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Thursday, September 1,2011

Unemployed Georgia boys turn to BBQ

By Christie Sounart

 

Two Boulder County men, in the wake of losing their jobs, have decided to support their skiing addiction by serving up authentic Southern barbecue.

Delicious barbecue that holds true to its deep Southern roots — while also catering to the environmentally conscious masses — can be a difficult find in Boulder County, but Matt Alexander and Nick Reckinger are facing the challenge head-on.

Alexander, 30, and Reckinger, 31, both from Georgia, became friends through their fraternity at the University of West Georgia. Upon graduating, they went their separate ways, both eventually moving to Colorado due to their passion for skiing. They reconnected several years later and, as fate would have it, both found themselves unemployed late last year. (Alexander worked for U.S. Foodservice and Reckinger worked in the renewable energy field.)

They shared a dilemma: Where would their money come from to get to the slopes?

Feeling confident, they began serving sack lunch barbecue cooked from personal family recipes to local businesses in Boulder. Reckinger says they would walk into a business, let the appetizing aromas waft over the employees, and would return the next day, usually to waiting customers.

“It took off pretty quick. Before we knew it, we were delivering three or four days a week,” Alexander says.

As spring came, the friends were busily cooking out of both of their kitchens. They also began selling to hungry people visiting Boulder County breweries, including the parking lot of Left Hand Brewing Co. in Longmont.

“By late March, we realized we had something, and decided to open a business,” Alexander says.

The aspiring young men began to waver when they couldn’t find a space in Boulder for their new small-budget business. Their hope was revived when they saw a Craigslist post for a century-old house in Longmont that had been previously used by a catering company. By July 1, Georgia boys BBQ was opened at 237 Collyer St. in Longmont.

The barbecue sees more than 700 customers a week, serving food straight from the kitchen, and is rapidly growing through word-of-mouth. Reckinger says many of their ingredients are sourced from local farmers, and everything is made from scratch, except for their bread, which comes from Boulder’s Breadworks Bakery & Café.

“Doing everything fresh daily, our goal is to sell everything we make,” he says. “We try to leave as little of an [environmental] impact as possible.”

Everything that they serve their food out of is compostable, and they aim to be a zero-waste restaurant. Reckinger explains that they have planted their own garden, grow their vegetables organically, and will continue to seek out local products.

Georgia boys BBQ has five different sauces, all Alexander’s own recipes. Customers are served heaping plates of hot, flavorful food such as pulled pork and chicken, brisket, ribs and the “dawg bowl,” a “breadless wonder” of the customer’s choice of meats. Sides include mac ’n’ cheese, sweet potato casserole, “special” baked beans, potato salad and jambalaya.

Their “dang good tea” promises to be the best sweet tea around, and since the barbecue serves no artificial sweeteners or ingredients, the only sodas to be found are glass-bottled Cokes and Fantas from Mexico.

Reckinger explains that since they cook everything from scratch, their menu changes daily. Every morning, they post their menu line-up on their Facebook page.

Alexander and Reckinger say they are hoping to open more locations of their restaurant, especially in Boulder. Staying true to their love for skiing, they also hope to open locations in resort areas such as Breckenridge.

“We would like to leave a trail of barbecue shacks up to the mountains,” Alexander says.

They also intend to sell their sauces in grocery stores, eventually, and this winter, they plan to renovate their original space to seat people inside.

Alexander and Reckinger continue to cater outside of their restaurant, and still set up at Left Hand Brewery Co. on occasional weekends, where they also hold events that donate a portion of their food sales to charities.

“It wasn’t easy to get to this point. We just did what we could to get here,” Reckinger says. “People need good food, and we’re here to give it to them.”

Georgia boys BBQ is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To check out their menu of the day, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/georgiaboysbbq or their website, georgiaboysbbqcompany.com.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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