Fiery friends

“Are you coming?” A seemingly innocent question about a road trip through the USA’s BBQ belt, but with bigger consequences than Kasper and Jord could have ever dreamed. Back in 2015, Kasper, a well-known Belgian entrepreneur with broad expertise in hospitality with an edge and mad cocktail skills, was most definitely triggered by the question. But he was clueless as to what Jord, beastly BBQ competitor, manager of Smokey Goodness BBQ catering and author of renowned BBQ books, really had in mind for a road trip meant to discover the States’ BBQ culture.

The road trip turned into a food frenzy that cut a 4.000-mile trail of culinary discovery between all kinds of barbecue walhallas and legends. Every smoker got opened, plates got filled, antacid tablets were consumed as if they were M&M’s, and the deep knowledge of a craft borne out of culinary fire was unraveled, just to burn on through the smoke-filled landscape – after a short pitstop at The King’s place in Memphis. Somewhere between the ginormous slow-smoked beef rips, baked beans and true IPAs, an idea rose from the ashes of the still smoldering fires: why not get mainland Europe acquainted with this tasty spectacle of fire? And not an uninspired carbon copy of what they had seen and consumed, but an original interpretation. An artisanal BBQ version enriched with the culinary arts and influences of local heroes from our own team of passionate crew members and suppliers?

Back from the States, the idea kept smoldering, albeit underground. Cunning plans were forged, and when the former yeast factory of De Koninck brewery proved to be an ideal location, the fire rapidly took hold. The concept was realized at breakneck speeds, leading up to a pretty amazing first year with a team of maniacs who gave it their all. Now, two years after the road trip, fiery friends Kasper and Jord can not only look back on a fun adventure through the USA, but also one hell of a ride in Antwerp. And they have only just begun…