Established two years ago, HI-BBQ offers barbecued smoked meats, and according to the owners its vision is to make and sell food they crave.
What’s on the menu?
HI-BBQ offers traditional BBQ items slow-cooked on a custom built smoker. Anywhere between 200-300 pounds of smoked sausage, brisket, and ribs are cooked in the smoker everyday. Starting at $13, plate lunches come with a choice of spicy or non-spicy coleslaw and honey-baked beans with pieces of bacon.
Two of the best sellers at HI-BBQ, according to Cove Pontin, owner of HI-BBQ, are the brisket on rice and the Sliderito, shredded brisket on four Hawaiian rolls. They are sold at $15 each. Pontin said, “Those two were not original menu items. We tried it out and people loved it and we’ve sold it since we introduced them on the menu.”
The last item on the menu is the 18 and Over. It received its name because it contains over 18 oz of smoked meat. Priced at $25, this item consists of everything on the menu piled into one. According to employee, Jeff Jones, it’s the best way to taste and appreciate the whole menu.
Pontin came up with the concept three years ago after buying a food truck at an auction and decided to try selling barbecue. He nodded toward the other food trucks in the vicinity of his establishment and joked, “This place really needs another shrimp truck. Another Thai food truck.”
He mentioned he would cook for his friends and they would give him feedback on cooking. After trial and error, Pontin was able to find things to put on his menu.
Jones talked about his favorite item on the menu. “Brisket. It’s out of this world. My dad and I used to slow smoke brisket back home. It’s pretty much what I live on. I’m thinking about patenting it. I’m feeling surf-good. Feeling in shape. I just pretty much just eat brisket. The Jeff-Jones-Brisket-Diet.”
Stating his favorite item on the menu, Pontin said, “The Brisket Sliderito with spicy coleslaw. I just whip one up really fast, pound it, and just keep on working. I just don’t get tired of it. Even after two years it’s still awesome. Its salty, peppery, juicy, spicy goodness. Combined with the sweet Hawaiian rolls, it’s my go to snack.”
What are customers saying?
Emily Batac, alumna from Florida, who is expecting a baby soon said, “I liked the brisket a lot. It’s definitely ‘baby approved’. The service there was great and they were really kind. The prices were reasonable and plates were big enough to share with another person. I’d give HI-BBQ an 8/10.”
Another customer, Teal Zimmerman, a freshman from Florida majoring in graphic design, said, “I liked eating here because it’s real barbecue. It tastes authentic.” She also loved the idea of the smoker and how some of the employees were from her native state of Florida.
Expansion/ Thank you, come again
The owners of HI-BBQ have ambitious plans. Pontin and his wife plan to create two more food trucks: one offering Italian food and the other pizza. Pontin said, “We got HI-BBQ2. That’s our new truck. Got it at auction. We’re playing around with it.
We also just bought this third truck. That is going to become HI-Pizza. Tell me, where can you get good pizza on this island? My wife is from Chicago. They have awesome food in general and that truck will probably turn into a taste of Chicago. We’re trying to fill cravings that we have for ourselves.”
His wife, Kate Pontin, said, “Once we get the third truck with pizza and Italian food in general, we’re also going to do online ordering. We ordered pizza from Dominos and I got to say it’s not real pizza. It was not worth the $53 for two pizzas.”