Pork Ribs and Barbecue Sushi Are Specialties at Rusty Buckle BBQ Company

jason

Nec timeo, nec sperno
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The building that houses Rusty Buckle BBQ Company in New Caney, northeast of Houston, was previously a real estate office, a hair salon, and a taxidermy shop. Owner and pitmaster Allen Rhoden ran all but one of those businesses. His father owns the building and the land, so it was the obvious spot for the barbecue joint too when Rhoden opened it last October. He’s hoping this new career path will stick.

In 1994, Rhoden graduated college in Huntsville with a history degree, but he had a hard time finding the right job. He opted for taxidermy school and opened his own shop. Rhoden said he did quality work, but it was hard to compete with the low prices offered by amateurs. Hunters could pay someone working out of a garage as little as $100 for a mounted deer head. “It’ll look like it got whacked in the ass with a boat paddle, but you couldn’t compete with that,” Rhoden said. Eventually he gave up taxidermy and started selling real estate. He also bought a smoker.

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