The sun rises over Auburn on a brisk end-of-summer morning. It’s around 7:00 AM and the townspeople are just beginning their day. Some work on campus, some are students of Auburn University and some are merely people who live and work in Auburn.
As they commute to work or school, if they happen to be on the corner of College St. and Samford, they can smell a familiar smell. The smell of burning hickory that originates from Price’s Barbecue House.
Price’s Barbecue House has been in Auburn for thirty-four years and has been owned by the same man throughout that time. “The Q House,” as some people call it, is known for its unmatched service and amazing old fashioned BBQ. So amazing actually, The Q House was chosen to compete in a barbecue cook-off at the Georgia Dome during the Auburn vs. Clemson game.
In my interview with the owner of Price’s Barbecue House, Jeff Price, I asked him why he thought he was chosen to represent Auburn in the cook-off. He replied with, “This restaurant has had over thirty-five years of authentic BBQ that cannot be matched anywhere else in Auburn.”
The cook-off focused on smoking beef brisket and pork ribs. Mr. Price is very experienced in cooking ribs, but he has never worked with brisket before. So, this was definitely a challenge from the start. He also had to come up with a unique marinade to sway the judges opinions. That marinade was none other than the tasty soft-drink we all know and love...Doctor Pepper. Yes, that’s right, Doctor Pepper. I asked Mr. Price about this unusual choice and he replied, “When you soak the brisket in Doctor Pepper for four days, something happens with the meat. Something with the enzymes in the Doctor Pepper reacts with the enzymes in the meat, making it very tender and delicious.”
To prepare, Mr. Price had to do many things. First, the competition called for a portable cooker/smoker. His friend Chuck brown, who is also a BBQ fanatic, let Mr. Price use his smoker. Chuck’s smoker was an old propane tank, about the size of a car. It had two smoke stacks extending from the top and another smaller propane tank attached to the end. The smaller propane tank was used for the “smoking fire”. The smoke from the fire was pulled through the larger tank, which made the smoker stay at a constant 250 degrees. “The perfect temperature to smoke meat” says Price.
When the time for the cook-off approached, the anticipation was mounting. “The pressure was on” says Price. To the good people at The Q House, this competition was huge. Mr. Price felt as though “The BBQ house name was on the line.” But even with all the pressure, Mr. Price had a plan. Throughout the entire summer, from June until August, he practiced smoking, rehearsed the entire competition and perfected his techniques.
When it came time to cook, he and a few other respected men-of-barbecue travelled to the Georgia Dome to complete what they had started.
They arrived on that Friday and began to smoke their Doctor Pepper brisket. They cooked through the night and into game day to get a leg up on the competitors from Clemson.
Finally, after all the hard work and determination throughout the hot summer, Price’s Barbecue House was named the winner. I asked Mr. Price how he felt when they gave him the trophy, which appropriately has a golden pig on top, he said only one word, “Relieved.” He was relieved to finally be done with one of his toughest challenges at “The Q House.”
So, if you’re ever craving some good old fashioned BBQ, stop by Price’s Barbecue House on South College. I do not doubt that you will get the best service in town and the best BBQ you have ever had. You might even strike up a conversation with the victorious owner himself. If you do get a chance to talk to Jeff Price, do not hesitate to congratulate him on his victory and his amazing BBQ.
For more information on Price’s Barbecue House, you can visit their website at www.barbecuehouse.com