COEUR d'ALENE - After placing an order at the just opened Bent's Pitchamps Bar-b-que trailer, customers can walk around behind it and chat with the man behind the meat.
Jeff Selle, owner of Bent's, is often back there loading or tending to his bullet smoker and grills.
Selle, 48, of Post Falls, said Thursday, "We are absolutely slow-cook authentic barbecue. We cook over fire and smoke, and that's it. All of our stuff is cooked competition grade."
He has been open for nearly three weeks, and despite the "Juneuary" weather, he's off to a good start, he said.
"We're getting a lot of repeat business," he said. "We're getting really good reviews online."
His barbecue trailer is located just east of Fourth Street on Best Avenue, next to Best Sandwich Shack and Taco Works. Both businesses have good reputations, he said, and that will only help him.
"If we were going to be co-located with people, we wanted to be in an area where they were drawing a lot of people," he said. "It's kind of developing like a food court here."
He said he heard from the property owner that a dessert shack could be the next addition to what he calls the "Best Avenue food court."
He gets his meat from Costco Wholesale, he said, and he uses oak, cherry and apple wood for smoking.
He's selling pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches; ribs by the rack or half rack; and whole, half and quarter chickens. He also sells homemade jo-jo potatoes, coleslaw and onion rings. He said his trash-can chili is already developing a following.
He started making the chili to find a use for left-over meat from his barbecue.
"We don't want to re-heat our meat, so we just chop it up and put it in the chili," Selle said. "So any given day we could have beef, pork, chicken, or ribs in there."
The meat changes, but the flavor profile stays the same, he said.
He has always been a backyard barbecue guy, he said, but then got into catering and had success. He also has entered multiple barbecue competitions and took home his share of ribbons and checks.
This past winter, he started putting together a business plan for his own business.
He was laid off, and a couple of his grown children also were laid off. Depending on the day, he could have either his son or three daughters working with him. A couple of his children have other jobs.
They pushed him to go after his dream, he said.
Then when the opportunity to rent the trailer came along, he jumped on it.
Along with his new business, he plans to continue catering. He also hopes to begin offering barbecuing classes. He can be reached at: (509) 220-2222.
Hours for Bent's Pitchamps Bar-b-que: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Jeff Selle applies a vinegar mixture with a brush to chicken he was slow cooking on the grill.
Slow smoked rib tips are sectioned before being packaged.