A low ‘n’ slow American-style barbecue truck churning out brisket, ribs and pulled pork has been making waves in the capital. Wilson Barbecue was started by husband-and-wife duo Blair and Casey Wilson in early 2018 while they were both working in full-time jobs.
While Blair has always been barbecue obsessed, filling his backyard with five different kinds, Casey’s interest in American-style barbecue was a slow burn.
“The funny thing is that I actually hated the barbecue meats that Blair used to make and I wasn’t a big meat eater, but now I am. It takes a lot of practice to get that perfect smoky flavour, and having good-quality produce really makes all the difference,” says Casey. The pair met in 2009 when they were working at McDonald’s – which their food truck’s kitchen layout is now based on. The couple decided to pursue the business while on holiday in Rotorua, settling on a food truck for flexibility.
“We bought a 1,900 kilogram Yoder Frontiersman barbecue from Kansas and planned to do Wilson Barbecue as a part-time gig for some fun on the weekends, but since then, it has transformed and now takes up a lot of our time,” says Casey.
They completely sold out on their first day of operation in Porirua, confirming they were onto something and there was high demand for barbecued meats. Since then, business has skyrocketed, with Casey reducing her hours in communications to part-time to focus on the burgeoning business.
Winning Visa Wellington On a Plate
Business saw a boost following their win of the coveted Burger Wellington competition in this year’s Visa Wellington On a Plate, serving three times as many as they’d planned for and causing a nationwide shortage of beef short ribs. The barbecuing process was a 24-hour job: Casey would take the night shift, tending to the barbecue every 20 minutes until 4am before Blair took over. The couple are trying to restore some balance to their lives, after working on the business non-stop alongside their full-time jobs.
“We don’t really have much work/life balance at the moment. We’ve been putting everything into our business. We are trying to regain a bit of balance and delegate things to our staff so that we are able to work on the business rather than in the business,” says Casey.