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Father-son duo brings Texas barbecue to Spring Grove

A father and son duo are putting Texas barbecue on the map in Southeast Minnesota. Patrick Longmire Jr. and his father, Pat Longmire, opened Fat Pat's BBQ — Spring Grove's first food trailer — during the town's recent homecoming celebration.

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SPRING GROVE — A father and son duo are putting Texas barbecue on the map in Southeast Minnesota.

Patrick Longmire Jr. and his father, Pat Longmire, opened Fat Pat's BBQ — Spring Grove's first food trailer — during the town's recent homecoming celebration. The father-son team since has served smoked meats to residents in Spring Grove and surrounding areas. But managing a food trailer hasn't come without challenges.

Longmire Jr. first took interest in barbecue while touring across Texas as a musician for six years. His father, who has smoked meats for roughly a decade, gifted him his first smoker two years ago. He used it to hone his barbecue skills when not performing.

"When I was living down there, I just fell in love with barbecue," Longmire Jr. said.

When Longmire Jr. moved back to Spring Grove in March, he and his father decided to bring Texas barbecue to Minnesota.

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The two officially opened their food trailer on June 24, quickly selling out in their first day.

"We were just thrilled on how well that went, and since then, it's kind of just kept happening," Longmire Jr. said.

The Longmires sell from their trailer about three times per week, often splitting time across the border in La Crosse, Wis. They sell their meats at Red's Hometown Market in Spring Grove, which Pat Longmire owns, during the rest of the week.

Fat Pat's BBQ serves most of its meats — brisket, ribs, burnt ends and pulled pork — by the pound, with some also sold on sandwiches.

After experimenting with different meat rubs, the Longmires opted for a blend true to Texas style: salt, pepper and oak wood.

The cooking process, however, is more time-consuming, Longmire said.

"People don't even come close to understanding how much time it takes," he said.

The brisket is cooked overnight, Longmire said. He wakes up about 2 a.m. to make sure the temperature is right.

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Smoking pulled pork takes about 10 hours, Longmire Jr. said, with ribs and chicken each taking four hours or less.

Despite the lengthy routine, their approach to smoking meats has paid off, Longmire Jr. said.

"The coolest compliments we're getting are from people from Texas who have had this stuff before," he said.

Jesse Tsukano, of La Crosse, has frequented Fat Pat's BBQ since its opening.

Tsukano often eats barbecue when visiting his sister in Texas. When he heard about the Longmires' barbecue business from a friend, he was skeptical.

"All of the (Midwest) barbecue places I've been to I've been kind of disappointed," Tsukano said.

Tsukano's first half-pound order of Fat Pat's brisket was "spot on with central Texas barbecue."

Still, finding consistent-quality brisket has proved challenging for the Longmires.

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Brisket is a less common meat in Minnesota, Longmire Jr. said, and demands a higher price.

The Longmires also have had to test where to place the trailer and how much meat to prepare beforehand.

Some locations are less profitable, Longmire Jr. said, whereas others sell out too quickly.

As the business grows, Longmire said they might have to find a place that provides room to smoke more meat.

Longmire Jr. said they're considering a brick-and-mortar restaurant near La Crosse next year.

"We thought it was going to go great … and we're not surprised that it's already going this well," Longmire Jr. said. "But I guess we're just excited about it all."

Related Topics: FOOD
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