed their doors in our face were now reaching out to us and consumers who had been loyal to a particular barbecue sauce for years were giving us a try. Success was ours and the troubles had passed us, right? Not quite.

Yes we were attaining levels of success that we never quite thought possible only months earlier, but new challenges were revealing themselves and they almost always ended back at the need for additional capital. With our new found notoriety we had gone from 10 stores to 100 stores to 500 stores to 1,000 stores and beyond in just weeks. New stores were demanding our product and old stores were asking for new products. As we began to expand our reach and the number of products we were offering we needed more and more capital to pay for product development, production, marketing, and food demos.

We were fortunate to meet Hunt Burke of Burke and Herbert Bank, an Alexandria, Virginia bank that believes in the entrepreneurial spirit and was as excited about Pork Barrel BBQ as Brett and I. To this day, as we grow, we continue to expand our relationship with Burke and Herbert and know that our growth is in large part to their partnership. I urge the Committee to encourage banks to support the endeavors of small business and entrepreneurs and complement them when they do. But again, banks must deal with their own regulations. After the financial crisis, the government became very concerned about banks assuming risk and passed new laws and regulations designed to minimize risky loans. That was understandable, but again, it came at a cost: fewer banks are willing to take a chance on companies like ours.

To support our rapid growth and continue to increase our available capital we have taken on additional investors over the past two years, an often necessary move that is difficult for entrepreneurs. It is hard to give up part of the company you have fought so hard to build with your bare hands. That being said, had we not made this decision there would have been times where difficult decisions would have potentially led to the end of our company.

I would be remiss if I failed to let the Committee know that there are many large businesses in America who support the entrepreneurial spirit of small and local business. In our case Harris Teeter grocery store took a chance on an unknown barbecue sauce, well before Men’s Health magazine named it the best barbecue sauce in America and one of “The 125 Best Foods for Men” and put us on their shelves. Costco began selling our product less than a month after they first tasted it and is truly one of the great American cultivators of small business taking brands such as Visio and Stacy’s Pita Chips to million dollar companies. Safeway has been among our biggest supporters since we first met in 2010 supporting us with unsubsidized promotions and ads. I believe it is important to note that America’s big businesses often play a vital role in the success of America’s small businesses.

In the three years since we founded Pork Barrel BBQ we have been forced to confront many challenges. Challenges that presented different paths that could have led to the dissolution of our company, but armed with the entrepreneurial spirit we fought to stay above water and inch towards our goal of proving that the free market is alive and well and the best way for an entrepreneur to grab their piece of the American Dream. Today you can find Pork Barrel BBQ products in 3,000 stores in over 40 states, a number we believe will reach 5,000 and all 50 states and several foreign countries this year. We have also opened our first Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, and invite all of you to come dine with us in the near future. The accomplishment that I am most proud of is that we have created more than 40 jobs with the opening of our new restaurant and will likely see this number rise in the coming months as we open two additional restaurants in Del Ray, a sushi bar and Asian fusion restaurant.

We have attained much success, but know that challenges still await us as we continue on our journey, for the entrepreneur can never rest on their past laurels, they must always focus on the future.

Although I do not have specific policy recommendations for the Committee I would say that in my opinion, the average small business entrepreneur doesn’t expect or want to be unregulated. Pork Barrel BBQ takes quality and safety very seriously. We take pride in offering an affordable gourmet product that is high quality, good tasting, and safe for people to consume and is produced by manufactures that are current and have scored high on all required inspections. We all want safe workplaces, clean environments, and food safety to name a few areas where regulations impact small businesses.

The problem in my view is that there is no effective safeguard in the system to make sure that regulations are written and enforced in a way that minimizes the burden on honest, well-intentioned small business entrepreneurs. One approach I would encourage the Committee to look into would be for the government to adopt a partnership approach to regulation whenever possible. Allow entrepreneurs and their businesses to show that they want, in good faith, to comply and cooperate. In these cases it seems far more productive and less costly to all parties to partner with these business rather than adopting an adversarial attitude that leads to costly fines for mistakes that were made in good faith and that had no impact on public health and safety. Small businesses like ours do often feel like the government has a “gotcha” attitude towards our efforts, lying in wait to penalize us for paperwork violations or other errors that really have no relationship to the important goals regulations are meant to advance.

I would like to reiterate that America is still the land of opportunity and when given the chance an entrepreneur’s idea combined with the power of the free market can lead to amazing things. If America is to emerge from its economic woes it will be on the back of the entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial spirit that has defined America for generations. It takes courage to be an entrepreneur, in addition to a solid work ethic, a great idea, determination to see that idea become reality, and the encouragement and support of a few people.

