Spring Popup event

Two Meats and a side of sleet

I honestly haven't been this anxious about a pop-up in a very long time. This was my first pop-up in just under a year; I believe it's been about 10 months, to be exact. Honestly, how could I not be if the odds were not in my favor. The weather was set for rain which luckily somewhat changed. I haven't been in the pop-up community in a while, so I didn't know if a crowd would still show up, even though I had received a fair amount of interest for public events. My travel and filming schedule has made that more difficult than I'd like to admit.

Though it has been roughly a year since my last event, certain things have remained the same. A great example of that is the prep work for a pop-up on a Saturday frequently starts on a Monday. In this particular case, it actually started 6 to 8 weeks prior as my buddy Bryan. Of Secret Pint BBQ decided to collaborate and create, as far as I know, the first smoked pork jerk sausage offered in Atlanta at a pop-up event. This required both of us going back-and-forth, making several test batches of pork, finding the right balance to incorporate the flavor and spice of my jerk rub, and seasoning with the fattiness and texture of an all pork sausage. I'm not going to lie; the research and development on this one was rather tasty, and looking forward to the next round of it. We eventually came up with an end result we were both proud to put our names on.

That was just the first piece of this entire pop-up. Next was acquiring the rest of the ingredients needed. Meat prices have been on the rise; there's no surprise there. I then had to create my jerk sauce and jerk rub. I make it fresh, nothing from the bottle here. You can taste the difference trust me. After spending the week sourcing ingredients and gathering supplies prepping the meat was finally time to start smoking. The event started the following day at 1 PM, with pre-orders beginning 30 minutes before, so I started the cook roughly the day before in the late afternoon. This allowed me to finish the cook and use the transport time to allow them to properly rest. Running the smoker all through the night, I suddenly remembered why I loved doing pop-ups in the first place as much as I love seeing the smiling faces of everyone attending, there's just a calmness that sets over you as you're running your rig stuck in the fire in the dead of night. Left to the venue just after sunrise as we were making the jerk chicken right then and there on-site once we arrived, we set up everything needed the tents, the stations, the cleaning stations, and fired up the smoker. Little did I know things were about to shift not in my favor as I was under the tent getting things together, I started to hear the sound of something hard-hitting metal repeatedly that sound grew very quickly and very fast I stepped out of the tent to my surprise to find medium to small pieces of hail falling onto my smoker I was shocked to say the least. In typical Georgia weather fashion, things shifted from hail to snow to sleet back to hell if I wasn't there to experience it myself, I would never believe it happened.

While this is going on, I start to get it in my head and wonder if I should've done this in the first place. Mind you, this event was also in conjunction with one of my brand partners, who flew into town to document the entire event itself. I finally received a ray of hope and sunshine in the form of my littlest biggest supporter Keira. She always knows how to brighten my day, and this day was no different. She wrote me a fantastic note which I immediately stopped everything I was doing to kneel down and read. It truly warmed my heart and changed my entire mood for the day. I gifted her a replica apron her size for Christmas last year, and she happened to have it with her, so I asked her if she'd like to help me run the pop-up. She smiled said yes, and that took me over the moon. I taught her how to slice brisket, I explained to her what oxtail was, and we just had a great time. As it got a little colder, I thought it was best for her to clock out for the day and go enjoy the event with her family. The line continued on all day. It never broke; orders kept coming in and in, and I did my best along with my team to make sure we processed all of them properly. When I tell you the line went until we ran out of food, we made just the right amount of everything. By the time the last plate was made, myself and the team were exhausted but we still held smiles on our faces knowing we put on a successful pop-up. This particular pop-up was the start of a cooking tour that I'm doing that will bring me all across the country. I'm glad to say that I'm more confident than ever to continue cooking on the road due to the success of this particular pop-up event. I would like to wish a deeply heartfelt thank you and an immense amount of gratitude to everyone who was patient with me and team and supported the event that day. I truly do appreciate it. It means the world to thank you very much, and I'll see you guys soon.

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