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Texas BBQ To Save America! 6/14/23 Blog#1!

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

There has never been a more important time in American history to open your own business. At times of economic and social unrest, you want the least amount of control over your life to rest in the hands of the government or your employer. But what type of business do you open, and is there a large enough market for your product or service? Even though we are living in a time when America seems to be more and more increasingly divided, there are still some areas that bring all Americans together. One of those is FOOD, and more importantly Texas food! As a native of San Antonio Texas, our city's largest industry is tourism. And because of our rich Mexican history and heritage, as well as the cattle culture of the old west, everyone that comes to visit south Texas LOVES the food. Margaritas, smoked brisket, brisket tacos, enchiladas, pinto beans cooked in a bbq pit for 10 hours, beer, ribs, sausage, tortillas, peppers, onions, tomatoes, bbq sauce, potato salad, Spanish rice, Michiladas, and on and on and on. Regardless of where people originate, when they come to south Texas they always go back to their home city or state talking about some of the food or restaurants they loved. To me all of that food and food culture is great. But, what makes it even greater is when you're not in some high price barbecue restaurant or food truck, but at home grilling and smoking in your backyard, your deck, your man-cave, or she shack. The only way to truly get the Texas food experience, is getting invited to a backyard barbecue, or EVEN better be the one hosting the backyard barbecue.

The Coronavirus created a perfect storm of events, laying the ground work for an explosion in home grilling and bbq, being forced to work from home, social distancing, government stimulus checks being sent out, and widespread forced shutdowns of restaurants. And not only did these simultaneous events make people start grilling more, the unsurety for small business owners and economic turmoil during coronavirus, actually made people pack up their families and move! Where did they want to go? They wanted to go to states where they have less government intervention and more control back in their hands. And so I give you "THE GREAT TEXAS MIGRATION". I've lived in south Texas for 39 years and I've never seen anything like what's happening right now, California, Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, people have had it with big city life, and they come into my shop and many of them vent about where they just came from, and how happy they are to be in Texas. And I always laugh because they almost all say the same thing

"we can't get over how nice and friendly everybody is here." I think Hollywood gives us Texans a bad wrap with all the violent cowboy culture and guns.

Anyways, I saw a unique market opportunity during the pandemic and I opened my own grill and barbecue pit shop. I never imagined I would own my own business one day and always just saw myself being a blue collar hourly or salary guy, and I was totally ok with that. But when I was working in grill sales I saw, not only the explosion of Texans buying grills and outdoor kitchens, but an influx of hundreds of thousands of new Texans. And once people move here, one of the first things they notice is that everyone in the neighborhood seems to own a grill, EXCEPT THEM. This is because the weather here in South Texas is favorable for grilling about 300 days a year. So the new Texan family goes out and buys themselves a grill and, if they weren't really into grilling already, about half of them find out that they love grilling, or smoking barbecue, or wood fired pizza at home, developing a new passion for something in life. Even though outdoor kitchens are a relatively new market in America, I truly believe that within about 10 years, every new-house-build in America will have a nice outdoor grilling area or an outdoor kitchen, as part of the original construction plans.

So, I opened my grill shop in the Texas hill country about half way between Austin and San Antonio, one of the 5 fastest growing regions in the United States right now. And as a retail shop owner, yes it is always nice to make a big sale and to have a profitable day. But what really makes me happy is seeing my customers starting to get excited about cooking. Maybe they bought a grill from our shop, or maybe they bought a seasoning I suggested that made their marinated chicken better, or they just learned how to get rid of bitter smoke flavor. We have been open 2 years now, and I can tell you if you want to be a successful small business owner, you're customers need to not just talk about you but RAVE about you, and your level of knowledge, passion, and skill you bring to work every day. When people are excited about your business they will tell their friends, family, and neighbors. And what does grilling require? It usually takes time, patience, a little food preparation, and care. These are all qualities that will make friends and family grow closer anyways. But I think it's more fun when the catalyst is "the family grill." I love that not only does my job center a lot around family life, but when I sell someone a grill or an outdoor kitchen, our shop becomes part of their family story. That grill may be with them for the next 10 to 15 years or in some cases the rest of their life. And somedays when it seems like America is starting to come apart at the seems, there is nothing more important than family. We grill retailers all across the country are here to help support the family, because staying at home and grilling is usually less expensive than going out to eat, it tastes better, it brings friends and family closer, you can teach your kids to grill, and is usually a more comfortable atmosphere than going out to eat too. And every time you shop at a locally owned grill shop instead of the big box behemoths, you're supporting an American business, and usually get better customer service.

In summation, The Texas BBQ to Save America blog shows that great grilling and barbecuing at home is a great way to hold on to our American history, build up families and friends, and it can help us find our way back to being "one nation under God indivisible". Your neighbor may have a political flag flying that enrages you, but that shouldn't stop you from ringing their doorbell and saying

"hey I smoked 4 racks of ribs on my grill and we ended up having way too much leftover, so I brought y'all a slab." America needs to start focusing again on the things that unite us and things that got us this far as a nation, working together. Well, guess what? One of those things going all the way back to the native tribes and the first Spanish conquistadors, sitting down to eat together, was barbecue slow cooked by the Indians. And even though there are different grilling and barbecue styles across the nation, save your time and money, and just get your tips and tricks from Texans. Because our barbecue is the best.

Happy Grilling,

Jered Keller

Owner, BBQ Grills & More

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