BY CYNTHIA MCCOMAS, ENERGIZING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES VISTA, THE HUB
We recently shared with you April Browning’s story – April is a Lincoln County entrepreneur who started Carnivore BBQ as a pop-up business in 2017 with just two tents. Since then, her traveling eatery has grown into a local food truck favorite for festivals and catering.
April is on a mission to win the hearts of barbecue lovers, and proved to be one of the best barbecuers in the region for the second year in a row at the 4th Annual Charley West BBQ Fest.
In May 2018, April attended the Fest for the first time, where she won awards in the categories of pulled pork and wildcard. Last year, she worked out of her tents and leveled up to a food truck soon after.
“Winning two of the four categories last year really surprised me,” said April. “We were the newbies. It has really helped inspire me to pursue other avenues in the culinary business.”
This year, April kept up that momentum, winning the People’s Choice Award for best barbecue and second place in the competitive division in the ribs, pulled pork, and sauce categories. Not only does participating in the Fest help April gain exposure for her small business, but she also gets to learn from others in her industry.
“You meet so many people,” said April. “Depending on the competition, you may have only a couple hours of sleep, but the experience is what makes it worth it. I always learn something new.”
The BBQ Fest wins aren’t the only way Carnivore BBQ continues to grow. With some help with from the Robert C. Byrd Institute, Browning recently started selling packaged sauces and rubs. RCBI assists April in packaging her products on a commercial scale. Carnivore BBQ products are now sold at food truck events, and will soon be available in local shops, like the Lincoln County Friends of the Arts Gallery.