The custom-made trailer begins
to come together at Southern Yankee Bar-B-Q. THB photo / Perry
By MELANIE D.
Sparks were flying, the noise
was deafening, and the heat was on as people ran around, inside and
outside the building, working on a deadline and trying to look good
at the same time.
Employees at Southern Yankee Bar-B-Q, an
Anderson business that makes barbecue equipment, will be featured on
a special show on the Food Channel that will show them building a
custom-made trailer in five days.
Billy Penny, who opened up
Southern Yankee in 2001, said the Food Channel approached him with a
challenge that he couldn't pass up.
"It's similar to 'Monster
Garage.' We have five days to build a project that would normally be
a 30-day project," Penny said.
The project was to build a
7-by-18 foot trailer, with two decks, four pull-out awnings, a
smoker, and all the amenities an avid barbecuer could dream
"I thought it was an honor to do it," Penny said. "It's
not like they went down a list and got to us. They asked us first
and we knew we could do it."
High Noon Productions, based in
Denver, was filming the show for the Food Channel's two-hour special
that will air in May or June of 2005. The first hour will focus on
the five days it took Southern Yankee employees, artists and other
team members to build the trendy trailer. The second hour will show
a family of barbecuers taking the trailer on the road to a
barbecuing competition in November in Georgia.
The team of
builders had to work on a limited budget, but Penny invested at
least $21,000 in the project. He doesn't mind.
no-brainer that this will bring us a lot of sales," he said. "We're
going to have an entire two-hour show about us - all about our
smoker. It's a good investment."
Penny had 16 to 20 employees
working on the smoker and trailer day and night, sometimes until 3
a.m. And throughout the whole thing there were cameras catching
their every movement.
"We have film crews that follow us
around," Penny said. "When they see you talking to an employee, they
jump in. We really don't even notice they are there. We don't pay
attention. We focus on what needs to be done."
started on Aug. 20 and ended on Friday. On Saturday, the trailer was
unveiled at Shadyside Park and presented to Blindog's Outlaw BBQ
The Gang is led by Drew Grega, better known as Blindog,
and includes his wife Becky, 53, and daughters Lindsay, 23, and
Jennifer, 21. Blindog, 55, of Alabama, has been competing in
barbecue contests for 12 years and attends about a dozen each
In November, he and his family will get to take the
super-trailer down to Douglas, Ga., to see how well they do in a
"We're hoping the new rig will help them win the
competition," said Jennifer Darrow, executive producer for High Noon
Productions. "It's very functional for (Blindog) as well as
While the trailer was being built,
though, the family hung out outside of Southern Yankee's building on
Chase Street, but was left in the dark about the
Blindog and his family were not allowed to see it
until it was completed and presented to them on
"All I've been doing here is cooking lunch every
day," Blindog said on Thursday as he rubbed his homemade seasoning -
"Blindog's miracle dust" - on several slabs of ribs. "We're not
allowed in the building. We have to walk around the
"It's like an extreme make-over," Becky said
excitedly. "It will be a shock for us too."
"We won't see it
till they pull it out," Blindog said. "It will be one of a kind."
The family will then get to keep the trailer for future
Lonnie Hanzon designed all the extra features
that make the trailer so unique.
"We've added all the
details. It's like 'Pimp my Barbecue,'" he said, smiling. "I'm the
pimp guy. I'm the bells-and-whistles guy."
The trailer has a
cooker, three burners, hot and cold running water, a full bar, a
television, a DVD and VHS players, surround sound, lighting, a dart
board, and the list of amenities goes on.
Hanzon said the
trailer even has Blindog's monogram burned into the floor, the
stools, the walls. And to make it more identifiable as Blindog's,
the trailer has a wild West theme and has a 6-by-6-foot banner with
a blind dog wearing an eye-patch.
The inside of the trailer
was made with the family of four in mind, said Hanzon as he stood
outside the building looking like a true artist, paintbrush in hand,
wearing purple overalls and his salt-and-pepper hair standing on
"The TV is for Becky, so she won't miss her Thursday
night show - 'Survivor.' The daughter wanted a hammock, so we put in
a hammock. And for Blindog, he loses track of time, so we put in a
million clocks," Hanzon said, chuckling. "We try to personalize it
as much as possible."