San Marcos pitmaster builds BBQ business on family traditions, adds 2nd location

Justin Pearson opened San Marcos BBQ in 2014 and incorporated family recipes. (Courtesy San Marcos BBQ)
Justin Pearson opened San Marcos BBQ in 2014 and incorporated family recipes. (Courtesy San Marcos BBQ)

Justin Pearson opened San Marcos BBQ in 2014 and incorporated family recipes. (Courtesy San Marcos BBQ)

Image description
The restaurant has become known for its sandwiches, including The Buddy, which features brisket, sausage, pickles and onions. (Courtesy San Marcos BBQ)
Image description
Made in-house by Brina's Baking Co., desserts such as the buttermilk pie are offered individually or in bulk. (Courtesy San Marcos BBQ)
Image description
San Marcos BBQ serves homemade hatch gouda sausage that is freshly barbecued each day. (Courtesy San Marcos BBQ)
Justin Pearson developed a passion for the art of cooking barbecue while growing up and working in his grandfather’s restaurant, Chisholm Trail Barbecue, in Lockhart.

Pearson’s grandfather, Floyd Wilhelm, owned and operated the restaurant for more than 35 years, and Pearson spent his summers working and learning alongside him.

“It was always a passion,” Pearson said. “My grandfather was a huge mentor of mine. I studied everything he did and asked questions a thousand times.”

While attending Texas State University, Pearson decided to pursue a career path outside the restaurant industry, but his love for cooking was always at the back of his mind.

“I found myself catering for friends and cooking every weekend in college,” Pearson said. “I probably have a dozen spiral [notebooks] throughout high school and college where I had mapped out my barbecue business ideas.”


Before graduating in 2014, Pearson had a chance to start his own restaurant when Hayes County BBQ & Catering moved out of its Hunter Road location.

He worked with the previous owner, investors, and family and friends to bring his family’s style of salt-and-pepper-rubbed smoked meat to San Marcos. The business now offers catering and baked goods, he said. Customer favorites are its sausages, classic smoked brisket, braised cabbage and fresh pies made by Pearson’s sister, Sabrina.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, San Marcos BBQ incorporated online ordering, delivery and to-go options, and Pearson said he got ahead of the May meat shortage by buying brisket in bulk and freezing the meat until it could be used.

“I basically used all the money we had in our account and bought four weeks of briskets,” Pearson said. “That was probably the only reason we were able to create growth.”

In mid-August, Pearson plans to open a second location at 1701 S. I-35, San Marcos, where he will offer the same menu and incorporate the lessons he has learned in the last six years of business, he said.

“I want to continue to offer a great product that does not change and for more people to get to try it,” Pearson said. “When it all comes down to it, that’s what I’m after.”

San Marcos BBQ (original location)

2601 Hunter Road, San Marcos

512-938-1019 | www.sanmarcosbbq.com

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
By Lauren Canterberry
Lauren Canterberry began covering New Braunfels for Community Impact Newspaper in 2019. Her reporting focuses on education, development and breaking news. Lauren is originally from South Carolina and graduated from the University of Georgia in 2017.


MOST RECENT

Learn where to vote, who is on the ballot and how to vote in Hays County. (Community Impact staff)
General Election Guide: How to vote, who is on the ballot and what to know about the Nov. 3 election in Hays County

Early voting begins Oct. 13 for the Nov. 3 general election in Texas. Check out our guide to learn how to vote and who is on the ballot in Hays County.

Gov. Greg Abbott at a press conference
Gov. Greg Abbott to allocate $171M from CARES Act to help renters at risk of eviction

Gov. Greg Abbott will allocate more than $171 million in renters assistance from the federal coronavirus relief package to eligible Texans.

(Courtesy New Braunfels Ghost Tours)
Scary good: New Braunfels Ghost Tours makes top 10 list and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

While current hospitalization information is believed to be accurate, more than a hundred hospitalizations went unreported due to a misunderstanding between the county and a local health care system, nearly doubling the county's total. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
160 Hays County COVID-19 hospitalizations went unreported for months

While current hospitalization information is believed to be accurate, more than a hundred hospitalizations went unreported due to a misunderstanding between the county and a local health care system, nearly doubling the county's total.

The Hays County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to approve a budget and tax rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hays County Commissioners Court approves FY 2020-21 budget and tax rate

The Hays County Commissioners Court unanimously approved a budget and tax rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year during a Sept. 22. meeting.

Gov. Greg Abbott on July 27 issued an executive order extending the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Lawsuit takes aim at start date for early voting as some Texas Republicans challenge Gov. Greg Abbott's order

A group of prominent Texas Republicans has embarked on a legal effort to undo the governor's executive order that extended the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election.

The deadline to register to vote in Hays County is approaching. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here’s how to register to vote in Hays County

Citizens must be registered in Hays County to vote in Hays County.

Straying from traditionals like cheese and pepperoni, Tony C's serves specialty pies such as eggplant, prosciutto and goat cheese, and the Truffle Shuffle. (Courtesy Tony C's Pizza & Beer Garden)
Restaurant Tony C's to open Sept. 24 in Round Rock and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

(Graphic illustration by Rachal Russel/Community Impact Newspaper)
From New Braunfels to Cedar Park, Central Texas outdoor recreation shops scrambling to keep inventory

When combined with temporary state restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many local shop owners are speculating a perfect storm of low supply and high demand is the main reason for changes in an industry that has of late been turned on its head.

River Rose Boutique has closed its San Marcos location after four years in business. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
River Rose Boutique closes San Marcos store

New Braunfels and Lubbock locations remain open and sell women's clothing, jewelry and home goods.

Texas State Optical opened a new location in Buda in early June. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Texas State Optical opens Buda location

Experienced optometrists provide a variety of services and offer prescription glasses and contact lenses.