A local mom-and-pop favorite that’s increasingly gaining out-of-town patrons, Corkscrew BBQ in Spring, Texas is owned and run by high school sweethearts Will and Nichole Buckman. It started out as a weekend hobby-turned-catering business out of their backyard in 2010, graduated to a food trailer in 2011, and eventually found a permanent home at their Spring restaurant in 2015. We got to spend some time with Will behind the scenes at Corkscrew to learn more about the couple’s growing success.
"Beef is the hardest meat to get right, and Texas is the king of beef."
S&D: So how’s it been transitioning from a home operation to a full-fledged restaurant?
WILL: It was harder before, when Nichole was a stay at home mom, and I had a regular job. At the end of the day, I just wanted to go home and relax, but she had been cooped up all day, and would be anxious to do something. But now that we work together full time at the restaurant, it’s much easier.
S&D: How do you and Nichole work together as a team?
WILL: I act as the pitmaster, and she runs the kitchen and restaurant. She takes care of prep in the morning, and in the afternoon, I put the meat in the smokers for the next day.
S&D: Your smokers are untraditional in that they use a rotisserie system to turn the meat for an even cook—is there a specific wood you prefer to smoke with?
WILL: We use red oak. It’s a good local wood, it’s readily available, and I like the flavor; it’s suitable for the majority of palettes.
S&D: What’s your favorite thing to smoke?
WILL: Right now it’s beef ribs. We only do it on Saturdays because it’s a rare commodity, and it takes up so much square footage in the pit. We’ve experimented with unique things like beef tongue, but we can’t get people to buy it.
S&D: What sets Texas BBQ apart from other styles?
WILL: We are very beef-centric. Beef is the hardest meat to get right, and Texas is the king of beef.
S&D: Do your kids get involved at all with the restaurant?
WILL: Oh yea. Our son (10), is very money-driven, and works the tables and customers like crazy. Our girl (11), likes to hang out in the office.
S&D: What do you love most about calling Texas home?
WILL: Texas is a great place. We have damn near everything you want to do — in two hours you can be doing something completely different from what you’re doing now.