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Meet Patrick Williams of CHAR BBQ in North County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Williams.

Patrick, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, barbecue was not something that was very popular. I used to help my dad do what most people call barbecue, but was really just grilling. It wasn’t until my sister got married that I got my real first taste of smoked meat.

That was their traditional smoked Thanksgiving turkey. From the first bite, I was hooked. For years, the only thing I knew how to smoke was turkey. Then came pork ribs and beef ribs and pork butt. At the time, I was in culinary school but still wasn’t a thing. I had to research and teach myself.

Baltimore is more know for pit style bbq. That’s mostly pit beef, turkey and ham. Pit style is a lot like California’s Santa Maria-style bbq but on a fixed pit. Not an elevated one like the Santa Maria. The more I practiced, the better I got. All my friends said I really had something, but I knew it’s not the same when you have to pay for your meals.

So, in 2016, I started selling my meats. My now-wife would print up a menu on social media complete with meat, sides, sauces and sometimes dessert. On my days off, I’d make everything up, weigh it out and vacuum seal it. I’d go out and deliver to all my customers each week. That’s really how Char BBQ was born.

After moving to San Diego, I wanted to keep the business going, but San Diego is much bigger than Baltimore and I didn’t know many people. The first real thing I did was enter a pork rib competition in El Centro. I got 13th out of 19 teams. Pretty much right in the middle of some pretty serious pitmasters. I met a lot of good guys that weekend and will be going back for my 3rd time this year. After then, I did my first pop up at a local winery and again, I was hooked.

Has it been a smooth road?
Not a smooth road at all. The best thing I have going is an amazing support system in my wife. She’s always there when I’m down and definitely keeps me going. I used to read all these articles about opening a restaurant and they’d be asked what advice they had for someone just starting out. They all would say, don’t do it. I would tell myself, I was a kitchen manager at The Cheesecake Factory. I worked 18hr shifts. I work when I’m sick. How hard can it be?

Let Me tell you, IT IS HARD! After leaving my full-time job, I realized that I have to generate my own business. I have to keep up my momentum. I have to post on social media and buy small wares and not blow my budget. Well, I still have a hard time with the budget. I had to learn how to pay my self after I pay others. And that no one is gonna do it for you.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the CHAR BBQ story. Tell us more about the business.
Right now, Char BBQ is a small batch craft barbecue company. I specialize in taking the best barbecue from each region and making it my own. I make everything from scratch, from smoked meats to sides, sauces, rubs and condiments. I can be found at breweries, wineries, street fairs, corporate and private caterings. Each menu is personally made for each event to make a special occasion for everyone. Sometimes, it’s exhausting, but the comments and appreciation is way worth it.

I can honestly say my barbecue is the best I’ve ever had. Many of my guests will agree. I’ve met a lot of awesome pit bosses that have great products. The thing that sets me apart is the attention to detail. The freshly made sides and freshly made pickles and pickled onions. It’s the full package that you can’t find anywhere except CharBBQ.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
There’s a movement going on right now in Southern California. I’m actually a member of the socal bbq movement on social media. With so many transplants and barbecue growing in popularity, I expect to see a lot of barbecue joints pop up in the future. We’ll see who survives. I think it’s the ones who lay down roots and be true to themselves will come out on top.

I’m in the process of figuring out what’s next. I have an interest in a food hall being built close by. Catering is growing by the day. I’m not sure where I’ll land, but I know Barbecue is in my heart and pulsing through my veins.

Contact Info:

  • Website: charbbqsd.com
  • Phone: 443-975-5576
  • Email: charbbqsd@gmail.com
  • Instagram: instagram@char_bbq_sd
  • Facebook: facebook@charbbqsd

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