Elected officials should keep in mind the sacrifices and risks entrepreneurs take when considering ways to increase the number of successful small businesses in America. Entrepreneurs hope to make a lot of money by providing something of value and provide a lot of people with jobs that allow them to take care of their families in the years to come. But, it is the entrepreneur who has taken all the risk and invests his or her time and money into their endeavors with no guarantee of return. If small businesses are not allowed to enjoy the benefit of success when it happens, they will never take the risk of failure.

Thank you and I look forward to your questions.

 

Pork Barrel BBQ’s Competition Team Kicks Off 2012 BBQ Season with Reser’s Sponsorship

Pork Barrel BBQ logo

Pork Barrel BBQ’s Competition BBQ Team Kicks Off 2012 BBQ Season with Reser’s Sponsorship

Award-Wining BBQ team selected as one of three top-rated competition teams to represent Reser’s during 2012 BBQ season.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) March 14, 2012

Pork Barrel BBQ, the nation’s fastest-growing barbecue sauce company, announced today that their Pork Barrel BBQ Competition BBQ Team will be sponsored by Reser’s during the 2012 competition BBQ season. Reser’s, the leading North American provider of deli salads, fresh salads, side dishes and prepared foods, is sponsoring Pork Barrel BBQ and two additional top-rated competition BBQ teams to represent Reser’s at festivals, cook-offs, and barbecue competitions across the country this year.

Pork Barrel BBQ’s Competition BBQ Team, the reigning Grand Champions of the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle and winners of the 2011 Purdue National Chicken Championship, will serve as one of three national representatives for Reser’s on the professional competition BBQ circuit. Other sponsored teams include Pellet Envy, the 2009 KCBS Team of the Year led by pitmaster Rod Gray, and Meat, Inc., winner of numerous People’s Choice awards.

“Reser’s is proud to sponsor Pork Barrel BBQ for the 2012 competitive season,” said Teresa Carter, deli salad manager. “Just like Reser’s, Pork Barrel BBQ brings families together to enjoy great tasting food. Barbecue and potato salad are a match made in heaven.”

“We are honored to have Reser’s as a sponsor of the Pork Barrel BBQ competition barbecue Team,” said Heath Hall, president and pitmaster of Pork Barrel BBQ. “Whether we are smoking brisket at a contest or grilling steaks in our backyard for friends and family, we’re graded on the quality of our finished product. Reser’s has been receiving high marks for more than 60 years with their line of classic American sides which are made from scratch everyday using only the highest quality ingredients. We look forward to sharing the Reser’s story with barbecue fans around the country this year.”

Reser’s and Pork Barrel BBQ share common origins – both companies were founded by entrepreneurs who started making quality foods from their home kitchens and found a way to turn their passions into brands preferred by millions of households across the country. Today, Reser’s Fine Foods Inc. is recognized as one of the nation’s premier manufacturers of high-quality refrigerated food items sold to both restaurants and supermarkets. Reser’s remains a family owned and operated company that is dedicated to creating delicious, wholesome meals that nourish family ties and sustain family traditions.

Since founding Pork Barrel BBQ in 2009, Hall and Brett Thompson have become the barbecue industry’s most-watched entrepreneurs. Widely recognized as the winning entrepreneurs from ABC’s hit reality show Shark Tank, Hall and Thompson are known for their creative and innovative approaches to starting and growing a successful barbecue business. With accolades ranging from Men’s Health Magazine declaring Pork Barrel BBQ’s Original BBQ Sauce as one of the “125 Best Foods for Men” and the Washington Post’s Jim Shahin proclaiming Hall the winner of the Golden Rib award for his “accomplishments in food, business, and do-goodism,” the company continues to expand its barbecue-related offerings.

In 2011, Pork Barrel BBQ debuted a specialty BBQ-flavored peanut with FERIDIES, added Pork Barrel BBQ Mustard BBQ Sauce to their line of sauces, introduced the world’s first barbeque scented fragrance – Que, continued to earn top awards on the professional barbecue circuit, and opened the first Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia. In the first quarter of 2012, the company launched Pork Barrel BBQ Carolina Vinegar Sauce and had an update on their success on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Reser’s products can be found at Giant, Safeway, Food Lion, Save-A-Lot and Wegman’s in the Washington, DC area.

For more information about Pork Barrel BBQ, visit http://www.porkbarrelbbq.com and read about their latest updates and adventures on Facebook, Twitter (@porkbarrelbbq) and the company’s blog.

