— Story —
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Bringing You the Best of Carolina and Alabama BBQ Since 2010
On June 2010, Brandon and I established Caro-Bama LLC as a very small, catering side-business. That business soon grew to include Caro-Bama BBQ Food Truck as well as our newest expansion, Caro-Bama BBQ North Quarter. But before I tell you that story, I have to tell you this one…
I grew up in Pickens, South Carolina working along side my daddy as he smoked pork shoulders for church fundraisers, fire department fundraisers, family gatherings and for anyone else that needed it. Several times each year, he would roll out his hand-made black barrel smokers and load them up. You could smell the smoke from miles around. When we were lucky enough to have his famous smoked chicken, my mom would mix up his secret Vinegar Sauce and quickly hide the recipe back in its special place. I can still remember my dad and our house smelling like hickory for days after. Some of my best memories come from special events centered around my daddy’s BBQ. Little did I know, but my life would be blessed with two great BBQ men…
Brandon’s early years were spent in Goosecreek, SC. His family then relocated to Opp, Alabama for high school. His first memorable BBQ experience took place at Dreamland BBQ in Tuscaloosa on a high school trip with one of his best friends. As he tells it, he ate until he was sick that night, but had no regrets. He could hardly wait until he could go back again. As Brandon began his career, a mentor named Dan introduced him to his family white sauce recipe over a 4th of July BBQ in Montgomery Alabama. BBQ quickly became one of Brandon’s hobbies and favorite pastimes. From that point on, Brandon became the designated pit master at gatherings of family and friends. Little did he know, he was about to meet a family who specialized in feeding BBQ to large crowds, and their daughter just happened to be his future other half.
Brandon and I met at Reformed Theological Seminary in Oviedo, Florida in 2004. Brandon helped me pick up inner city kids on Wednesday nights for a weekly VBS. That friendship turned into love, and we were married in 2006. After a few years of marriage and cooking often for family and friends, we decided to give catering a shot. We tried to talk my daddy into selling us one of his smokers…not a chance. A man doesn’t let go of something like that. My Daddy did, however, call us up on the 4th of July saying he had found us our own barrel smoker for sale on the side of the road. We cleared out our tiny savings account, and bought that $500 smoker… And the rest is history. As we dreamed up our company name, we wanted to make sure that it told our story. Caro-Bama BBQ did the trick.
Between Brandon’s BBQ skills, Lora’s experience growing up in a small business family, and a collection of precious recipes, Caro-Bama BBQ was born. Speaking of births, mixed in our BBQ journey, we were blessed with two little Caro-Bamas of our own. Walter was born in 2011 and that same year, we bought our food truck. Henry came along in 2013, and some of our first customers got to contribute to his baby fund/tip jar. If you think working a food truck is tight, try doing it nine months pregnant! You’ll often find our boys unloading wood and greeting customers when they have the chance. Finally, our dream of a family business had come true.
Our catering business started in the downtown Orlando area, and we quickly expanded to all of Central Florida including Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Apopka, Celebration, Mt. Dora and beyond. We have catered events of all types and sizes throughout Orlando and surrounding cities. We have now expanded our family business! In addition to the food truck, we are now serving our food in a permanent location in the North Quarter Market in downtown Orlando. We have teamed up with Credo Coffee to create a unique coffee and BBQ concept. Our meats and our sauces are a blend of the BBQ traditions of the Carolinas and Alabama. The combination is irresistible! You’ll want to try our famous Bama White Sauce, not to mention everything else on our menu! Be sure and give my Daddy’s Carolina Vinegar sauce a try, and you’ll see why we use the tagline, “Tastes of Tradition”.