Steven Gregory said his career’s progression into selling grills was natural. As a personal chef he had cooked on other people’s equipment, often providing them with tips and tricks along the way. He loves transforming a simple cut of meat into a phenomenal meal, he said.
Nearly three years ago he moved into helping customers realize their outdoor cooking dreams by joining BBQ Outfitters.
“I bring a lot of information to the customer because I use the equipment,” Gregory said.
Opened in 2006, the showroom offers many brands and styles of grills and smokers. The store also sells a variety of cooking accessories and competition-level spices, such as Meat Church and Hillbilly Mojo, and fire pits as well as cooling misters to the keep the outdoor living space comfortable through triple-digit days of the Central Texas summer.
“We want to make your backyard into a vacation-style getaway,” Gregory said.
While BBQ Outfitters is focused on the grilling equipment, it partners with contractors, landscapers and pool companies to completely transform a backyard into a private oasis.
Steven Romero, the store’s sales manager since 2008, said he has seen the staycation trend really create more demand for outdoor kitchens and patios with beautiful grills, fire pits and other amenities. He also credits TV shows and cooking competitions for inspiring home cooks to take their skills to the next level.
“The grill is a gathering place. It’s a place to have company over and have a beer,” he said. “It’s a social thing.”
When people come in to shop but are not quite sure where to start, he asks what type of cooking they see themselves doing. From there he will design an island to fit their needs, adding sinks, a refrigerator or the popular Big Green Egg, a ceramic charcoal barbecue cooker that is a grill, oven, or smoker, according to its website.
From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. most Saturdays, BBQ Outfitters offers cooking and product demonstrations. Gregory also teaches grilling techniques and personalized classes through his Livefire BBQ Academy located just down the road in Hudson Bend.
“Never trust a grill store that doesn’t cook on its own grills,” Romero said with a laugh.