About Pork Barrel BBQ

Pork Barrel BBQ was founded in December 2008 during the peak of the economic crisis to prove that a company not owned or operated by the federal government could succeed, and that if you had a good idea, it was still possible to grab a piece of the American Dream. Pork Barrel BBQ founders, Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, ran the company out of the basement of their houses, selling their award winning BBQ products one bottle at a time. In less than one year, their Pork Barrel BBQ Sauces and Spice Rub were carried in over 1,000 stores in 40 states. Throughout their journey, they have stayed true to their mission – to unite the nation through the great tradition of BBQ, and bring bipartisan flavor to your next meal. The Pork Barrel BBQ Competition BBQ Team entered its first contest, The Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle, in June 2009, and walked away with two trophies – Second Place in the “Nations Best BBQ Sauce Contest” and Fourth Place for their pulled pork in the Memphis In May portion of the contest. Since then, the team has won multiple awards, including the 2011 Perdue National Chicken Championship, the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle in 2011, the “Chinet People’s Choice” award for best BBQ sauce in 2010 and other notable Memphis in May and Kansas City Barbecue Society BBQ competition accolades as well as having their Pork Barrel BBQ Original BBQ Sauce named Best Sauce in America and one of “The 125 Best Foods for Men” by Men’s Health Magazine in November 2010. For more information, visit http://www.PorkBarrelBBQ.com or follow Pork Barrel BBQ on Facebook.com/porkbarrelbbq and Twitter @porkbarrelbbq.

About Reser’s

Oregon-based Reser’s is the leading North American provider of deli salads, fresh salads, side dishes and prepared foods. Founded in 1950 by Earl and Mildred Reser, the company remains privately owned and operated and committed to providing delicious foods for the supermarket and food service industries. Reser’s employs more than 4,000 people in nearly 20 facilities in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit http://www.resers.com.

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Reser’s Selects Top-Rated Competition Barbeque Teams to Sponsor During 2012 Barbecue Season

Reser’s Selects Top-Rated Competition Barbeque Teams Pellet Envy, Pork Barrel BBQ, and Meat, Inc. to Sponsor During 2012 Barbecue Season

Reser’s is sponsoring three competitive barbecue teams: Representing the West Coast is Meat, Inc., winner of numerous People’s Choice awards, the Midwest features Pellet Envy, the 2009 KCBS Team of the Year, and serving as the East Coast representative is Pork Barrel BBQ, creator of the barbecue sauce Men’s Health magazine named the best BBQ sauce in America.

Beaverton, OR (PRWEB) March 14, 2012

‘Que season is officially underway and Reser’s, makers of America’s #1 potato salad, announced today it is sponsoring three competitive barbecue teams: Representing the West Coast is Meat, Inc., winner of numerous People’s Choice awards, the Midwest features Pellet Envy, the 2009 KCBS Team of the Year, and serving as the East Coast representative is Pork Barrel BBQ, creator of the barbecue sauce Men’s Health magazine named the best BBQ sauce in America.

“In addition to sponsoring the Kansas City Barbecue Society’s (KCBS) national BBQ tour, we are joining forces with three top barbecue teams across the country,” says Teresa Carter, category manager. “Barbecue lovers will be able to taste our salads and ‘slaw right alongside mouthwatering barbecue.”

Meat, Inc.
Meat, Inc. is a professional BBQ Team competing primarily in Southern California and Arizona. Finishing a successful 2011 season, Meat, Inc. ranked in the top five percent in chicken and pork rib categories and top 10 percent overall – out of more than 9,000 teams in the country. For more information, visit http://meatinc.blogspot.com/.

Aaron Black, pitmaster, states, “BBQ makes you think of family and friends – just like Reser’s famous potato salad and cole slaw. We look forward to sharing the Reser’s story with barbecue fans around the country this year.”

Pellet Envy
It is only natural that one of the country’s top barbecue competitors hails from Kansas City – a city known for its barbecue. Competing since 2001, Rod Gray, pitmaster has participated in more than 350 events from coast to coast. To date, Pellet Envy has won seventy-seven championships and has ended ten straight seasons as a top nationally ranked team. For more information visit http://www.pelletenvy.com.

Rod Gray states, “There is no star without a great supporting cast. For Pellet Envy, great salads and side dishes from Reser’s are the perfect pairing for our award-winning barbecue. “

Pork Barrel BBQ
Pork Barrel BBQ founders, Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, started the company out of the basement of their houses, selling their award winning BBQ sauce one bottle at a time. Today, their barbecue sauces and spice rub is carried in over 3,000 stores in 40 states. Throughout their journey, they have stayed true to their mission – to unite the nation through the great tradition of BBQ, and bring bipartisan flavor to your next meal. For more information visit http://www.porkbarrelbbq.com.

“Reser’s Fine Foods is as synonymous to the American Dream as potato salad is to a barbecue,” said Heath Hall, president and pitmaster. “We are honored to have Reser’s as a sponsor of the Pork Barrel BBQ competition barbecue team because they helped pave the road for aspiring entrepreneurs who, like them, started in their home with the hope of attaining a piece of the American Dream.”

