Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical area. The city was founded in the 1730s, and after going through a couple of different names (New Carthage, New London, Newton), its name became Wilmington in 1740. It was named after Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington. In 2014, Wilmington’s riverfront was ranked as the “Best American Riverfront” by readers. It’s here that we talked with Douglas J. Morgan, founder of Morgan’s Carolina Q/Carolina BBQ LLC of Virginia.
Douglas Morgan is a BBQ enthusiast, backyard chef, recipe developer, and BBQ competition cook in the Wilmington area. Doug shared his thought on the barbeque business.
Lang: What got you interested in starting this business:
DM: I retired after 27 years in federal government as a Special Agent and followed lifelong dream to enter the BBQ and sauce market.
Doug at the Carolina Q
Lang: Were you cooking/BBQing before you started the business:
DM: I was cooking on regular charcoal grill prior to purchasing a Lang 36 hybrid deluxe and 84 Deluxe.
Lang: Do you have a partner:
DM: My wife and I make up our business.
It’s the whole hog or nothing!
Lang: What would you say makes your business unique:
DM: We sell unique NC style BBQ Sauces that are gluten free, fat free, cholesterol free, no msg added and no high fructose corn syrup. Not only taste great but healthy for the consumer.
Lang: What do you find most challenging about running your business:
DM: Competing with major manufacturers like Sweet Baby Rays.
Lang: Do you have a restaurant, a food truck or other:
DM: Mail order business and two distributors to grocery stores (1,000 stores approximate and being reviewed to get in major warehouse retailer).
A few of the extraordinary sauces
Lang: How did you go about starting the business:
DM: Incorporated in 2016 and started out of our kitchen and have expanded to two factories in NC.
Lang: Tell us about your business with some background detail:
DM: Small business that has expanded to major retailers, specialty shops and stores as well as internet website sales on mancrates.com and grillsy.com.
Plenty of room for plenty of food
Lang: What were the pitfalls you didn’t expect when you went into business:
DM: Initial startup expenses and shelving costs with grocery retailers just to get on grocery store shelfs.
Lang: What would you recommend to someone new getting in the business:
DM: Have good financial backing and have patience in connecting with major chains.
Lang: When did you first purchase a Lang:
Lang: What Lang(s) are you using currently:
DM: Using both listed above and do local catering and competitions with 84D. I do the year end cooks for a couple of NASCAR teams feeding about 400 individuals at each sitting. These teams all have my sauces in their shops and haulers daily and at race events.
Lang: What features do you like best about Lang:
DM: Reverse flow and efficiency of cooking. Nothing else like it.
Lang: What do you think about Reverse Flow:
DM: Only way to go and never worry about burning food or hot spots.
Lang: What is your main goal as a chef:
DM: Cooking great food for those who love smoked foods.
Bring extra napkins
Lang: What are the favorite meals you like to prepare:
DM: My favorite foods to cook are Boston butts, ribs, chicken, and brisket.
Lang: Are you in competition:
DM: Yes, we have done several to include Pigskin Pigout at ECU football stadium, Smoke on the Water in NC, Wilmington NC Pig Out, South Riding Virginia concert series vendor.
Lang: What do you find as the most important factor in competing:
DM: Cooking quality meats for judging and maintaining steady temps in the Lang.
Lang: What do you enjoy most about competition:
DM: The competing itself and the art of cooking for judging.
Lang: What can you share about the BBQ community as a whole:
DM: The community is growing, and business is very competitive especially in the sauce industry.
Lang: What type of wood do you favor when cooking:
DM: Oak, Hickory and Pecan
Lang: Can you share a recipe with us and include a photo as well:
DM: I have shared a couple on Lang’s website in the blog section. You can find them under my name.