Barry Fitzgerald's LLC is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business
We are a military family first and foremost. Barry retired in January 2006 after serving 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. His wife retired from the United States Navy in April 2015. Additionally, three of their five children have served. Two sons, both served as United States Marines, the oldest being medically retired due to injuries sustained in Iraq. Their oldest daughter is retired from the United States Army. The youngest daughter is in college and has no intentions of going into the military, while the youngest son is Texas A&M.
Where from here? Barry Graduated from the Culinary Institute of Virginia on 15 May 2015. We opened THAT GOOD BBQ™ on Oct 14th, 2015. We honestly hope that in the near future, families will be saying "Let's go get some of THAT GOOD BBQ in Suffolk" - which naturally will land you at our front door. We are also hoping to eventually begin distribution of our sauce products to a larger audience, while continuing to provide great smoked meat that so many have come to enjoy.
THE REST OF THE STORY -
Technically "our story" begins way back in 1620, when John Day I (8th great grandfather to Barry Fitzgerald's Founder Barry Day) came to Virginia aboard the London Merchant as one of Sir George Yeardleys men. John was not only a carpenter and blacksmith at the Hog Island settlement, but he was also responsible for the care, raising, safety and eventually the "smoking" of the hogs in the settlement. Now, while we are not sure of the exact methods John used to smoke the pigs, we are confident that they would be similar to those used by many pitmasters today (minus all the fancy thermometers). However, we are confident that if he would have had a little of "That Good BBQ Sauce" for basting or dipping that succulent pig in, life in those difficult beginnings of America's history would have been much better.
Almost 400 years later, the Day family is back in Eastern Virginia, only 35 miles from Hog Island, in the growing city of Suffolk. We began formulating our special family recipe while living in North Carolina in 2010. The sauce came about when Barry was working as General Manager of the new Bear Trail Golf Course in Jacksonville, NC. Barry was known for coordinating numerous "member gatherings" and dinners. Often these gatherings would consist of good ole fashion pig pickings. Tired of buying the commercial products available at the time, which all seemed to have similar and boring taste, Barry decided it was time to come up with a better product. After four years of adjusting and fine tuning our formula, (yes that's a lot of BBQ's) we think we have.
VIRGINIA BBQ - A Sunday morning reflection.
The meat for today is rolling along well and I had a few minutes to share something with you.
Now that our restaurant is open, naturally I get all types of advice from well meaning individuals. I had such an occasion recently and felt compelled to share. We had a gentlemen dining with us that had been here before. I was informed by my awesome staff he wasn't pleased. So as I made my customary rounds to check our on guests, I asked the gentleman if everything was OK. He gave me a rather emphatic answer of "No". I asked him what was wrong and the conversation began. He politely asked me where I was from, and I told him - originally from Oklahoma and that my wife was from Texas. I then received the compliment that - that explained why the meat tasted very good. "However" he stated, "you are in Virginia now." I confirmed that he was correct and acknowledged that I was aware of where I was (I'm not really stupid - my parents had me tested). He proceeded to inform me that Virginia Style BBQ is eaten with Texas Pete Hot Sauce - of which a small bottle he pulled from his pocket. I was later informed by my staff that he had asked on a previous visit, as well as this one, if we carried that product. When I tried to point out that we offered five of our own in house made sauces, he abruptly informed me that those sauces were not representative of "Virginia BBQ". As he continued to "educate" me, he let me know that when his "large network" of friends let him know we carried Texas Pete, then he would be back for more of our BBQ. At this point, rather than continue, I thanked the gentleman for eating with us that day - and acknowledged that he would not be returning, with the reply of "That's not going to happen - but I do appreciate you being here and respect your decision".
So, as not to insult anyone, please allow me to clear up a few missed points. Technically, Virginia BBQ is BBQ. If you will read OUR STORY above, you will see that my family was here almost 400 years ago, working for the first Governor of Virginia. While I was born and raised elsewhere, I do have a distant connection to the Commonwealth of which I am a resident. True BBQ, was then and still is a long process, taking several hours cooked at low temperatures. In America, it began in Virginia and all other "styles" of BBQ are modifications from it. Back in 1620, I assure you they did not have the luxury of coming up with "a special sauce" to either slather the meat in - or to put on the side as a condiment. The flavor (if they were even going for that) came from the continuous exposure to the smoke and low heat. One school of thought is that the various styles of BBQ came about around the end of the Civil War as the slaves were freed and many of them took the techniques to other locations and made changes to flavor profiles based on what was available. I will leave that up to you to determine your own opinion. However, let me be clear - while many Virginians may appreciate Texas Pete as their condiment of choice - it is not the factor that determines if your are eating true Virginia BBQ. My wife and I both love Texas Pete - and use it in some of our own dishes at home (She's from Texas "for Petes sake"). However, it is somewhat difficult to grasp, why someone so proud to put an emphasis on being from Virginia, would classify a product made in North Carolina - and named after someone from Texas, as the determining factor in whether or not you are eating BBQ the way Virginians do. We offer our five sauces as a condiment to be enjoyed if you so desire. They are made by me personally, and on occasion with assistance from my team. Furthermore, they are made in VIRGINIA. But to be totally fair, there is a "splash" of Texas Pete in every batch of our Original sauce. We are a small business, established in Suffolk, Virginia. We are both very proud of our heritage and where we grew up - and are equally proud to be providing true and fresh smoked BBQ for our friends and those we have yet to become friends with. So in closing, if you want real Virginia BBQ, cooked low and slow - where the meat is the featured item that should stand on it's own and the "sauce" is an added pleasure, but very good in its own right, come see us and support your Commonwealth and local businesses. Thanks for your time - now I must get back to the smokers and ensure we are ready to open this morning,