About Reser’s

Oregon-based Reser’s is the leading North American provider of deli salads, fresh salads, side dishes and prepared foods. Founded in 1950 by Earl and Mildred Reser, the company remains privately owned and operated and committed to providing delicious foods for the supermarket and food service industries. Reser’s employs more than 4,000 people in nearly 20 facilities in the U.S. and Mexico. For more information, visit

 

Exclusive Shark Tank Videos

It has been a world wind journey for Pork Barrel BBQ since we first appeared on ABC’s hit showh Shark Tank in September of 2009. At the time we were in just over 100 stores in the DC area, today we are in over 3,000 stores nationwide and growing! We entered the Shark Tank with two products, our Original BBQ Sauce and our All-American Spice Rub. Today we have three additional sauces (Sweet, Mustard and coming soon Carolina Vinegar), BBQ Peanuts and of course Que, the world’s first barbeque scented fragrance. The combined power of our appearance on Shark Tank and the fierce loyalty of our fans and customers have truly allowed us to achieve the American Dream, something we never take for granted and strive to grow everyday.

As a way of saying thank you on the eve of our third appearance on Shark Tank we’d like to share some exclusive behind the scenes video of several of our exeriences with the Sharks as well as our Shark Tank audition video.

 

Pork Barrel BBQ to Appear on ABC’s Shark Tank on Friday, March 9th

Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant to Host Shark Tank Watch Party

Washington, DC (PRWEB) March 05, 2012

Entrepreneurs Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, co-founders of Pork Barrel BBQ, America’s fastest growing barbecue company, will appear on the March 9th episode of ABC’s hit reality show Shark Tank, which airs from 8:00pm to 9:00pm Eastern Standard Time.

To celebrate their success, Hall and Thompson are inviting guests to attend a Shark Tank watch party this Friday night, March 9th, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, at their Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia. Guests are invited to gather for dinner and watch Pork Barrel BBQ’s most recent Shark Tank episode, which will be broadcasting on several high-definition TV’s throughout the restaurant.

Friday’s episode will include an update on the nationwide success of Pork Barrel BBQ and the opening of their first Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant. Since Hall and Thompson entered the Shark Tank and pitched their company to the “Sharks” and landed an investment deal with New York Real Estate Mogul Barbara Corcoran on season one, Pork Barrel BBQ has become America’s fastest growing barbecue company.

Hall and Thompson are considered the most recognizable winning contestants of the Shark Tank series.  Since their appearance on season one of Shark Tank in late 2009, the Pork Barrel BBQ co-founders have become known for their creative and innovative approaches to starting and growing a successful business. With accolades ranging from Men’s Health Magazine declaring Pork Barrel BBQ’s Original BBQ Sauce as one of the “125 Best Foods for Men” and the Washington Post’s Jim Shahin proclaiming Hall the winner of the Golden Rib award for his “accomplishments in food, business, and do-goodism,” the company continues to expand its barbecue-related offerings.

In 2011, Pork Barrel BBQ debuted a specialty BBQ-flavored peanut with FERIDIES, added Pork Barrel BBQ Mustard BBQ Sauce to their line of sauces, introduced the world’s first barbeque scented fragrance – Que, continued to earn top awards on the professional BBQ circuit, and opened the first Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia. This year, the company debuted another new sauce, the Pork Barrel BBQ Carolina Vinegar Sauce, and is representing the nation on the competitive barbecue circuit as the reigning Grand Champions of the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle.

“Other entrepreneurs dream about putting their product in every store in America, but only my partners Heath Hall & Brett Thompson of Pork Barrel BBQ actually do it,” said Barbara Corcoran, star of ABC’s Shark Tank. “The genius of these unconventional guys is that they not only have the ability to cook-up a new idea a minute, they are willing to hustle and stay the course until it’s done.”

“Appearing on Shark Tank and receiving an investment from Barbara Corcoran were two key events in the success of Pork Barrel BBQ,” said Hall, President and co-founder of Pork Barrel BBQ. “We are most excited that these economically difficult times we’ve been able to turn an idea into a successful business that employs over 40 people. Hopefully other entrepreneurs will be inspired and encouraged by our success and attempt to grab their piece of the American Dream.”

Hall, Thompson, and their restaurant partners “Mango” Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn will be offering a specialty cocktail in honor of Barbara Corcoran and their Shark Tank experience during their Shark Tank watch party on Friday. Restaurant patrons attending the Shark Tank watch party can sip on a commemorative “Bourbon Shark Bite” cocktail, which will contain a souvenir shark floating in its depths.

For more information about Pork Barrel BBQ, visit http://www.porkbarrelbbq.com and read about their latest updates and adventures on Facebook.com/PorkBarrelBBQ, Twitter (@porkbarrelbbq) and the company’s blog.

