Mike Jeffries always had a passion for cooking and wanted to share with the world “an amazing barbecue taste sensation,” but he also knew that he would need to find a unique niche business opportunity that would help differentiate him from everyone else. That point of difference came in the form of a behemoth barbecue smoker pit, a $45,000, three-tonne, engine-shaped beast that had to be imported to Tauranga all the way from Texas. But for Jeffries, this was non-negotiable. “When I discovered the superior barbecue techniques that Americans used, on such awesome equipment, I knew I had to bring it to New Zealand.”
That was at the end of 2010, and The Big Smoke BBQ has since spread throughout the North Island. They now have three large BBQ smoker pits and a base from which they can cater to the Auckland and Northland areas. Jeffries has also purchased a large Chevy truck and is in the planning stages of mounting a large smoker on it, expected to be completed in the upcoming months in time for the Auckland summer busy period. Furthermore, Big Smoke now has its own range of dry rubs, sauces and bacon jam.
With their mobile BBQ smoker pits and their catering set up, The Big Smoke BBQ can handle large and varied numbers. Weddings and corporate functions are favourites of the Big Smoke BBQ team, due to the high-spirited nature of the attendees. “We love seeing the surprising taste reactions we get from customers when they taste true style barbecue for the first time.” Popular dishes include Cajun chicken tenders with lemon lime youghurt dressing and pulled pork with the Hogs in Heaven pork rub and lashings of Big Smoke BBQ Sauce.
Jeffries was recently invited to take part in the Memphis in May BBQ World Championship by star of reality TV shot ‘BBQ Pitmasters’ star ‘Big Moe' Cason. The team placed fifth out of 65 at the annual competition – technically fourth equal, but an unlucky coin toss bumped them down a place.
Mike is now working on expansion plans with Auckland partner, Carl Edwards, so expect some more exciting future developments from The Big Smoke BBQ Co! Keep up to date through their Facebook page and website, www.thebigsmokebbq.co.nz.