Sunday, July 8, 2007

Opening Soon…really

We have completed a lot since the last post. We are ready for business. We had a pre-opening party last Friday, which was a big success. Basically, we invited local people (some high prophile dignitaries) for a ‘dry run’ to sample the food. It was a good event for us as it allowed us to see what we need to work on as a business. We had live entertainment and good food along with comment cards on the tables and received many positive responses. The negative responses were for larger cobbler bowls, BBQ flavored tooth picks and more ink in the pens. We’ll work on that…thanks J.T.

Since the last post we have completed the final decorating touches and installed the walk-in cooler. We have a 1 week supply of most food items in the freezer and cooler and we’re ready to go. I’m waiting on my tax use permit, which should have been here last week, but I’m sure the holiday slowed that process. I think we’ll have that early this week and then we’ll open the door. For those of you asking about the Grand Opening, we’re saving that for Old Settlers Weekend, which is the 1st weekend in August. I think the best course of action is a ‘soft’ opening this week where we just turn on the open sign. That way we don’t get flooded, run out of food and we will have a good understanding of what is required for operation. There are many BBQ restaurants (i.e. the ‘original’ Sonny Bryans in Dallas) that operate on an inventory basis. When they run out of food, they close. I want to be able to serve everyone that walks in the door but not have excessive waste.

The entire process has been fun and exhausting. I will have a few more posts of before and after pictures and the grand opnening in August. Aside from that, I'm just making BBQ...and running a restaurant...and sales tax...and keeping people happy...and changing the brakes on the Jeep...and changing the bearings on Shelli's car because we've had to drive through so much high water lately...and ...well on and on.

Come to Camp Wood and enjoy some good BBQ and live entertainment starting this week! Scroll down and hit 'play' and turn on your speakers for a slideshow of the pre-opening events.
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Final Stretch…

We’ve accomplished a lot since the last post. The finish-out is just about done, the ‘Great Wall of Camp Wood’ has been poured and cured, the parking lot base has been dropped, and the stage and kitchen are very close to completion. Next week we plan on bringing in all of the decorating touches. We have to be done by the 30th because I have rented out the building for a wedding reception.

Well, here’s an interesting story. I was cutting some tin to put on the stage roof / porch and the plumber walked by. He heard me complain about my wrist as it was being scorched by the hot fine metal shavings coming from the metal cutting blade. He asked what I was cutting it with and I told him a metal cutting blade…DUH? He said ‘I’ve been cutting that stuff for years with a wood cutting blade turned backwards and it works a lot better.’ Well, I looked at the plumber and he’s 73 years old…and still enjoying life. The metal cutting blade was worn down to the size of a silver dollar and I thought, it’s time to change the blade anyway and since 17 people have already made that suggestion, I’m going to try it. Here’s my tip for the day, a wood cutting (fine toothed) blade turned backwards works very well on tin, probably better because you will still have your eyebrows.

We will very, very likely be open on the weekend following July 4th. By the way, I forgot to mention Tony Romo came by to help. He drove the steamroller to compact the base in the parking lot. He’s a good guy

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Busy as a Bee…

The A/C guys are back again, this time I hope it’s the last time I see them for a while. Not that I don’t like them, they’re good guys, but I’m ready for some A/C. It’s not that hot, but we need to check off a box. Steve, one of the owners of the A/C Company has been up here directing the installation and he has guaranteed we will have A/C this week. The spiral duct is up and they are working late tonight putting in registers, return air, and the plenum.

The dirt guy came back last week and has all of the forms up in the back for the retaining wall. The retaining wall is so that all of the water running toward the building will divert toward the candy shop and run in that building. At least that’s what Frances (Shelli’s Mom) is saying. After the retaining wall is up, the privacy fence will be next.

I have tried out my new smoker twice since I’ve had it and all I can say is “You’ve got to be kidding, this thing is awesome!” I’ve done 2 pork shoulders and 1 brisket and I can’t say enough about this piece of equipment. I wasn’t looking forward to getting up at 4 am and starting a fire. I tested out the overnight cook and hold feature and came back in at 9:30 am and the meat was perfect. We served it at our Sunday school class party we hosted last weekend and received great reviews. For those of you familiar with meat smoking, the brisket had a perfect 3/8” smoke ring and was moist and very flavorful! Sorry about the pic of the pork shoulder, all I had was my camera phone.

