“I would describe [the atmosphere] as being at home in your backyard, just enjoying yourself, smelling the food, listening to blues,” owner Archie Ware said. “You can’t have barbecue unless you got Kool-Aid, and I have Kool-Aid.”
Raised in Roosevelt, New York, Ware spent 29 years as a sanitation worker for the Town of Hempstead.
“I always loved to cook. And then when I retired, I was sitting at home bored, and my wife said, ‘Go do what you like to do.’”
Now, his retirement is over.
“I’m open five days a week, and I’m here seven days a week,” he said.
His top seller is the lemon pepper chicken wings, a recipe born from experimentation.
“You’ve got to be willing to step outside the box,” he said. “My brisket is lemon pepper, and no, it’s not known for brisket to be lemon pepper. But guess what. [People] love it. The au jus that comes from that lemon pepper is very, very dangerous. Everybody wants it.”
At Backyard Barbeque, smoke is the key ingredient.
“Everything tastes great with smoke,” Ware said.
He uses hickory to smoke his meats and cherry wood on sides like macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and candied yams. His collard greens are laced with smoked turkey, a recipe passed down by his mother.
Some say his barbecue is South Carolina-style, but Ware calls it a style all his own.
“Everything that I cook is different from what other people cook,” he said.
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