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Russellville’s Ridgewood Brothers BBQ

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When starting out, most great barbeque joints like to create buzz by selling out within a few hours, then closing shop for the day. This tends to get people talking, especially in Arkansas where barbeque is a big deal.

Russellville’s Ridgewood Brothers BBQ, a food trailer located in the Main Street Gallery parking lot, has embraced this concept. Founded by best friends, Robert Couser and Grant Hall, Ridgewood Brothers BBQ offers a variety of barbeque by the half-pound, as well as sandwiches, ribs, burnt ends, sausages, and traditional sides.

“On the outside, we’re a barbecue trailer and a big smokehouse in a parking lot. On the inside, we are buying the highest quality meats available and cooking them with real wood, live-fire cooking. Our customers are able to come up to our window and see whole cuts sliced live, fresh off the smoker,” says Grant Hall.

That’s the good news.

The bad news?

Ridgewood Brothers BBQ is only open on Saturdays. But that may soon change.

“We absolutely have plans for more days, and soon, too. We are in the process of training another cook/fire maker to aid us in that process. We just have to ensure that our quality remains the same and better as we grow.”

At this point, I can safely say that quality is not an issue. I tried many of the offerings and was quite pleased with everything. The delightfully moist and peppery smoked turkey gets high marks, but so too does the pulled pork and the pork loinback ribs. Sides like the baked beans, coleslaw, and potato salad, the latter of which was both creamy and full of eggs, were all fantastic, but the shining star is the brisket. Make sure to get a few slices from the fatty portion. It’s seasoned just right, packed with a ton of flavor, and will practically melt in your mouth. I asked Hall what was key to making good smoked brisket.

“One thing that stands out is that you don’t pull it off the pit too early. It should feel loose and almost want to bend all the way over your hand when it’s done.”

The excellence is there and the passion for what they do is quite evident.

“We found barbecue allowed us to share our creativity and passion for the craft with other people. We’ve been best friends since the 4th grade and this opportunity allowed us to work together and pour our energy toward our goals.”

So far, I’d say things are working, but maintaining the quality and consistency as demand grows will be one of many challenges facing these best friends. There are others.

“Being able to move our line effectively and still spend time with each customer has been a challenge. Also, being able to ensure that each piece of meat on the smoker gets proper attention, moved and rotated, sprayed, wrapped. The more you have on, the more intense that process is.”

If you’ve yet to check out Ridgewood Brothers BBQ, I highly recommend giving them a try. It’s some of the better barbecue in Arkansas.

Did You Know?

Want to skip the line? Place a pre-order! All preorders are to be made by Friday and must be $60 or more. Only meat by the pound and sides are available for pre-order (no sandwiches).

Ridgewood Brothers BBQ
2611 W Main St (Russellville)
Phone: 479-886-4386
Hours: Saturday Only 10:30 a.m.-Sold Out

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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