Riders BBQ & Hot Sausage

Pitmasters' reputation goes beyond Texas

An aroma of smoking meats greets visitors to Riders BBQ & Hot Sausage in Jarrell before they even open the restaurant's front doors.

Two smokers are set up outside the building, and at least one is likely to be filled with slowly cooking brisket, turkey or ribs at any one time.

"Brisket's always No. 1," Riders Co-owner Steve McCoy said.

The restaurant serves about 900 pounds of brisket a week, he said.

McCoy and his friend, Darrell Voigt, worked together in construction 20 years ago and spent time on the job discussing opening a barbecue restaurant.

In June 2012, after a year of developing menu items and recipes, they opened Riders BBQ & Hot Sausage with McCoy in charge of meat and Voigt in charge of the side dishes.

Brisket and sausage are the most popular meat items on the menu, according to the owners, and each demand a lot of attention from McCoy and Voigt.

Brisket is cooked between 24 and 30 hours over a post oak wood fire.

Riders' signature sausage recipe took a year of tinkering before McCoy and Voigt were satisfied with its flavor.

"The sausage is 85 percent beef, 15 percent pork, with cayenne added for spice," McCoy said.

Baked potatoes and creamed corn are the most popular sides, McCoy said. At the request of patrons, Voigt said green beans and okra may soon be added to the menu.

"We always listen to what people want," Voigt said. "That's where the broccoli salad and creamed corn came from."

McCoy said he's heard many diners ask about adding pulled pork or beef ribs to the menu, and he is looking into doing so.

Riders BBQ customers are not shy about recommending the restaurant, according to McCoy, who said customers come from Georgetown and Cedar Park as well as cities as far as Harker Heights and Troy.

"I had an older guy come in and say he heard we had the best barbecue in Central Texas," McCoy said. "I said I wasn't sure about that, but I asked where he'd heard it. He said a guy in Louisiana, at the Horseshoe [casino], told him."

Besides people traveling through Jarrell, Riders also receives a fair amount of business from truck drivers because of a nearby truck stop.

"We had two guys in here from Arkansas the other day," McCoy said. "Once they're in, they're regulars.'

McCoy and Voigt are currently looking at adding a second kitchen to the Jarrell location to provide items such as hamburgers and chicken wings. They also plan to add an ice cream freezer in the near future.

With the success Riders has seen in a year of business, the restaurant owners have already expanded their dining room, opened a weekend-only location in Holland, Texas, and are in the process of packaging their brand of barbecue sauce to sell in the restaurant.

"Our goal is to open five locations in five years," Voigt said. "We are looking at the best towns that offer a chance for growth."

Riders BBQ & Hot Sausage, 305 Limestone Terrace, Ste. 1A, Jarrell, 512-746-2900. www.ridersbbq.com, Mon.–Thu. 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–7 p.m.