Nashville, TN is renowned as “Music City” USA. When you get to Adams Barbeque, you’ll find something to sing about; the taste of BBQ on a wood fire pits! Of course, it will be hard to sing the praises of their meals because you’ll be too busy eating the inspiration. We caught up to Eric Adams and had a great conversation.
Lang: What was it that compelled you to start this business?
AB: We started out in the backyard competition division and realized we enjoyed it so much that we decided to start our own catering company.
Eric and the Lang 84 Deluxe at one of his first pop-up events
Lang: Where you doing much cooking/BBQing before you started?
AB: Not really. I grilled for coworkers at the office and for friends and family.
Lang: Do you have a partner?
AB: My wife Lydia. We both still work full time jobs and work on the food truck most weekends. We do however; take the food truck out on some week nights when we have an invitation. She prepares most of the sides and handles the finances. She is also going to school part time for a degree in business to help us on our journey.
Lang: What would you say makes your business unique?
AB: It’s our cooking style that makes us unique. Most, if not all, the major restaurants in town uses gas assist or electric pits. We use only wood fired pits. I use a mixture of red and white oak. I want to use something different from the others here in this area, they use hickory.
Adams smoked, fall off the bone, wings and ribs
Lang: How did you go about starting the business?
AB: We started out taking lunch plate orders from my wife’s and my day jobs and it just grew from that. Our house was always the “hang out” house. We would always grill food, mainly wings and would experiment with different types of food and flavors. At work, we would have monthly employee appreciation luncheons and somehow, I was always on the grill.
Lang: Tell us about your business with some detail.
AB: We are a mobile unit that travels from site to site in Nashville. We don’t have a restaurant, so all of our food prep is done in a commissary/shared kitchen and cooked on our Lang. We offer catering but most of our work is done at pop up events and breweries
Lang: What were the pitfalls you didn’t expect when you went in business?
AB: Our biggest pitfall is the amount of capital or credit needed to purchase equipment to get started with. And most of the time you don’t know what you need until you need it. Plus dealing with the licenses and other state and local regulations. Setting up the right bookkeeping and so on. Lots of details there.
Lang: What would you recommend to someone new getting in the business?
AB: I recommend that they do as much research as possible on the local codes before purchasing a mobile unit. Because it will save time and money on inspections and modifications. The last thing you want is to get a business going and then find out you are not in compliance and that will set you back time and money wise. The business part you can learn but the key is, above all, you really have to love to cook and bring people real satisfaction in what you are making. If you do that, your BBQ business will do well.
Signature Brisket sandwich: the Grover. 1 lb of brisket, spicy beef sausage, Kansas City style sweet heat glaze on a brioche bun
Lang: When did you first purchase a Lang?
AB: We purchased an 84 Deluxe with a chargrill in 2018 to handle the volume that we were generating, and we still depend on it.
Lang: What features do you like best about Lang?
AB: My favorite feature is the modified warmer. We use it all the time on smaller cooks. So, if I’m only doing a case of ribs, I can use the warmer and shut off the main chamber. The Reverse flow feature is the heart of the system. So far, we have been able to handle all catering and order request since we bought the Lang 84. I’ve always used a stick burner type of cooker. I was at my very 1st backyard competition, saw a fellow competitor using a Lang and I was intrigued. From then on, I did my research, saved my money and the rest is history.
Huge brisket sandwich
Lang: What is your main goal as a chef?
AB: I don’t really see myself as a chef. I know several chefs that take that title very serious. I don’t have any formal culinary training or degree. I’m okay in the kitchen but I’m much better at the pit. So, my main goal is to show that pit masters can operate a successful mobile unit also. We are just regular people, doing what we love to do and making people’s belly happy in the process. We are not “trained chefs.” We want to inspire others to never give up on their dream, that they can still do and be whatever they want to be. There is no need to have a fancy title to be a successful small business owner.
Slicing ribs for a lunch order
Lang: What are the meals you like to prepare most?
AB: My favorite is beef brisket because it’s the most difficult and there aren’t too many restaurants that offer it. I do minimal trimming and I use a rub with high black pepper content. We don’t particularly use a “style”(Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, etc) of smoking brisket. We just cook it our way, the Lang way…Reverse Flow…nothing fancy.
Pulled pork sliders offered t Adams local brewery pop-up
Lang: Are you currently in competition?
AB: No. We are still very small, and I don’t think that we are on anybody’s radar yet. Besides, we are committed to building our business and making happy, loyal customers. We are focusing on our mobile unit at the present time
Lang: When you do compete, what is the most important factor in competing?
AB: Having fun no matter what, and enjoying the experience, and meeting new teams and sampling other teams’ foods.
On the road again
Lang: What can you share about the BBQ community as a whole?
AB: That everyone that I’ve met has been friendly and super helpful.