About Pork Barrel BBQ
Pork Barrel BBQ was founded in December 2008 during the peak of the economic crisis to prove that a company not owned or operated by the federal government could succeed, and that if you had a good idea, it was still possible to grab a piece of the American Dream. Pork Barrel BBQ founders, Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, ran the company out of the basement of their houses, selling their award winning BBQ products one bottle at a time. In less than one year, their Pork Barrel BBQ Sauces and Spice Rub were carried in over 1,000 stores in 40 states. Throughout their journey, they have stayed true to their mission – to unite the nation through the great tradition of BBQ, and bring bipartisan flavor to your next meal. The Pork Barrel BBQ Competition BBQ Team entered its first contest, The Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle, in June 2009, and walked away with two trophies – Second Place in the “Nations Best BBQ Sauce Contest” and Fourth Place for their pulled pork in the Memphis In May portion of the contest. Since then, the team has won multiple awards, including the 2011 Perdue National Chicken Championship, the 2011 Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle, the “Chinet People’s Choice” award for best BBQ sauce in 2010 and other notable Memphis in May and Kansas City Barbecue Society accolades as well as having their Pork Barrel BBQ Original BBQ Sauce named Best Sauce in America and one of “The 125 Best Foods for Men” by Men’s Health Magazine in November 2010. For more information, visit http://www.PorkBarrelBBQ.com or follow Pork Barrel BBQ on Facebook and Twitter (@porkbarrelbbq).

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Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurateurs Host Chef Will Artley’s “Project 2312”

Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurateurs Host Chef Will Artley’s “Project 2312”

Restaurateurs partner on highly anticipated pop-up restaurant.

Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) January 30, 2012

Pork Barrel BBQ co-founders Heath Hall and Brett Thompson along with their restaurant partners “Mango” Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn are thrilled to be loaning the currently unoccupied space adjoining their Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria to Del Ray’s favorite chef and one of Washington, D.C.’s top chefs, Will Artley, for the opening of a special pop-up restaurant. Artley’s limited engagement restaurant, dubbed Project 2312 will host 41 guests per seating during its limited run from Monday, January 30 through Monday, February 6.

The highly anticipated Project 2312 pop-up restaurant is a first for Artley and the Del Ray community. Reservations for Project 2312 were sold out within 5 hours of Artley tweeting the RSVP phone number last week.

Chef Artley is planning an a la carte menu that will include a selection of hot and cold appetizers and 5-6 entrée options chosen from his greatest hits, along with craft cocktails, a limited wine selection and Pork City beer. Expect to see items like Salt Roasted Beat “Cannoli” with whipped Citrus and Cobb Terrine with Crispy-Smoked Pork Ears among the menu selection. Artley will also offer customers fare from a pickling bar with a selection of unique and creative pickles including pickled sunchokes, green beans and baby carrots.

“It is a great honor for me to open Del Ray’s first pop-up restaurant and bring my cutting edge cuisine back to the community I call home,” said Artley, chef of Project 2312. “The opportunity to reconnect with my old kitchen crews and cook for the neighborhood that made me the chef I am today is just an amazing feeling!”

Artley, who has been consulting with the Pork Barrel BBQ team on their recently opened barbecue restaurant, is most widely known for his role as chef of the Evening Star Café.

“Chef Artley has become a great friend and culinary mentor of mine and I’m excited Pork Barrel BBQ is able to support his passion for creating distinctive and delicious cuisine by playing a small role in his Project 2312 pop-up restaurant,” said Hall. “His passion for food is contagious and I’m certain diners who have been lucky enough to snag one of the limited seats will leave with a bittersweet feeling satisfied by their meal, but disappointed in the realization it was most likely their first and last meal at Project 2312.”

Hall and a handful of acclaimed DC area chefs will make special appearances during the limited engagement of Project 2312 and cook alongside Artley.

If you weren’t able to secure an RSVP to Project 2312 before reservations were sold out there are still two options. Project 2312 is accepting walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis for seating at the bar, or you can venture next door to Pork Barrel BBQ and celebrate Meat Week 2012 with a special Meat Week Sampler Patter, which includes 1/4 pound of brisket, 1/4 pound of pulled pork, 1/4 chicken, 3 ribs, 1 Texas brisket sausage link and your choice of 2 sides for $20.12 on Tuesday, January 31.

Find out more about Meat Week and the first tasting of Pork Barrel BBQ’s latest sauce, Pork Barrel BBQ Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce here.

For more information about Pork Barrel BBQ, visit www.porkbarrelbbq.com and read about their latest updates and adventures on Facebook, Twitter (@porkbarrelbbq) and the company’s blog.

