May 6, 2015 by THE WELSH HORIZON
Cardiff’s female-led Hang Fire Smokehouse has won the top award in the street food and takeaway category at the BBC’s Food and Farming Awards.
After traveling around the southern American states for six months learning the ins and outs of barbecuing, co-owners Shauna Guinn and Samantha Evans received the award at a ceremony held in Bristol on April 30.
“Driving around Texas learning how to do this slow and low barbecue we were listening to the [BBC Radio 4] podcasts thinking wouldn’t it be mental if one day that was us and we’re here,” said Ms Guinn in her acceptance speech.
(Listen to the entire acceptance speech here. Hang Fire Smokehouse is announced as the winner 20 minutes into the recording.)
The pair explained they owed their barbecue success, in part, to their love of true Americana culture. “Our original inspiration to go to America was actually Dolly Parton because we were absolutely obsessed with the music of the Appalachian Mountains,” Ms Guinn said.
In what might now seem like another life Ms Guinn and Ms Evans lived and worked in the hustle and bustle of London, but always knew they wanted to leave it all behind to work in the food industry.
“When we quit our jobs we knew it was going to be a food business, we just did not know what kind of food it was going to be,” Ms Guinn said.
Once they reached Nashville, the epitome of Dolly Parton America, the two decided on barbecue. “It’s the people’s food, everyone is eating it,” Ms Guinn added.
However, she explained, in United States barbecue varies regionally, state to state the definition of barbecue changes. At their latest pop up event in Cardiff’s city centre, at BrewDog Cafe, Hang Fire Smokehouse showcased the regional variations. “The first [day] was about brisket and beef for Texas, the next one was pork for the Carolinas and the final one was a kind of Cajun, Creole Louisiana Bayou style barbecue,” said Ms Guinn.
In hindsight, the pair credits long hours of waiting in line to try different styles of barbecue, also known as research, with the success of their wildly popular business venture.
“You wait in that line at Aaron Franklin’s BBQ in Austin for about six hours, which sounds like hell, but when he opens his doors and starts serving his food that’s barbecue heaven,” Ms Guinn said.
“I’ve never tasted such amazing food in my entire life,” Ms Guinn added.
In homage to their “hero”, as Ms Guinn calls Mr Franklin, HangFire Smokehouse features a beer brewed in his honour. Austin Aaron IPA is brewed by Wales’ sole female brewer Sue Hayward of Waen Brewery, Ms Guinn explained.
Hang Fire Smokehouse currently operates out of a 100-year-old butcher shop in Llantwit Major, but will be appearing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Street Food Circus throughout May and June.
By Emily Gowdey-Backus
Photos from Hang Fire Twitter account