Perhaps just as potent a source of nostalgia as a scenic beach or an exotic setting, the food that’s tasted while on vacation is quite often also the source of many fond memories.
For Kitchener’s Jason and Shannon Sweeney, the Tennessee slow-cooked meat they ate during their trips to Florida quickly became linked to the holidays. It was, however, a delicacy they could enjoy only while away.
“We’d go down to Florida in April, we’d eat barbecue and we wouldn’t have it again for a year until we went down again the next time,” Jason Sweeney explained.
Having become great fans of the southern, slow cooking tradition, the Sweeneys lamented not having something similar north of the border.
That all changed, however, when they decided to bring the cooking tradition home through the auspices of S&B Southern BBQ. Now, the Sweeneys will be offering visitors to the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market a variety of slow-cooked meats on Thursdays and Saturdays.
“We kind of got to the point where we were really enjoying it so much that we decided, ‘hey, let’s start researching this,” Sweeney explained.
After numerous trips down south where at “every gas station or restaurant there’s always some old guy with a smoker there cooking ribs or whatever,” Jason and his brother thought of producing the same type of meat back home.
The two started researching online, interacting with other people belonging to BBQ associations, and started gleaning information for their own venture. Sweeney, who is a machinist by trade, and his brother designed their own slow cooker out of 55-gallon drums.
Soon they started entering competitions and by their second year competing in national barbecue championships, were winning accolades and awards.
As they plugged more time and money into their venture, they upgraded their equipment for commercial purposes and started catering to family events such as birthdays and weddings and to corporate gigs. But as they took on more and more events, the Sweeneys soon realized that the market was ripe for a more permanent venture.
“We didn’t have a store or anything like that where people could come and buy our product the next week or a month later, so they were basically at the mercy of their company as to whether they were going to be able to eat our food or not.
“So, we decided this year to kind of take the business in a different direction and set up a – for lack of a better term – permanent spot to vend.”
At S&B Southern BBQ, meats are barbecued in the “authentic southern style” or slow smoked over a wood fire for up to 18 hours. They prepare a number of different meats, including pulled pork and chicken, beef on a bun and baby back ribs. Meats have a rub applied on the outer surface and are injected with seasoning liquids (broth seasoning, salt, garlic, onion powder) to spread flavour and to maintain the tenderness and moisture of the meats.
“Once people get a taste of it, there’s nothing else that compares to it,” said Sweeney.
“The long cooking times really break down the meat, so it’s very moist, very tender, and then it’s got the great smoked flavor.”
For more information visit: https://sandbbbq.com.