All News & Blogs
Hard-working family and friends serve up good barbecue-and say the barbecue business has been good to them
Date published: 7/16/2012
BY CATHY DYSON
Zachary McCray hopes ribs and collard greens will help
He and his wife, Shalonda, operate TnTz Smoked BBQ in a field off U.S. 17 near Geico. Every weekend from spring to Thanksgiving, they pull their mobile food truck into the open space beside Cardinal Forest subdivision, set up a tent and tables and start cooking.
The McCrays started their business about four years ago, and it's in addition to their full-time jobs. He's an audiovisual engineer at the Pentagon, and she's a manager at the nearby Target. Both are working every day of the week for a reason.
"I look at it this way, I got three kids," he said. "I work hard now so they can go to college, and when my wife and I get older, we can travel."
For their friends who work with them, the barbecue business has helped supplement incomes in a troubled economy. Mike Lynch is a personal care aide, and Elzie Robinson cuts grass on the side. Both have had trouble finding jobs.
Their weekend work at the barbecue stand is long and hot. They start at 6 a.m., lighting the hickory wood and charcoal in the smokers. Then they tend the custom-made grills throughout the day as the unit's two smokestacks issue an advertisement that travels as far as the wind carries it.
"The smell just sucks you in," said Holly Roach of Hartwood.
Galvin Coimbre of Stafford stops at the stand whenever he's doing weekend errands and said the ribs are the best in the area. He admired the way the crew kept at it from dawn to dusk.
"I'm telling you, they are really hard-working folks," Coimbre said.
Zachary McCray learned how to recognize various cuts of meat from his father, the late Solomon Green Sr., who was a butcher for more than 50 years in South Carolina.
McCray tried a couple of locations in the Hartwood area before he settled on the field across from Try My Nuts. He hasn't done any advertising except put out two tall flags that read "Barbecue."
He's built up quite the clientele, said his brother, Kelvin McCray Sr. He was recently in the hospital, where a nurse recognized him and told others his brother had the best barbecue around.
NAME: TnTz Smoked BBQ is named after the three children of Zachary and Shalonda McCray: Tyreke, 15; Ty'Lanna, 8, and Za'Carriah, 4. SEASONING for the dry rub is a mix of six different spices. The recipe is known only by Zachary and Shalonda McCray. TASTE: The barbecue has a unique, down-home flavor, said Zachary McCray. It's not too sweet or spicy, but it has so much flavor the pulled pork doesn't need sauce. THE SMOKE that comes out of the two stacks on the grill does more than flavor the meat. "That's the key advertising there," said Zachary McCray.