CorkScrew BBQ co-owner Will Buckman said he begins every work day at 4 a.m. when he fires up the pit that will grill more than 1,000 pounds of meat that day.
Cooking for CorkScrew BBQ, which features original seasonings and homemade sides and never reheats its meat, is a nonstop job, he said. Some items on the menu spend more than 12 hours on the grill, said Will’s wife and CorkScrew co-owner, Nichole.
“Cooking like he does is a 24/7 thing,” Nichole said. “It’s always going. Not to take anything from a burger restaurant, but he can’t just go and grab another patty if we run out [of food].”
The Spring High School graduates moved the barbecue eatery to its Old Town Spring location in October after outgrowing their food truck, which was parked on Budde Road in The Woodlands for nearly three years. It has been a steady climb for the Buckmans, who have gone from operating out of their home to purchasing their own restaurant storefront in six years.
CorkScrew BBQ was conceived as an addendum to their income when Will and Nichole began catering company parties and family gatherings in 2009. In just a year, the catering company gained prominent clients such as Talisman Energy, CB&I and a municipality utility district in The Woodlands.
Will eventually quit his job at AT&T and devoted himself to the business full-time. He said he watched it grow from a small trailer in The Woodlands to a larger one to eventually taking over the former Hyde’s Cafe location in Old Town Spring in the fall.
“We started in our driveway,” Will said. “I was employed full-time. She was a stay-at-home mom. We were doing catering on the side to supplement our income. The business just kind of took over.”
Although CorkScrew serves traditional barbecue dishes, such as ribs, brisket, chicken and sausage, it also offers several specialty sandwiches. The Whole Hog and Poncho & Lefty sandwiches are customer favorites, Nichole said. CorkScrew also offers meat by the pound, family packs, baked potatoes and a variety of sides.
The Buckmans are dedicated to providing a quality, tasty product using only high-quality meats, sauces and sides that are devoid of pollutants and preservatives, Nichole said.
“That’s why we still work at the restaurant,” she said. “We cut the meat. We work in the kitchen. We are hands-on with our employees. It’s like a newborn. We don’t just hand our baby to anyone.”
Even after moving to Old Town Spring, demand has still been high for CorkScrew BBQ. Many of its customers have followed the barbecue joint from The Woodlands, allowing CorkScrew to build on its success, Nichole said. Customers are still willing to wait up to 45 minutes in line because the owners kept the same approach to cooking their meat, she said.
Despite moving to the bigger location, CorkScrew still runs out of meat most afternoons before closing time.
“We make as much as we know we’ll sell, which is over 1,000 pounds a day,” Nichole said. “We don’t want to cook an overabundance to stay open from 11 [a.m.]-9 [ p.m.] because you end up like everybody else—reheating and reusing.”