Barbecue: Salt, Pepper, Smoke and Patience

Bark BBQ Mustafa Ali & Sister Shaher

Barbecue Served with Smiles: Mustafa Ali and his sister Shaher welcome customers to Westchase District Farmers Market.

Sometimes the right birthday gift can change your life. In December 2014, Mustafa Ali’s sister and dad bought him a barbecue smoker grill and the young accountant began cooking briskets. “I grew up in the kitchen with my family and so when I started barbecuing meats, something just clicked and I knew I had to do this,” he said. “The first time I cooked for a large function at a mosque, I smoked 200 pounds of meat and I was sold out in 90 minutes, so I knew I was onto something.”

 

Ali decided to quit his accounting job and created The Bark BBQ in July 2015. He was selling smoked brisket, chicken and salmon at a farmers market in Sugar Land when he learned of Westchase District Farmers Market. “I decided that one way I could stand out from other vendors is to purchase my meat from halal grocers, so that my Muslim customers could enjoy my products as well,” he said. “I don’t cook any pork on my grills either. The rest is simply salt, pepper, smoke and patience.”

 

From his commercial kitchen in southwest Houston Ali begins barbecuing at 2 a.m. in order to deliver the freshest product possible to Westchase District Farmers Market. “I finish about 30 minutes before we head out to the market,” he said. “That way the meat is hot, tender and juicy.” Ali also has experimented with creating his own signature barbecue sauce. “I started out with copycat recipes of store-bought sauces and started tweaking the ingredients from there,” he said. “Most barbecue sauce is too sweet for my taste – mine is more savory than sweet with lots of fresh cracked black pepper.”

 

With plans to purchase a 10-foot smoker and trailer, Ali said he enjoys interacting with customers and seeing their reactions. “I give out free samples of chopped beef,” he said. “So come out for a taste. I think you’ll be hooked after one bite.”