For years, Dwight Harvey catered in his spare time...although the ever-increasing popularity of his barbecue didn't leave him much room for rest.
Along the way, he taught the trade to son Steven. Eight months ago, after Dwight retired from his day job, the pair opened Off the Bone Barbeque--which has very quickly become a go-to destination both for locals and folks working downtown.
So it's a success story, but one that comes with a price. There's no way, Steven says, to get rid of that barbecue smell...
1. How do you spell barbecue?
Well, we spell it with a 'q.' It has more of a gourmet flair to it.
2. Gourmet barbecue...sorry, barbeque?
Yes, our smoked pecan baby back ribs are the most popular item. We've done them the longest. People like them.
3. What's wrong with pulled pork?
I'm born and raised in Dallas, so we don't do that here. A lot of our guests from Eastern states ask for it. They want to put cole slaw on top and all that stuff. We just haven't tried it yet.
4. Why is barbecue so popular in so many places?
I don't know. It has to be something about the South. There's so much land, all the cattle and pigs. When we eat, we're going to smoke it and eat big. There's nothing frilly about barbecue.
5. Yeah, smoking meat. How do you get the smell off?
Oh, man--unfortunately, I don't. Just a lot of washing and a lot of dry cleaning, that's all you can do. If I wasn't married already, I'd have to have a girlfriend that was always hungry.
6. Everyone's particular about this--which wood?
I have to go with pecan. I know other people prefer different wood. I know apple wood is supposed to be sweet. But pecan is my favorite.
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7. Do you have a favorite Tex-Mex place?
Mi Cocina, but I think it's for the atmosphere. It's big food and scenery.
8. Have vegetarians ever wandered into your restaurant?
[Laughs] It's unique--we do have some vegetarians who come in here. I don't know if they're picking up for someone else or not. I can give them a vegetable platter.
9. Why is it so hard to find good barbecue?
It takes years to learn. People can just smoke meat, yes. But to get it consistent, time after time, takes years. Luckily my dad showed me how to do it.
10. Why go into the restaurant business?
For the people's reaction. It's tough, though--it's like their going to a Cowboys or Mavs game: people expect us to win. And even in a city where people know what barbecue is, they expect it to be better.