Fire On The Mountain
DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Justin Christman didn’t exactly grow up with the bar-b-q traditions of our state. In fact, he’s a Denver native, was a collegiate swimmer at Cincinnati, and along the way he met an Alabama girl who wanted to move back home to her native DeKalb County. So, they did. But Justin had always loved to cook, and he got the idea he could do a little Q. Thus, was born Roadside Q.
“I really learned my cooking style and how the flavor profiles work, and how different ingredients mesh together from my mom and my dad being out on the grill Saturdays and Sundays. I’m originally from Denver, Colorado. I met my wife out there. She’s originally from this area. She got an itch to move back to Alabama to be closer to her parents. When I came to visit and meet her parents for the first time, they took us up to DeSoto State Park and DeSoto Falls and I was like, ‘Oh I like this area.’”
After working in restaurants in Denver and having learned his lessons from his mom and dad, Justin decided to fulfill a dream. He started in a food truck beside the highway in nearby Rainsville. So, he called it Roadside Q.
“The next step for us, Heather and I, was always to get into a building and this location became available about three-and-a-half years ago.”
So Roadside Q moved indoors in Downtown Fort Payne, but the smoker is still the one by the side of the road. “It’s a workhorse. In six years, the fire has been going non-stop. The brisket’s done when it’s done. We don’t try to speed up the process by wrapping it in foil. We have pulled pork, bar-b-q chicken, and ribs. We make all our sauces from scratch. All our sides we make from scratch. It’s different bar-b-q. It takes time. You have to put in the work to deliver good bar-b-q, and a lot of it’s done in the middle of the night by yourself, but I enjoy that.”
Justin enjoys the process, and the people. “Bar-b-q speaks to everybody. You get all demographics in here and it’s a place where people come and socialize. My uncle does a really good job at the front asking people where they’re from and how did they find us. We are seeing a lot more influx of people from the outside that are discovering this little slice of heaven over here.”
“I miss Colorado, but I’ve found my home.”
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