About Pork Barrel BBQ

Pork Barrel BBQ was founded in December 2008 during the peak of the economic crisis to prove that a company not owned or operated by the federal government could succeed, and that if you had a good idea, it was still possible to grab a piece of the American Dream. Pork Barrel BBQ founders, Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, ran the company out of the basement of their houses, selling their award winning BBQ products one bottle at a time. In less than one year, their Pork Barrel BBQ Sauces and Spice Rub were carried in over 1,000 stores in 40 states. Throughout their journey, they have stayed true to their mission – to unite the nation through the great tradition of BBQ, and bring bipartisan flavor to your next meal. The Pork Barrel BBQ Competition BBQ Team entered its first contest, The Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle, in June 2009, and walked away with two trophies – Second Place in the “Nations Best BBQ Sauce Contest” and Fourth Place for their pulled pork in the Memphis In May portion of the contest. Since then, the team has won multiple awards, including the 2011 Perdue National Chicken Championship, the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle in 2011, the “Chinet People’s Choice” award for best BBQ sauce in 2010 and other notable Memphis in May and Kansas City Barbecue Society BBQ competition accolades as well as having their Pork Barrel BBQ Original BBQ Sauce named Best Sauce in America and one of “The 125 Best Foods for Men” by Men’s Health Magazine in November 2010. For more information, visit www.PorkBarrelBBQ.com or follow Pork Barrel BBQ on Facebook and Twitter (@porkbarrelbbq).

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Vote Pork Barrel BBQ – BEST BBQ in D.C. in the Washington City Paper’s Best of D.C. Readers Poll

We’ve been nominated for Best BBQ in Washington, D.C. in the Washington City Paper’s Best of D.C. Reader’s Poll!! Help us out by clicking here to vote for Pork Barrel BBQ as D.C.’s Best BBQ!!

 

Pork Barrel BBQ – 102 out of 9,163 in 2011 KCBS Overall Standings!!

2011 was an amazing year for the Pork Barrel BBQ competition BBQ team. We experienced a lot of first in 2011:

– First Reserve Grand Championship – Middletown BBQ Cook Off
– First Catagory First Place Call (Chicken) – Beltway BBQ Showdown
– First Grand Championship – Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle
– First Perdue National Chicken Championship – Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle
– First Kingsford Points Chase Win – Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle
– First Invitation to Cook in the American Royal Invitational
– First Call at the American Royal Invititional – 9th Place Brisket
– First Call at the American Royal Open – 6th Place Chicken
– First Invitation to Cook in the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Contest

After cooking 18 contests in 2011, including Memphis in May, the American Royal and The Jack we finished with the following rankings in the 2011 KCBS Team of the Year race:

Overal – 102nd out of 9,163 teams
Chicken – 46th out of 9.163 teams
Ribs – 186th out of 9,163 teams
Pork – 112th out of 9,163 teams
Brisket – 137th out of 9,163 teams

We can’t wait to get the 2012 season kicked off! Out 2012 goal is to finish in the top 75 teams in each of the four catagories and top 50 overall!! We’ll see you on the BBQ trail in 2012!!

 

Pork Barrel BBQ to Debut New Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce at NASFT Winter Fancy Food Show at Booth 739

Pork Barrel BBQ is excited to return to the NASFT Winter Fancy Food Show for the third consective year this weekend in San Francisco. We will be launching our newest sauce, Pork Barrel BBQ Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce, as well as sampling our entire line of barbecue products. If you are at the show please stop by Booth 739 and say hi!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              Media Contact: Jennifer Brand  (202) 731-2114 – jbrand@brandsolutionsgroup.com

 Nation’s Fastest Growing Barbecue Sauce Company to Debut New Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce at NASFT Winter Fancy Food Show

Reigning 2011 National “BBQ Battle” Grand Champions and Pork Barrel BBQ Co-Founders Bring National Award Winning BBQ to San Francisco

** To Sample Pork Barrel BBQ’s New Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce — Visit Booth 739 **

 Washington, D.C. (January 13, 2012) – Pork Barrel BBQ, the nation’s fastest-growing barbecue sauce company, is debuting its new Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce at the 2012 National Association for the Specialty Food Trades (NASFT) Winter Fancy Food Show January 15-17, 2012, in San Francisco, California.

Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, the co-founders and award winning pitmasters of Pork Barrel BBQ, and reigning Perdue National Chicken Champions, will be at the Winter Fancy Food Show to sample their national award winning and best-selling line of barbecue products. Hall and Thompson will debut their Pork Barrel BBQ Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce, the latest creation in their lineup of national award winning barbecue sauces. Barbecue enthusiasts from coast to coast can now feel as if they are eating a pulled pork sandwich in the Carolinas with this new sauces combination of just the right amount of vinegary kick, crushed red peppers, spices and sugar.

To taste all of Pork Barrel BBQ’s products, visit BOOTH 739.

