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Del Ray’s Pork Barrel BBQ Boys Headed for Hollywood

Photo by Jordan Wright/Local Kicks<BR> Heath Hall and Brett Thompson of Del Ray's Pork Barrel BBQ.

Photo by Jordan Wright/Local Kicks
Heath Hall and Brett Thompson of Del Ray's Pork Barrel BBQ.

By Jordan Wright

A super-secret reality show scheduled for a major network’s fall line-up has approached Del Ray’s Pork Barrel BBQ in Alexandria.

Partners Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, currently waiting for the ink to dry on their contract, swore me to secrecy…at least for the time being. The show, featuring five multi-millionaire venture capitalists looking for investment opportunities will showcase these and other entrepreneurs and fly them out to the West Coast next month for the filming.

Longtime friends from Kansas City, smack dab in America’s Heartland, they were hired by former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent and assigned to tackle the tough issues…banking, child welfare and the national budget. Dry stuff indeed, but they were well acquainted with the give and take, the tit for tat that goes on in each session. They had done their homework and knew the drill, and they were in it for the long haul.

One evening, after too many cold pizzas and as the Senate Appropriations Committee was debating the budget into the wee hours, the boys had the inkling of an idea.

They missed home and talk of “pork barrel” spending was snapping their synapses into fond memories of cookouts with family and friends. They began reminiscing about pork shoulder and beef brisket smoked for hours over oak and hickory wood, Kansas City style, with a tomato base and a rich, smoky barbeque sauce, the meat seasoned with secret recipe rubs to seal in the fat and bring out the intensity and cold beers to wash it all down.

In Kansas City it is said that within a radius of 30 miles a fellow could eat in a different barbeque restaurant every night with no repeats. Folks there take their barbeque dead dog serious and often smoke 50 pounds of meat at a time.

In his words, Heath’s dad was a ”post office BBQer…out there in rain, snow, sleet and hail.”

The family had six grills, not at all unusual for that part of the country where the stockyards were hailed as the largest in America and the meat went out on railroad cars from Kansas City to Chicago and New York and on across the country.

Some grills were for the smoking, the meat cooking long and slow till it falls off the bone, marrow oozing out, tender and mellow, and creating the most satisfying ancient flavor known to mankind.

Heath and Brett like Weber’s Smokey Mountain Cookers for the slow cooking and grills for chicken giving a fast sear for the charbroiling.

Eight-foot-long smokers get fired up early in the morning and stoked for hours and hours while smoke fills the yard…neighbors and friends rolling in all day to gather, catch up and sit down with a plate of whatever was coming off the heat…beef, pork, sausages, lamb, mutton and chicken.

The boys know barbeque, born and raised on it, and figured they could make their own spice rub and try to sell it. Friends liked it and encouraged them… and in December of 2008 Pork Barrel BBQ All-American Spice Rub, with its all-natural, smoky, and slightly spicy flavor, was born.

They got it in a few local stores, Let’s Meat on the Avenue in Del Ray and the Organic Butcher of McLean in McLean, VA, and started to sell it online to immediate success.

They revved up their product line when they entered Safeway’s National Capitol Barbeque Battle last month, creating and presenting a brand new barbeque sauce that hadn’t even been on the market yet.

“They told us our sauce was one of the final three out of forty four,” Heath declared. “We were stunned!”

After the votes were tallied they wound up with Second Place, beating out longtime barbeque champs. In another category, “Memphis in May”, their Pork Shoulder prepared with their All-American Spice Rub, nailed Fourth Place, forever establishing their reputation in the competitive field of American BBQ.

Their label features a wholesome pig holding a fork twice his size with the iconic capitol landscape in the background echoing the days of their time on The Hill…the words “Monumental Flavor” the motto.

Heath who Twitters and blogs through their website keeps his followers apprised of their latest endeavors gaining them the number one BBQ blogger spot with over 13,000 hits so far and the number one post in Alexandria.

With over 600 grocery stores in 10 states signing on to carry their products they will be rolling out three new products in addition to the original Spice Rub…their crunch-time success BBQ sauce and a Steak Rub and Chesapeake Bay Rub.

Their distributor told them, “You guys must have leprechauns on your shoulders.”

For comments and questions contact [email protected]

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