We now have all of our windows back from repair as of yesterday. Shelli, Luci and Frances have been busy painting windows. There has been a lot of activity since the last post, you could say we’re as busy as a bee. Speaking of bees, they are busy little fellows. I was tearing out an old window frame this morning and noticed a few bees coming and going from where we pulled some siding off 2 months ago. Then I noticed a few more bees and then some more. Phil showed up and asked him how he felt about bees. He feels the same way I do, we don’t need no bees. I went across the street and purchased some wasp and hornet spray and we (Phil) disposed of as many as we (he) could. I watched, from a short distance. I was amazed at how big their honeycomb was for such a short time. If we had not disposed of them, perhaps we could have hired them for some finish out work. They work fast.

I purchased a neon ‘Open’ sign this week and can’t wait to turn it on. Fourth of July is right around the corner and that is our new target date…everyone needs a goal.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Let there be Lights….

I installed my new gigahooter and we’re back on the net.

We have electricity! No more dragging extension cords to the candy shop next door. The lights arrived 2 weeks ago, and Phil and the electrician put them up last weekend. The electricity was turned on Tuesday and the lights were turned on today. A took some pictures today and caught John Morey (the electrician) installing an outlet. When the flash went off, he nearly jumped out of his skin. Funny thing about electricians, they’re kind of jumpy.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, all I really wanted to do was barbeque. Speaking of BBQ, I took delivery of my pit last Wednesday. It’s an Ole Hickory Pit made in Cape Girardeau, MO. I made a trip over to Concan, TX a few weeks ago to visit a man who already has one. I was sold after our talk and I feel like I’m cheating a little with this pit. It is wood burning and propane and has a cook and hold feature with revolving racks. It can be mounted inside, outside, or through the wall. Basically, you put in the wood, and the combustion chamber ignites the wood and smokes the meat for whatever time you set. The cook and hold feature is nice because you can set the timer and temperature and walk away. If the wood burns down too low, the propane burner will kick in to maintain whatever temperature you set for the allotted time. After the time is up, the unit will cool down to 160 deg. F and maintain that temperature until you’re ready to pull the succulent, mahogany colored, smoky, juicy meat from the pit.

Aside from that, we put up a lot of trim this week to finish out the walls and karners. Shelli and Luci have also started sealing the floor. The sealer is nice because it gives the floor a richer color and a little sheen. One thing I forgot to mention was the amount of gum chewing the American Legion members must have enjoyed. We must have scrapped 6,220 pieces of gum from the floor. I left one piece in honor of the LGC (Legion Gum Chewers), so when you come and visit Holy Smoke BBQ, you’ll have to see if you can find it.
Oh, also, Emmy found a tarantula out in the driveway. I kept my distance. She did not inherit that ‘fondness for spiders’ gene from me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

New Post…

About time huh? We had some more bad weather come through this week and lightning struck my gigahooter for my internet connection. I have a new one on order and should be here by Tuesday. In the mean time, I’ll make my ramblings short and sweet and then run to the carport with the laptop and pirate the wireless internet from my Brother-in-Law (75 yrds away) without the gigahooter to post.

Basically, we finished staining the floors, Shelli painted some more, we put up a lot of trim, installed some new doors on the front, Trey finished the A/C stands and the units are up, and all of my kitchen equipment arrived.

Here are a lot of pictures. Fell free to ask questions and I’ll get back to you next week, unless I feel like surfing the net from the carport. Not much of a chance without bug spray. Those suckers love to hover around computer screens.

We will not be serving BBQ this Memorial Day weekend, but July 4th looks pretty good.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Porches, Porches everywhere…

Everyone else in town has a porch, why can’t we? Last Saturday we brought Ray Ross and his crew back to install our porch and awning on the front. I’m amazed at how much it improved the curb appeal. Ray is the man in the picture with the long gray ponytail that you expect to see riding up on a Harley. He and his crew do good work and we’ve picked up a few Ray-isms. For instance, you need to mayzure a board before you cut it. When you do mayzure, be exact. Tell me in inches and then how many little marks. Karners are tricky. Tell me what the mayzurement is to the inside karner or the outside karner, but don’t forget if you have some little marks. We borrowed Ray’s framing nail gun a few weeks ago and it started hissing a week later. Trey called him and he diagnosed the problem over the phone. Turns out the gun had blowed a seal. Ray is a good guy and he was kind enough to finish out the stage walls very smooth so that Shelli can paint a murial. There have been many comments on painting ‘Muriel’.

We also have one bathroom complete except for the final decorating touches. There is a lady by the name of Judy who works part time at the candy shop next door who is quite grateful for this completion, as we’ve had to use that bathroom from the inception of this project. She tried to ban Trey from eating at Tony’s Tacos.

We started staining the floors this week and finished up with the cleaning and staining today. There’s a heckuva lot of floor!