Since founding Pork Barrel BBQ in 2009, Hall and Thompson have become the specialty food and barbecue industry’s most-watched entrepreneurs. Widely recognized as the winning entrepreneurs from ABC’s hit reality show Shark Tank, Hall and Thompson are known for their creative and innovative approaches to starting and growing a successful barbecue business. With accolades ranging from Men’s Health Magazine declaring Pork Barrel BBQ’s Original BBQ Sauce as one of the “125 Best Foods for Men” and the Washington Post’s Jim Shahin proclaiming Hall the winner of the Golden Rib award for his “accomplishments in food, business, and do-goodism,” the company continues to expand its barbecue-related offerings.

In 2011, Pork Barrel BBQ debuted a specialty BBQ-flavored peanut with FERIDIES, added Pork Barrel BBQ Mustard BBQ Sauce to their line of sauces, introduced the world’s first barbeque scented fragrance – Que, continued to earn top awards on the professional barbecue circuit, and opened the first Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia.

“We’re extremely excited to be launching our newest BBQ sauce, Pork Barrel BBQ Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce, at the 2012 NASFT Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco,” said Hall, President of Pork Barrel BBQ. “Barbecue is the one true American cuisine, and like America it is comprised of communities of people living in regions characterized by unique circumstances and tastes that lead to an exciting diversity in styles of sauce. Our new sauce recognizes one such barbecue region, the Carolinas.”

Pork Barrel BBQ sauces and products are currently distributed to over 2,000 stores nationwide and online.

For more information about Pork Barrel BBQ, visit www.porkbarrelbbq.com and read about their latest updates and adventures on Facebook, Twitter (@porkbarrelbbq) and the company’s blog.

TO SCHEDULE MEDIA APPEARANCES WITH HEATH HALL & BRETT THOMPSON DURING THE NASFT WINTER FANCY FOOD SHOW:

Contact (202) 321-3226 or (202) 253-1480

About Pork Barrel BBQ

Pork Barrel BBQ was founded in December 2008 during the peak of the economic crisis to prove that a company not owned or operated by the federal government could succeed, and that if you had a good idea, it was still possible to grab a piece of the American Dream. Pork Barrel BBQ founders, Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, ran the company out of the basement of their houses, selling their award winning BBQ products one bottle at a time. In less than one year, their Pork Barrel BBQ Sauces and Spice Rub were carried in over 1,000 stores in 40 states. Throughout their journey, they have stayed true to their mission – to unite the nation through the great tradition of BBQ, and bring bipartisan flavor to your next meal. The Pork Barrel BBQ Competition BBQ Team entered its first contest, The Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle, in June 2009, and walked away with two trophies – Second Place in the “Nations Best BBQ Sauce Contest” and Fourth Place for their pulled pork in the Memphis In May portion of the contest. Since then, the team has won multiple awards, including the 2011 Perdue National Chicken Championship, the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle in 2011, the “Chinet People’s Choice” award for best BBQ sauce in 2010 and other notable Memphis in May and Kansas City Barbecue Society BBQ competition accolades as well as having their Pork Barrel BBQ Original BBQ Sauce named Best Sauce in America and one of “The 125 Best Foods for Men” by Men’s Health Magazine in November 2010. For more information, visit http://www.PorkBarrelBBQ.com or follow Pork Barrel BBQ on Facebook and Twitter (@porkbarrelbbq). 

About the NASFT
The NASFT is a not-for-profit trade association established in 1952 to foster trade, commerce and interest in the specialty food industry. Today there are more than 2,900 members in the U.S. and abroad. The NASFT’s website for consumers,
foodspring.com, provides an insider’s look at specialty foods and the companies, entrepreneurs and artisans behind them. For information on the NASFT, go to http://www.foodspring.com/about/nasft. For information on the NASFT’s Fancy Food Shows, go to http://www.fancyfoodshows.com.

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Pork Barrel BBQ To Celebrate Meat Week On January 31st!!

Pork Barrel BBQ is proud to announce it will be participating in DC’ Meat Week 2012! What makes Meat Week 2012 so special for us is that we will be able to celebrate Meat Week for the first time in the confines of our first Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA! A big thanks to Mango Mike’s in Alexandria, VA for allowing us to host Meat Week events in 2010 and 2011 at their restaurant!

Pork Barrel BBQ will host it’s Meat Week 2012 event on January 31 starting at 7pm. We’ll be serving our regular menu as well as a special Pork Barrel BBQ Meat Week Sampler Platter. The Meat Week Sampler Platter includes 1/4 pound of brisket, 1/4 pound of pulled pork, 1/4 chicken, 3 ribs, 1 Texas brisket sausage and your choice of 2 sides for $20.12.

If you haven’t had a chance to make it down to Pork Barrel BBQ this is the perfect chance to visit us for the first time and sample all five of our smoked meat selections. Want to know what folks are saying? Check out reviews and photos by Grilling with Rich and Beltway BBQ – DC’s barbecue experts!

For more information on Meat Week and DC Meat Week specifically we’ve attached the DC Meat Week official Media Alert. Hope to see you on January 31 at Pork Barrel!!

