Business is Smokin’ at Corner Pit BBQ

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Corner Pit BBQ

When Giles County cattle farmers Bill and Kristen Pfeiffer bought an old barbecue restaurant that had been damaged by a fire in 2008, they intended for it to be a real estate investment. But when Bill bought a wood-smoking barbecue pit a few months later and began experimenting, their plans for the property quickly changed.

“We wanted to keep the landmark tradition of barbecue that began on this corner back in the mid-1960s going and make it our own by creating a farm-to-table restaurant,” Kristen Pfeiffer says.

The couple remodeled the building in 2009 and converted the area destroyed by fire into a commercial kitchen. In May 2009, it reopened as Corner Pit BBQ and quickly gained a loyal following among Bryson residents and beyond.

“We have people come in weekly with stories from their childhood or younger years coming to our barbecue pit location,” Pfeiffer says. “It’s fun to hear what their past experiences have been and that we can provide new ones for them now. We have one couple who comes almost every Friday evening to eat, and it has been their tradition since they began dating back in the 1960s.”

Corner Pit BBQ

Corner Pit BBQ originally opened as Russell’s BBQ in 1965. Over the years, it changed owners and names a few times, last operating as Bo’s Corner Pit before the indoor pits caught fire in July 2008. One thing that hasn’t changed is the restaurant’s original vinegar-based barbecue sauce, a recipe that has been passed down from owner to owner.

The Dish on Corner Pit BBQ

Location: 107 Dellrose Rd. in Bryson
Hours: Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (7 p.m. in fall/winter) and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Phone: (931) 732-4575
Website: cornerpitbbq.com or facebook.com/cornerpitbbq

“The restaurant is known for its sauce and its history of being a barbecue eatery since the 1960s,” Pfeiffer says. “We’re also known for our brisket. We have people come just for the brisket – especially customers who have been to Texas.”

On the Pfeiffers’ farm, located just 1 mile from the restaurant, they raise grass-fed Lowline Angus cattle. They use the beef for the hamburgers sold at Corner Pit BBQ. The family is working to grow the vegetables this year for the hamburger toppings and salads they sell. They are also in the process of getting a USDA label that will allow them to sell their beef by the piece at the restaurant.

Bill and Kristen have three children – Jake (21), Conrad (15) and Gately (8).

“Jake has been instrumental in the business from the beginning. He preps the meat for the next day and puts the pork and brisket on to smoke in the evenings,” Pfeiffer says. “Jake has also been the front customer relations connection since the beginning and loves to help on catering jobs.”

Middle son Conrad prefers to be outdoors and helps more on the farm. And daughter Gately helps keep the restaurant dining room clean and likes to carry food to the customers.

“Gately is showing a real interest in learning the barbecue business,” Pfeiffer says.Corner Pit BBQ

The most popular meats on the menu are brisket and ribs. Bill and Jake developed their own rub to use on the ribs, and Kristen says their smoking method makes the meats “melt in your mouth.”

Homemade sides include beans, coleslaw, potato salad, broccoli salad and green beans. Specials include brunswick stew, stuffed baked potatoes and rib tips. Kristen peels and slices every vegetable that goes into their sides daily.

SEE ALSO: Corner Pit BBQ’s Coleslaw Recipe

While the original barbecue sauce is the most popular, Bill concocted a hot version of the original that has also gained many fans.

“We make a tomato-based sweet sauce that Bill and Jake developed,” Pfeiffer says. “Our white sauce recipe was created by Jake and is probably our second most popular sauce. We are in the process of getting our sauces bottled to sell on store shelves this year.”

The restaurant isn’t the only business growing for the Pfeiffer family. Their farm has grown from 15 acres in 1989 to approximately 300 acres of owned and leased land today.

“Our farm is an intensely managed, all-natural farm. We are striving to be a species diversified grazing operation in the next few years,” Pfeiffer says. “That means we will be adding sheep and goats into the grazing operation, which will eliminate the need for pesticides and chemicals for weed control.”

You might say farming is in their blood. Bill’s grandparents owned a ranch in California, and he recalls riding on a tractor with his grandfather through their orchards at age 5 and aspiring to have his own farm one day.

“Every day on a farm is different,” Bill Pfeiffer says. “There are 365 days of new projects to solve and complete every year. In farming, you wear many hats – electrician, handyman, vet, mechanic, weatherman, etc.”

Corner Pit BBQ - beef cattle

The Pfeiffers’ future in agriculture looks promising, as their kids are becoming more interested in the farm.

“Conrad thrives on helping with the rotation of the cattle,” Kristen Pfeiffer says. “While we are at the restaurant, he takes on the tasks of building new pens and moving cattle.”

In the coming years, the family hopes to raise more of the food they serve in their restaurant.

“We’re working hard to get the sauce and beef portions of our business to be the main moneymakers,” Kristen says. “The restaurant is a means of getting these products to the consumer. We hope everything we are building now will allow our children to continue on in the future.”

Still hungry? Find a recipe for Corner Pit BBQ’s fresh coleslaw.

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