Menomonee Falls is a village in Waukesha County, Wisconsin; the most populated village in the state and the fourth largest community in Waukesha County. Between 1990 and 2010, the population grew by almost 9,000. As of 2016, the Village had an estimated 36,907 residents and had become an important economic hub with major business developments including Kohl’s Corporate campus. This is where you’ll find Slo’ Motion BBQ owned by pitmaster Adam Gegare. He shared some of his experiences with us in order to offer some encouragement to others.
Lang: How did you settle on a business name?
AG: I wrote down a list of names and then Google searched them to ensure they were not being used. Slo’ Motion stood out as a solid choice. Barbecue is a slow process and takes time. I liked the hyphenated version.
Lang: Where are you located?
AG: Menomonee Falls, WI.
Lang: What compelled you to start this business?
AG: My faith and my wife. I worked for the state of Wisconsin Department of Corrections for 21 years. I had a resurgence in my faith, I felt God working on me and pushing me in a different direction. I tested things out for a summer back in 2019, and they went very well. That summer brought me closer to God and my faith, in August of 2019 my wife and I agreed that I would, should, and I did take a leap of faith. I quit corrections September 5, 2019 (my last day) and started Slo’ Motion BBQ fulltime. Then COVID came. The winter and spring were rough, very rough. I didn’t get my food trailer until June 2020 and hustled my butt off to make it through. COVID was a test of my faith and the choice I had made.
Lang: Were you cooking and barbequing before you started the business?
AG: I was yes, but nothing serious. I started on an OKJ before I bought my first Lang.
Lang: Do you have a partner?
AG: God and my family. I am 100% owner.
Lang: How would you say your business is unique?
AG: What sets me apart from others is my story and my faith. I have days like every other small business when I think I will fail. It is a test of the heart and perseverance. I believe I am where God wants and with that I cannot fail. I keep pushing on, I do not give myself an option to fail, I pigeonhole myself into not accepting the excuses. I am not afraid to tell my story.
Bacon wrapped poppers
Lang: Any other factors?
AG: I cook almost everything from scratch, I use family recipes and ones I have created on my own. My food is always fresh, I use high quality ingredients and don’t sacrifice quality. Customer service is also very important. I have an opportunity to share a part of me with my guests when I cook for them. I take that very seriously and try my best to have good service, even though I do not have that background. One of the things I try to do is bring people around me that compliment my weaknesses.
Lang: What do you find most challenging about running your business?
AG: The most challenging, yet regarding part is the hours. The craft of 100% wood fired barbecue takes time and you can’t sleep on that.
Lang: Do you have a restaurant, a food truck or other?
AG: Food trailer, in the process of opening a retail location.
Lang: How did you go about starting the business?
AG: I was doing it part time so had an idea of what it took to get moving in the right direction. You have to figure it out and do it right.
Lang: Tell us about your business with some additional background details.
AG: My company motto is God, Family, Barbecue. I put that right on the front of my food trailer. We are a family-owned company that prides itself on good food at a good price. When I operate my food trailer and come up with menu items, I always look how I can make it fast and tasty. People don’t want to wait forever to get their food, they want it fast and it better be good. My niche is catering. I do a lot of corporate events, weddings, and public events. I also make my own barbecue sauce. I currently have four in the line.
Not only looks good but must taste good
Lang: Any pitfalls you didn’t expect when you went into business?
AG: In 2020 I was set up outside of a friends business, doing “roadside service.” I started there right after I got my trailer. In august, 5-6 weeks in, the local government and police came up to me during lunch time. They told me I had to leave immediately, it was 12:15 and I had a good size line. I was to stay there until 6PM that day and had a lot of food. I asked if I could stay, and they told me no. I asked why and they told me the property manager and the chain grocery store didn’t want me there anymore and I had to leave.
That moment was very hard and difficult. I remember driving off and asking God why, what did I do wrong. I remember begging him in tears to tell me where we were going. I was devastated, I had no answers. Then as I merged on to the interstate I turned K-Love on. Rescue Story (my favorite song) came on by Zach Williams, moments later a semi-trailer merged in front of me, on the back of the trailer written in the dirt were the words “Jesus is Lord” and under that was a cross with John 3:16 under it. I knew then in that moment He had me, I could have peace knowing he no longer wanted me there, in that spot and I was to go a different direction.
I’ve come to realize that some folks don’t like mobile operations, and some make it difficult for us to do business. I take that all in stride and keep it moving.
Mac ‘N Cheese aimed to please
Lang: What would you recommend to someone new in the business?
AG: It is tough, it is not easy. I hope you know how to work hard all the time and do many things you don’t like to do. I see folks all the time asking for all the answers. You gotta figure that out on your own. Each person and business is different.
Lang: When did you first purchase a Lang?
AG: In 2019 I bought a used Lang 84 Deluxe on a wide body wagon. I was researching smokers and came across Lang and took a chance on it. They are a great smoker. I eventually sold that. I bought a used 48 Deluxe that I still own. I own a Fat Boy which is on the back of my trailer, and I recently purchased a twin 84.
Lang: What features do you like best about Lang?
AG: They are consistent and easy to manage if you understand fire management. They are solid and durable, hold up well to heat.
Lang: What can you share about the Reverse Flow process?
AG: To me they create a light smoke flavor that I enjoy, I don’t like heavy smoke.
Lang: What is your main goal as a chef?
AG: I’m no chef, I am a self-proclaimed pitmaster but that might even be a stretch. My main goal is to crank out consistently great barbecue. I am always working to improve my craft, but it has to be consistent, and it has to be great.
Lang: What are the favorite meals you like to prepare?
AG: My customers really enjoy my brisket. BBQ Sundaes are a favorite (Mac ‘n Cheese, topped with meat and sauce in a cup.
Lang: Are you involved in any competitions?
AG: Nope, not my thing.
Lang: What type of wood do you like when cooking?
AG: Wisconsin Oak.
Lang: What would you like your customers or would-be customers to know about your business?
AG: I appreciate you supporting me, taking a chance on me and if you return, I am grateful. I do not take it lightly that people give me money out of their pocket to purchase something I made.