MEDIA ALERT:  3rd Annual DC Meat Week

January 29 – February 5, 2012

WHAT: Barbecue lovers from across the Washington region will gather at eight of the area’s top ‘cue establishments for the third annual DC Meat Week. This week-long celebration of smoky, low-and-slow cooking will highlight four of the newest barbecue restaurants in the area, as well as three long-time favorites and one barbecue-focused food truck.

WHERE: See the schedule below for each night’s host venue

WHEN: Sunday, January 29, through Sunday, February 5, 2012

HOW: Anyone is welcome to participate by simply showing up at the host venue and looking for the Meat Week flags.  Participants order and pay for their own food and drinks and then join in the festivities with other Meat Week attendees.  Some host venues will be offering Meat Week specials (to be announced).

Additional details, specials and trivia will be posted during the week via Facebook and Twitter (@meatweek, @babeque) and on the Capital Spice blog (www.capitalspiceblog.com). 

SCHEDULE:

Sunday, January 29                         Urban Bar-B-Que
6:30 PM                                                    
2007 Chapman Avenue
Rockville, MD  20852

Monday, January 30                       Hill Country Barbecue Market
6:30 PM                                                   
410 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC  20004

Tuesday, January 31                       Pork Barrel BBQ
7 PM                                                           
2312 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA  22301 (Del Ray)

Wednesday, February 1                PORC (Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine)
7 PM                                                          
700 V Street, NW – special dinner hosted at Torrie’s @ Wilson’s
Washington, DC  20001

Thursday, February 2                  Smoke & Barrel
7 PM                                                          
2471 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC  20009

Friday, February 3                          Memphis Barbeque
7 PM                                                          
320 23rd Street South
Arlington, VA  22202 (Crystal City)

Saturday, February 4                     Mr. P’s Ribs & Fish
1 PM                                                           
514 Rhode Island Avenue, NE – in Rhode Island Ave Center parking lot
Washington, DC  20002

Sunday, February 5                       Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling
12 PM                                                       
2418 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20017

DC Meat Week 2012 Background Information
Sunday, January 29 – Sunday, February 5

What is Meat Week?

Meat Week (www.meatweekisreal.com) started in 2005 in Tallahassee, Florida.  Chris Cantey and Erni Walker organized an eight-night celebration of local barbecue joints.  Since then, the concept has spread to American cities from New York to Los Angeles and as far abroad as London and the Hague.

In 2009, Tim Carman wrote about Meat Week in the Washington City Paper’s “Young & Hungry” blog, inviting local barbecue enthusiasts to join him at Urban Bar-B-Q in Rockville for a one-night-only gathering.  One year later, in January of 2010, blogger Mike Bober of Capital Spice (www.capitalspiceblog.com) launched the Washington chapter of Meat Week with Carman’s encouragement.  Since then, the annual event has grown to include “First Looks” at upcoming restaurants and food trucks and has drawn as many as 100 attendees per night.  This year’s DC Meat Week Captain is Jenelle Dennis (www.twitter.com/babeque ), a Kansas City Barbecue Society Certified Barbecue Judge.

The focus of Meat Week is barbecue – meats cooked “low and slow” and bathed in wood smoke throughout the cooking process.  Beyond that, we don’t get too specific.  DC Meat Week celebrates all regional ‘cue traditions, from dry-rubbed Texas brisket to vinegar-mopped Carolina pulled pork to sweet and spicy sauced ribs from Kansas City and Memphis.

Meat Week is a loosely organized event – most evenings do not require prior sign-up and participants can attend as many or as few as they prefer.  Groups and individuals are both welcome, and attendees generally order and pay for their own food individually.  In most cases, the restaurants remain open to the public while Meat Weekers gather and enjoy the food and company.  Special events are publicized in advance to alert participants to fixed-price offerings or required reservations.

For the first time in 2012, DC Meat Week will expand to eight nights.  This reflects the recent profusion of new barbecue restaurants in the area as well as a desire to return to some reliable veteran establishments.  The full schedule is included on the previous page.

Who organizes DC Meat Week?

Jenelle Dennis
DC Meat Week Captain
(202) 271-3027
jenelledennis@gmail.com

David Gootzit
DC Meat Week First Mate
(703) 568-1499
david.gootzit@gmail.com

Mike Bober
DC Meat Week Founder
(202) 415-5699
mikebober@gmail.com

Where can people find official DC Meat Week information?

The schedule and Captain’s message can be found on the DC Chapter’s Meat Week page: http://www.meatweek.com/chapters/washingtondc

Regular updates and breaking news can be found on Facebook and Twitter:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/MeatWeekIsRealDC
DC Chapter specific Tweets: http://www.twitter.com/babeque
Nationwide Meat Week Tweets: http://www.twitter.com/meatweek

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