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Photo By Collins Laatsch

Smoke Signals: Legacy Smokehouse

Seemingly showing up out of nowhere—did you even remember there was a Long John Silver’s on that end of High Street?— three friends from Grove City (Brian Jordan, Chad Smock, and Ty Sells) started selling out of their simple salt-and-pepper brisket and housemade jalapeno cheddar sausage mere weeks after setting up shop in October. We spoke with Jordan about how it all got started.

What is your culinary background?

Honestly, we don’t have much at all … actually, we have zero culinary background. We’re just a couple of guys that fell in love with the idea of what Central Texas BBQ is and what it represents. There’s so much history there.

What is your inspiration?

We took a trip in February of 2017 to Central Texas to have our original smoker built. While it was being built, we did a Central Texas BBQ tour and experienced our personal BBQ Gods, like Aaron Franklin, John Lewis, Wayne Mueller, and Tootsie Tomanetz. On the the 1,000-mile drive home is when we came up with our name, Legacy. We hope to carry on the Legacy of what these iconic pitmasters have done before us.

If you could barbeque any other meat—besides the usual suspects, chicken, pork, and beef—what would it be? Why?

We want to stay true to our Texas roots and what Legacy represents. A popular cut in Texas is Shoulder Clod, which no one does here. It’s one of our favorite cuts that has the most amazing beef flavor. We would choose shoulder clod, beef plate ribs, and prime rib. All of them are coming soon…

Is there enough room in Columbus for all these BBQ places?

Absolutely! We hope to just become one of the many. We love Smoked on High and Red Door and all the others. Columbus is well overdue for great BBQ joints and we’re just grateful to find our niche.

Who (beside yourself, obviously) makes the best BBQ in Columbus?

We love Smoked on High. The meats are smoked well, and you can tell it’s a labor of love for Max. He has a different flavor profile than us—which is awesome—because that’s what makes BBQ so great. That’s where we go on our days off to enjoy Columbus barbeque. B&K Smokehouse is awesome! Great owners doing it right. Love their turkey ribs (had no idea there was such a thing) and their mustard sauce would make a smoked cowboy boot taste good!

Was there a time when you thought this wouldn’t have worked in this city?

One of the partners lived in Dallas for eight years. He fell in love with Central Texas BBQ, which is how it all started. People in Texas wait two-to-three hours in line for good barbecue, and we did as well. We felt like if we could even come close to what they were serving, we could make a run at it. However, we were all scared. You put so much time and energy into your “art” and then wait to be judged by your customers. It was an emotion that none of us were prepared for. We’re so grateful that we’ve been so well received.

What’s the classic mistake you see people making with BBQ—either at home or in restaurants?

Rushing the process. We’re guilty of doing it in the beginning, too. When in doubt, lower the temp and give it a few more hours. You won’t be disappointed.

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with BBQ?

I was living in Miami and bought a $99 smoker from Walmart. It was horrible—the food was a disaster. I thought smoking meant you try and produce the heaviest, thickest smoke possible and you’re good. Turns out, you want the complete opposite. From there, I moved to East Texas, which was still sauce-based and pork-heavy because of its regional tendencies. I stopped at every roadside joint I passed and sampled it all. I then moved to Dallas and visited Central Texas where it was almost like a religious experience. People will say their BBQ is the best until they visit Central Texas. It’s a whole other level and you can’t possibly understand it until you visit. We hope to make that trek a little shorter by carrying on their Legacy.

What sets you apart from the other BBQ joints in Columbus?

We’re one of the only ones, if not the only one that uses all wood smokers. We say it’s a labor of love because we are monitoring our smokers and tending to the fire and meats 24 hours a day. What most people don’t realize is that we actually start at 9 a.m. on Thursday just to get our fires ready and our craft meats ready for service at 11 a.m. on Friday. We are cooking around the clock from 9 a.m., Thursday until we close on Sunday. We tend the fire, spritz the meat, wrap them in the middle of the night, let them rest and then get them in warmers to be ready for service. It’s not a “set it & forget it” process like most places with gas assist. We will never let anything but Ohio white oak fuel our cookers in hopes that it’s the best in Columbus!

The secret to true BBQ, in six words: Wood, smoke, time, wood, smoke, beer.