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Open Range: Pork Barrel BBQ

A sauce inspired by acts of congress.

Now hailed by pit masters nationwide, Pork Barrel BBQ started out as the food fantasy of two fatigued Senate staffers. Stuck working late on Capitol Hill one night, they started talking about how much they would give for a plate of barbecue from one of the joints back home in Missouri. They dreamed of tender brisket and ribs while the House discussed pork barrel spending. Suddenly the idea for Pork Barrel BBQ was born.

It would be two years before Brett Thompson and Heath Hall would finally brave going into business, and six months more before they sold their first tin of Pork Barrel BBQ All-American Spice Rub. But in May 2009 their luck took a turn when they were contacted by the new reality show Shark Tank. Thompson and Hall headed to Hollywood in July, landed their first grocery store account in August, and business has been booming ever since.

In late 2011 the duo opened the doors to their very own barbecue joint. So if you ever find yourself in D.C., be sure to save time for a quick detour to Alexandria, Virginia, for some Midwestern perfection courtesy of Pork Barrel BBQ. But until then, you’ll have to settle for using their original sauces on your own concoctions. We suggest the original rub and barbecue sauce for starters, but don’t overlook Pork Barrel’s equally delicious variations, either. Try the sweet sauce with chicken, the mustard on pretzels, and use the vinegar blend for a classic South Carolina pulled pork sandwich.

888.476.7522, www.porkbarrelbbq.com

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