Devil’s BBQ in Brookville Puts a Unique Twist on Homemade Meals

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – Devil’s BBQ restaurant is bringing a new approach and a unique menu to the Brookville dining scene.

(Pictured above: owner Rob Hetrick with his wife MeriBeth and sons Cody and Caleb.)

A few years ago, Rob Hetrick would have never imagined himself owning and operating a restaurant. He had been in the sawmill industry for twenty years when everything suddenly changed.

“I lost my job in November of ’16, and had an offer, but they wanted a quick answer, and I wasn’t willing to give a quick answer. So, I said to the wife, ‘Well, I’m going to open a barbeque,’ and didn’t turn back,” Hetrick said.

“I’ve just always had an interest in smoking meats and smoking a lot of other things even as far as mayonnaise, butter, ice cream,” he said.

He decided to turn that interest into a new career.

Hetrick found his building, a former garage located at 60 Progress Street in Brookville, in mid-2017 and began turning it into a small restaurant. His opening day was Halloween of 2017.

“I just did it. We found the building and found what we wanted to do, and we’re just doing it. No restaurant background,” Hetrick said.

“I did quite a bit of messing around beforehand. I knew brisket and pulled pork, the basics. The turkey was kind of a last minute decision because I thought I was going to do chicken of some sort, but the turkey came up, and everyone has just really taken to it. We’ve done really well with it.”

Hetrick decided right from the start that he wanted to do something out-of-the-ordinary.

“We’ve done a lot of different things, and are going to continue to do a lot different. Most of our stuff is a little bit different, there’s something unique about it. We put smoked cheese in our mac salad, and our coleslaw is a vinegar based coleslaw, which is a little different than everybody is used to in the north. Everybody has absolutely loved it so far.”

“We really just like to take a different approach to things, a unique approach I guess, and offer something different. Everything we do is homemade from scratch. There are only two things on the menu that we don’t personally make here, and that’s the peanut butter chocolate crunch dessert and our cheesecake. The cheesecake we do smoke ourselves. We smoke everything right here in-house.”

Smoked cheesecake is far from the only unusual smoked item on the menu. Devil’s BBQ’s popular fries, available seasoned or unseasoned, are all cold smoked as well.

“I cold smoke a lot of things, and that really opens doors up to a lot of unique items,” Hetrick said.

“Everything we do is a subtle smoke, nothing overpowering,” he continued.

The fries are also available smothered with pulled pork, smoked nacho cheese, sour cream, and jalapenos.

“It’s all a little bit out of the norm, anyhow. Homemade scratch meals are just not something you get a whole lot anymore. It’s something we’re trying to offer. Well, not just trying, we are doing it.”

Other unique items available include smoked horseradish mayonnaise, horseradish coleslaw, macaroni salad made with smoked cheese and smoked eggs, and “Devil Eggs,” which are brined in hot pepper brine, then cold smoked, and finally deviled and topped with a sliver of pepper and a sliver of bacon.

Hetrick also has plans for a new egg to be introduced soon that will be pickled in a sweeter brine before being smoked and deviled and topped with a dab of hot sauce and horseradish.

Of course, even with southern style dry rub barbeque, people still often want sauces, and Devil’s BBQ doesn’t disappoint there. They offer a sweet barbeque sauce, a spicy barbeque sauce, a Carolina (vinegar based) barbeque sauce, and a spicy Carolina barbeque sauce, as well as a white and a spicy white barbeque sauce.

“I have a lot of people that come in and ask for ranch, but that’s a swear word here. I usually say ‘just try the white bbq, you’ll probably like it and never want ranch again!'”

Along with the restaurant business, Hetrick has also broken into the catering business. He has catered events of up to 600 people thus far and will be taking on some even larger events this summer.

Devil’s BBQ will be at the Laurel Eye Monsters of Rock Charity Concert at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 30.

They will also be catering the YMCA Ultimate Sportsman’s Raffle at Camp Coffman on Saturday, August 11.

“Catering has really taken off, and I’m really enjoying it,” Hetrick said.

The food isn’t the only thing with a unique flavor at Devil’s BBQ. The building itself has a one-of-a-kind feel that comes, in part, from the eclectic decorations, ranging from oil cans and hubcaps found in the building when Hetrick took it over, to items he’s been given by friends and customers.

“A lot of the stuff, people have just said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this, I’ve got that, you want to hang it?’ Absolutely. I’d love to. It’s just been a big conglomeration of different things. Some of it I’ve just reclaimed from different places I’ve found. The tin, everybody thought I was crazy when I said I was going to put tin on the walls, then after they saw it: ‘Oh, okay, I get it.'”

One piece that Hetrick admits he is particularly fond of is the sign from a gas station that was also his childhood bus stop, which he got from a friend.

“It’s kind of near and dear to me,” he admitted.

Other eye-catching items on display include an antique gas pump, also on loan from a friend, and an old stoplight, formerly located in downtown Brookville.

With a little over a half-year under his belt so far, Hetrick says things are going well, but he doesn’t have any particular plans for the future just yet.

“Right now I don’t really want to expand or anything. You see so many places that try to expand and lose quality. That’s one thing I’m very particular about, is quality. There’s just no room for error. The quality has to be there. In my eyes, that’s just not a choice. You start slacking there, then it’s just going to keep going downhill.”

“Who knows what the future will bring, but right now we’re just going to stick to this and perfect it.”

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