What started off as a hobby for Chris D’Addario, turned into a career as pitmaster and owner of Bearded One BBQ.
D’Addario’s goal is simple: to serve good BBQ while staying true to his NJ roots. From ribs, to pork, to brisket, to chicken, Bearded One does it all. Taylor Sumereau chatted with D’Addario about how the business came about and how it’s going now.
How It All Began
JERSEY BITES: What inspired you to open up your food truck?
CHRIS D’ADDARIO: It all started with a cheap backyard smoker that got us hooked on BBQ. So we started competing on the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) circuit and slowly began upgrading our equipment while vending some smaller events from a tent. We started getting a really good reception from people on our food. We were being asked to do more events and such, which made us realize we needed another upgrade, to the current trailer. When we purchased this trailer we had it made so we would be able to do both competitions and vending from it.
How did you come up with your name?
We originally started out as Bearded Pigs BBQ but due to some trademark problems, we had to change our name. We put up a poll on our page and asked friends. When we would be doing events, people would ask my wife questions about the food and she would just tell them to go ask the Bearded One.
On the Menu
What’s your most popular menu item?
Far and away our most popular is the brisket grilled cheese. We can’t make them fast enough most of the time. For me, my favorite is just ribs. I have always loved them and don’t eat them as much anymore because we are constantly making them. It’s overload, but when you have one it’s like going back to an old staple that doesn’t let you down.
Any new menu items in the works?
We are going to be putting out a new grilled cheese this year but we have to do a few more test runs before we roll it out fully. Then we have another item or two we’ve been tossing around—but we don’t want to let the cat out of the bag quite yet.
Any surprises, like menu items that are much more or less popular than you expected?
That brisket grilled cheese: total mistake! Last year at the beginning of the season, my wife and I were driving down to AC for a long weekend and just saying, “Well maybe we can try this,” or, “How about that?” Just going back and forth. Then she mentioned a brisket grilled cheese. So we played around with it a few times at home until we got something we thought was pretty good and gave it a few of our friends for feedback. The first event we sold out. Next event brought more. Sold out and it seems to just keep on going that way. So we started doing pulled pork ones as well.
Keeping up with Bearded One BBQ
Where can people find your truck?
We are an event truck only, meaning we don’t have a daily spot. We tend to do a lot of food truck and beer festivals and are primarily in Northern Jersey. You can find us at almost every Just Jersey Fest.
Does social media help you grow your business?
Social media has helped us a ton, just by being able to inform people of our next events since we aren’t at a daily location. It helps get the word out to people about where we will be. And it helps us talk to people if they have questions. It’s an easy way for people to reach us.
On Other Food Trucks
Which NJ food trucks are you a fan of?
The Guac Spot. We absolutely love their tacos and guac. This is the place we are constantly getting food from at events. For dessert, it’s Glazed & Confused. Their mini doughnuts are awesome! We actually had them do dessert for our baby shower.
Why It’s All Worth It
What is it like working on the truck?
We like to have fun working on the truck. The guys who work for us are all super close friends. Nick, who is on the truck for almost every event, has been a huge help to us and so it’s just fun being able to work with people you enjoy being around. It makes the day go fast because you can get pissed at each other and [then] laugh about it because you are that close.
What is your favorite thing about owning and operating a food truck?
There are so many things about it, but just hearing people come up afterwards and telling you that they loved the food. To be able to talk BBQ with them is great, then the next event you’re at and you see them come up. It’s a great feeling knowing you are doing something right. Amazing.
Click here to see Bearded One BBQ’s full event calendar or to book the truck for a private event.
May 19: Beer, BBQ and Bacon Showdown
June 8: Middletown Food Truck Fest (rescheduled from May 18)
June 16: Just Jersey Fest in Mendham
June 30: Taco Palooza in Chester
—by Taylor Sumereau