At Arise, Grill, & Eat BBQ, our journey into the world of barbecue began with a chance encounter. Owner and Pitmaster, James Travis, found his inspiration while watching the Barbecue Pitmasters competition show in 2017. What started as a fascination turned into an obsession, and he began perfecting his craft with an Oklahoma Joe's offset smoker. Word quickly spread about the unforgettable flavors James was creating, and in 2018, Arise, Grill, & Eat BBQ was born.
Our commitment to crafting exceptional barbecue led us to enter competitions, where we learned the art of the pit and the balance of rubs and sauces. In 2019, James was crowned Grand Champion at Cooking for a Cause, further fueling our passion for the grill. From our humble beginnings to our current journey with a state-of-the-art HBT pit, Arise, Grill, & Eat BBQ is more than a restaurant; it's a flavorful adventure. We're excited to share our love for barbecue with you and create unforgettable moments one bite at a time. Welcome to our smoky world of mouthwatering traditions.
Arise, Grill, & Eat BBQ owes it's beginnings to a television show. Owner and Pitmaster, James Travis, stumbled across Barbeque Pitmasters competition cooking show in 2017 and was bitten by the BBQ bug. Serena Travis, James’ wife, would often roll her eyes as he was absorbed in an episode. He always assured her, “I'm taking notes.” Serena fed his obsession by buying him his first pit as a Christmas present… An Oklahoma Joe's offset smoker. James began turning out smoked meats and practicing his craft. It was with this smoker he first cooked for someone “professionally”: two briskets for a local church’s ladies conference.
Word of his obsession and ability to turn out good BBQ started to get around and he was asked to cook for other folks. It became apparent the Oklahoma Joe wasn’t big enough. James and Serena discussed the situation and decided to invest in a larger pit. With 2 pieces of scrap pipe provided by a friend and some steel they purchased, the boys in Chris Bennett’s welding class took James’ design and turned out our first “big” reverse flow pit. Four feet long and 24 inches in diameter, it could hold 4 brisket and 8 pork butts at a time and we were in “business”. So, in 2018, Arise, Grill, & Eat BBQ was born. Requests to provide meat continued.
In 2018, while visiting his girls in Austin, James met Aaron Franklin of the World Famous Franklin BBQ. Aaron took time to sit down with James and his son in law, Xavier, and the three had a wide ranging conversation about just about everything…except BBQ. Thankfully, Serena ordered Aaron’s book for James which answered the 3-4 questions James really wanted to ask Aaron during their visit. Franklin BBQ is an inspiration to Arise, Grill, & Eat along with Don Davis of Mr. Butts and Don Gregory of Capp’s BBQ. James and Serena hope they can continue to live up to these legacies.
James entered his first competition using homemade rub. He is sure he finished last…but it was still good food. He didn’t use a sauce as good BBQ shouldn’t need to be sauced…but to win a competition, it’s basically required. (BLASPHEMY… but it is what it is) Still, James was taking notes. In 2019, James entered Cooking for a Cause in DeRidder, Louisiana and was crowned Grand Champion, and was awarded 1st place in Ribs AND 1st place in brisket.
Around this time James was asked to cook and sell at the Columbia Farmer’s Market. On his first day there, he sold out by the end. On his next weekend, he sold out by 9:30! And with that, the idea folks enjoyed what he was doing took hold. James had developed a sauce people really seemed to like and his rub was popular. The idea of a restaurant began to take form.
It, again, became apparent a larger pit was needed to cook for events like the Caldwell Christmas Parade, The Louisiana Art & Folk Festival, and the Columbia Farmer’s Market. While sitting at the Spotted Dog Big Buck contest where we had prepared 200 pulled pork sandwiches, we decided to purchase a larger pit. James had been researching various pit designs and manufacturers and called HBT Smokers in Guntersville, Alabama the following Monday and ordered the pit he used to open the restaurant. From the 751 square inches of cooking space on the original Oklahoma Joe’s to over 11,000 square inches (80 square feet) of cooking area on the new HBT; Arise, Grill, & Eat has come a long way…but this is just the beginning. We are excited to have you on this journey with us.
James, Serena and the kids
Arise, Grill, & Eat BBQ, LLC
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