Making barbecue a full time career. Several groups at this year's Barbecue On The River have taken the plunge. Now, Regulators Barbecue is about to do the same.
A lot has changed for Regulators Barbecue since they first started out 15 years ago.
"Our first year, we really messed up down here," Will Gilbert told me with a laugh.
There was a steep learning curve. Now, with the help of their colleagues and time, they've got it down to a science.
This year, their proceeds benefit the group Cassidy's Cause.
"Therapy on horses for individuals that have disabilities," Angie Falconite, who runs the group, explained.
"They bond with the animals and build confidence," said Brian Kopischke, the other man behind Regulators Barbecue. "It's a wonderful, wonderful program."
What will the future hold for Gilbert and Kopischke? The two plan to retire from their "real" jobs soon. They're ready to take this hobby to the next level: full time.
"We're doing some catering events, we're doing vending events, we've got our barbecue sauce professionally bottled now," Kopischke said.
You have to have the tools to do it, which is why they bought a trailer and made some improvements.
"We got this thing about a year ago, and then Brian and I got it set up. And it's now a licensed mobile kitchen," said Gilbert.
Then, there's the monster pit at the back of their booth.
"We got an old hickory pit that we just got this year," Gilbert said. "We ran 800 pounds of barbecue on it yesterday."
A lot of career fields may be worried about the future, but Kopischke says barbecue is here to stay.
"That is job security. As long as we know how to cook it and people want to eat it, we're good to go," Kopischke laughed.
Because when you love what you cook, it doesn't feel like work at all.
To learn more about Barbecue On The River 2015, click here.
To learn more about Regulators Barbecue, click here.
To learn more about Cassidy's Cause, click here.
100 Television Lane
Paducah, KY 42003