Ribs, barbecue are all Bean's needs to make a statement
By Josette Keelor -- firstname.lastname@example.org
EDINBURG -- Situated in the old Edinburg firehouse, Bean's Barbecue offers a unique product in a well-known location.
Now in its fourth year, the once weekly take-out restaurant has been going strong, said owner Justin Davis.
"I sell pork barbecue and baby back ribs and this is the first year we're selling coleslaw," said Davis, 35.
"All my sauces are homemade sauces," he said. "Spice blends I mix myself."
His three sauces for pork barbecue are his sweet and spicy version of a Carolina mustard sauce, a sweet and tangy tomato sauce called the Original Red, and a very hot version of the Original Red.
"The sandwiches are a third of a pound," said the Edinburg resident. "The amount of meat on there precooked probably averages two-thirds of a pound." Ribs average about three pounds, which is a lot of food for one person, he said.
His business offers something Edinburg didn't have, Davis said.
"To my knowledge ... there's no establishment that offers another smoked barbecue," he said. It was his first attempt at running a business, but he said it's exactly what he wants to do.
"I just love food. ... I like to cook," he said.
It took him many years to learn the process, he said, and he's learned what he knows from books, as well as trial and error.
"If you ask one customer, I specialize in pork barbecue, if you ask another, I specialize in baby back ribs," he said.
"I cook enough pork barbecue to stay open every Saturday from 9 to 5," he said. "The ribs on the other hand are first come first serve."
Everything is cooked on site Friday evening starting between 9 and 10 p.m., he said, and he stays up all night cooking and all day Saturday selling the product.
"I cook the pork shoulders first and we open at 9 a.m.," he said.
The timing works for him, he said, but he believes others in the same business would choose their hours based on their customers.
"[In other places,] customers are more accustomed to not coming in til noon -- not here," he said.
Being open only one day a week has its highs and lows, he said. If he runs out of a product, that's it, he said.
"I've had some people get pretty upset," he said. "I cook at least 200 pounds of pork shoulder for pork barbecue, and over 100 pounds of baby back ribs."
All the meat comes from Wholesome Foods, he said.
"It's right on my way home," he said "And all my meat is all natural."
Davis still works for his family's private construction remodeling business, but Bean's is his main source of income, and it usually generates enough money for him to call it a full-time job.
"Sometimes it does, sometimes it seems like it would, and other times it doesn't," he said. Expenses still come up, and he pays two employees -- one full-time and one part-time -- but it's nothing unexpected, he said.
"It's not uncommon for a place [like this] to be open only one or two days a week," he said. "What I offer is fresh every day."
Other places that can be open several days a week, he said, are either established enough to manage it or don't sell a quality product.
In his grilling, "It's all wood hickory logs," he said. "It's authentic barbecue," which he cooks in a Lang Cooker, from Nahunta, Ga.
"They've been in business since, oh, well over 20 years. Close to 25 years, I think," he said.
But four years being on Main Street has not answered all his customers' inquiries, he said.
"A lot of first-time customers, they think I'm like every other person selling barbecue on a Saturday," Davis said. Many of them think he's raising funds for a charity or cause; but because of all the other places selling meat to raise money, Davis said he has no intention to expand his menu options.
"The VFW does a lot of chicken business up the street and there's no way I'd want to compete with a civic organization," he said. "With barbecue, the more you try to do, because it is such a tedious thing to do ... the more you try to offer, the less the quality will be."
"You keep it simple," he said. "Some places only do one thing." In the South, he said, "the quality is what they're known for."
Though he doesn't plan to expand the menu, he does intend to expand his hours to Friday evenings, probably from 4 to 8 p.m., beginning in June.
"I might only have ribs and pork barbecue," he said, "but the quality is the best I can give them."
Bean's Barbecue is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the old firehouse, at 117 S. Main St. in Edinburg. For information, call 984-4712 or visit Bean's Barbecue on Facebook.