Daniel “Danny” Wright Caldwell is no stranger to the Austin-area barbecue scene. After 40 years and several locations across the city, Danny’s BBQ’s brick-and-mortar shop is currently located behind Hanovers Draught Haus in Pflugerville.
Danny’s BBQ sells beef and sausage sandwiches along with combination plates that include brisket, pork ribs, sausage and catfish on Fridays. The barbecue spot also hosts Soul Food Sunday with beef tips and rice, Salisbury steak, baked chicken and more.
Caldwell said he slow-cooks his meats for 24 hours and will not serve it unless it is fresh.
“If it’s not ready, I won’t serve it,” Caldwell said. “I’d rather you come back satisfied than dissatisfied.”
Caldwell said his passion for food began with his first job washing dishes and waiting tables in the ‘60s. Years later, he worked in hotel business and catering—which piqued his interest in the food industry.
He attended the Austin Culinary Academy in 1984. Around that time, Caldwell drove buses while also catering and cooking part-time. This led Caldwell to open the first Danny’s BBQ brick-and-mortar location in 1987.
Danny’s BBQ made its mark in Austin in the ‘90s. In 1992, Caldwell said he was one of the first three food trailers in the city of Austin. In 1995, Caldwell opened his second brick-and-mortar location on Manor Road.
When Caldwell sold his East Austin location in 2012, he took a break from the restaurant business until 2015; however, it was during this period that Caldwell invented Danny’s BBQ Sauce.
In 2014, Caldwell made small batches of sauce to go with his meat. Friends and family urged Caldwell to get the sauce in stores. With a $7,500 grant that year, Caldwell produced his first large batch.
While the past 40 years included challenges and change, Caldwell said customers tell him the quality of his meats and sauce remained consistently high.
“I’m hands-on, and I do my own cooking,” Caldwell said. “No one can do it the way you do it.”
108 E. Main St., Pflugerville (on the back patio of Hanovers Draught Haus)
Hours: closed Mon.-Tues.; Wed.-Sat. 4-10 p.m.; Sun. noon-6 p.m.