His art—barbecue—has fed people in Round Rock, Austin and Georgetown through the window of the FullHouse BBQ food trailer.
“Barbecuing is an art form,” Garrett said. “I’ve been doing this for three years, and I love every day of it.”
Garrett said he takes advantage of the different properties oak and pecan woods offer while burned when preparing meats such as the pork and beef ribs he serves on Fridays and Saturdays.
The technique and resulting flavors help set his barbecue offerings apart, he said.
“If you go into a barbecue place and they don’t have a wood pile, run away from it because it’s not real barbecue,” he said. “They’re running heat off of gas or electric, but they’re putting pellets in to cause the smoke. They’re not actually using wood to cook the food with.”
Garrett said he got into the food industry in 2012 after a parent at his daughter’s school took interest in his barbecue.
“A guy asked me where I got the barbecue, and I told him I got it from my backyard and cooked it myself,” Garrett said. “He was really disappointed because he wanted to stop on his way home to get some more for that night.”
The man later invested in Garrett’s product, which allowed the pitmaster to buy his first food trailer.
FullHouse started operating in Round Rock in October 2012. On Jan. 1, 2013, however, Garrett received the news of something smoking other than his brisket—his truck.
“My trailer burned down,” he said. “I got the trailer I’m serving out of now, and we stayed open until the [Round Rock] food [trailer] park closed about May 2013.”
After trying different spots throughout Austin, Garrett said he received a call in July about the San Gabriel Food Court.
“They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I came here and have been open since August,” he said.
As a trailer owner Garrett said that part of the industry is the battle to change the perceptions that surround food trailers.
“One of the most frustrating things for us is that a lot of people still have the attitude that food trucks and trailers are the 1980s roach coaches,” he said. “I’m a small business in the community, and I’m trying to make a living and provide for my family. I take a lot of pride in not only how the food is served but also the customer service.”
Garrett said that like restaurant kitchens, food trailers are regulated, and in order to operate the owners are required to have a food handler permit.
“Basically by health code we have all of the equipment that any other restaurant is required to have,” he said. “We don’t take food safety and health lightly—we take them very seriously.”
When Garrett started, he said he wanted to accomplish two things through his trailer. First, he wanted to see if the job was right for him, and second, he wanted to make sure enough people liked the food.
“I’ve been able to accomplish both of those, so my next step is to open a brick-and-mortar [location],” he said. “That is going to happen when the time is right [for it] to happen. I’ve had numerous opportunities to do it already, but it just hasn’t been the right fit for me to do it.”
He said that once he opens a restaurant he will use his trailer for events, including the Red Poppy Festival, which FullHouse BBQ will attend for the first time this April.
Until then customers can find Garrett at the San Gabriel Food Park.