SIBLEY—Greg Funk is ready to take his award-winning barbecue on the road.
Funk, the founder of Burn Unit BBQ, is installing the final pieces of equipment in his new food trailer so he can turn the heat up on his fledgling business.
The 38-year-old from Sibley plans to launch the food trailer in about a month.
Funk and his fiancée, Tori Bruegger, have been earning their spot on podiums at events around N’West Iowa for about four years. Bruegger controls the fire while Funk tends to the cooking.
With the new mobile kitchen nearly complete, Funk hopes to dish out his sweet brand of barbecue flavor full time.
“It’s going to take off. I’ve had friends and family tell me, ‘You should do this for a living,’” Funk said. “When I do something, I give 110 percent. This food truck trend is going to be booming. I’ll put our meat up against anybody’s meat.”
The food trailer is based on Funk’s custom design and was built by Custom Pits & Fabrication in Watkinsville, GA.
The 12-foot long trailer has a porch on its tail end where Funk will install his smoker. Inside, he had a large washing station installed, a warming area, fryer, hot dog roller, refrigerator and beverage cooler.
Barbecue fever first caught hold of Funk about four years ago. He was working at Co-op Gas & Oil Co. in Sheldon when he and his co-workers decided to have a friendly competition at Hills Park. Funk placed third, but his hunger for success grew.
A short time later he was invited to compete in Ellsworth, MN. Out of more than a dozen competitors, he placed first for his pork loin and third in ribs.
Funk has competed in about 20 contests since and he hopes to compete in professional competitions.
“I do it just for the satisfaction you get in people’s faces when they bite into something you’ve created,” he said.
The Sibley couple started doing catering about a year ago. Once the food trailer starts rolling, they plan to serve at town celebrations, construction sites and anywhere else people gather. Funk said a schedule for Burn Unit BBQ’s stops will be posted on the website Bruegger is designing, and its Facebook page.
Funk said not to be fooled by the name; Burn Unit BBQ specializes in a sweet barbecue flavor and fall-off-the-bone meat. Its focus areas are ribs, brisket and pork loin. Some of the most popular side dishes include smoked mac and cheese, cheesy hash browns, coleslaw, pulled pork nachos and Burn Unit Beans — a family recipe for calico beans.
“We’re going to cook meals just like we do in competitions,” Funk said.
If the smell of the smoker is not enough, the price point is another way Funk plans to draw in customers. For reference, he said an 8-ounce pulled pork sandwich with two sides will cost $9. Most of the dishes will come with two sides.
When the food truck business slows down during the winter months, Funk will focus his efforts on building and selling custom smokers. He has built seven so far.
“I use anything laying around if it looks like a tank,” he said. “I’ve used propane tanks, old fuel tanks. I like to recycle.”
His latest creation was built with his father, Jim Funk.
“I like to do themes. The last one I did is probably going to end up on the food truck,” he continued. “The smoke stacks on it, I cut points all the way around them. It almost looks like a castle. I put old steel rivets all around the whole thing. That’s just a decorative feature. I just dreamed it up.”