HARRISBURG -- If you're near the Parker Plaza area in Harrisburg, you don't have to look at a calendar to know it's Wednesday: the mouthwatering aroma of barbecue fills the air near the Smokey Hollow BBQ & More truck and customers are lined up at the window.
Owners Mickey and Peggy Woolard say they've been pleased with the response they've gotten after launching their barbecue business.
"We've always wanted to do barbecue," Peggy Woolard said. "Now, we finally had the opportunity."
The Woolards owned a pastry shop in Harrisburg in years past, and Mickey has been a student of the culinary arts for years.
"I went to the Cooking School of the Rockies in Boulder, Colo., and then I went to France to a cooking school there for a year," Mickey Woolard said.
Besides earning his culinary cuisine degree, Mickey said he's worked other jobs in between while perfecting his barbecue craft both at home and under the tutelage of various pitmasters.
"I've gone to a lot of barbecue schools with professionals from Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, Illinois, New York, all over," Mickey said.
The hours spent honing his barbecue technique paid off last year, he said, at Barbecue on the River, a huge barbecue competition in Paducah, Ky. featuring hundreds of professional and amateur pitmasters.
"I got second place in the Backyard Competition: Pork Shoulder," Mickey said.
Now, most Wednesdays, the Smokey Hollow truck can be seen parked toward the north end of Parker Plaza, and business is pretty brisk, both Peggy and Mickey said.
But, there's a lot of preparation behind the scenes gearing up for each week's Wednesday appearance.
"We start on Sunday, and we have two days of prep work and one day of cooking," Mickey said. "And, I'm talking about 10- to 13-hour days."
While the menu may change week to week, ribs and pulled pork always are on the menu, he said.
"We want to keep it simple. When you start adding to something like this, it can make things a whole lot more complicated," Mickey said.
"I like brisket and beef ribs when I cook," he said. "I had them on the menu last week, and we sold out pretty quickly."
He said he thinks the secret to a successful food truck venture is having consistent crowd-pleasers.
"You've got to have good-selling products that sell every time," he said.
For more information, contact Mickey or Peggy at Smokey Hollow BBQ & More, (618) 294-2880.