LONG BEACH — Love, seasoning and patience. That’s Dave Allen’s recipe for success with his second restaurant, Beach Fire BBQ, where he churns out authentic Texas-style brisket, Kansas City racks of ribs and pulled chicken along with all the ‘fixins’ made fresh daily.
From California to Washington
In May, Allen, 56, officially opened Beach Fire BBQ at 612 Pacific Ave., almost directly across the street from Streetside Tacos, his first food spot. Branching out from tacos to barbecue was a natural progression.
“I’ve always loved barbecue,” Allen said. “I used to have a huge barbecue trailer and had a catering background in California.”
Allen previously experimented with catering and a seasonal roadside stand in Ocean Park, where he discovered a hunger for authentic barbecue existed on the Peninsula.
“It’s getting popular now and I think the Peninsula could use it,” he said. “They haven’t had a barbecue in a while and this is the real deal.”
Allen has an extensive background in the cooking and catering business, but this is his first sit-down restaurant. Opening ahead of the summer rush was important, he said, adding that he intends to add beer to the menu and tweaks to the interior in the coming weeks.
‘A lot of love, seasoning and patience’
Allen draws on different regional variations of barbecue, from dry rubs to sauces.
“The brisket is a Texas style, and the ribs are more of a Kansas City style,” he said. “It’s a lot of love, seasoning and patience.”
Allen considers the smoked brisket among his signature specialties.
Whole briskets, typically ranging from 10 to 18 pounds, are smoked slow and low overnight more than 14 hours before being cut and served the following day, Allen said. Currently, it typically takes four whole briskets to supply enough meat to meet demand daily, but he anticipates smoking up to 10 daily in the summer as business heats up.
“Our smoker is capable of 300 pounds a day,” Allen said. “It’s 100 percent wood fired.”
The smoker is smart technology enabled, too, capable of connecting to the internet and relaying important information from cooking time to temperature to monitors in the kitchen and personal phones. The technology adds consistency and removes uncertainty.
The consistency is crucial, Allen explained, adding that meat, sourced from Brant Beef, a family-owned natural beef producer based in California, is the biggest daily expense. A mistake or power failure can result in hundreds of dollars of product being ruined.
“Our food costs are outrageous,” Allen said. “But we’re trying to keep our prices where people can afford them.”
Prices range from $8 for a pulled pork sandwich with one side to $38 for the Dune Fire, a combination platter of brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, ribs, sausage, beans, mac and cheese and three corn muffins. Everything on the menu is in house, except for the sausage, which Allen intends to eventually make too.
“We cook the beans from a dry bean,” Allen said. “The corn muffins and buns are baked in house.”