Brendon Hutton knows that where there’s smoke, there’s usually great barbecue. The owner of the recently launched Smoke Hutt in Franklin aims to carry the torch his parents lit in the same spot with Jibs BBQ four years ago.
“When they first got started, I was here full-time helping out,” he says. “Then, I had to leave for another job. It just worked out that they were ready to retire and I was ready to step up.”
Growing up in Indy and Southport, Hutton learned to cook and to ’cue with his family, following in the footsteps of his dad, his uncle, and his grandfather—all seasoned pitmasters. He’s kept his hobby alive these past few years with a Texas-style barbecue food truck he plans to keep operating for local events, but his main priority right now is putting his own stamp on the brick-and-mortar eatery. Ascribing to a less-is-more philosophy, Hutton’s a big believer in letting the flavors of the brisket, pork, ribs, and turkey he smokes on a massive commercial-grade J&R Oyler machine stand out on their own merits. “It all starts with the kind of wood you use. I like oak and maybe a little bit of mesquite,” he says. “Then it’s all about cooking the meat low and slow. Good barbecue really comes down to two things, patience and time.”
That said, Hutton has spent about a decade perfecting a quartet of sauces he serves on the side and sells by the bottle, including a hot variation made with Carolina reaper, ghost, and scorpion peppers that he promises isn’t as incendiary as it sounds. “Ketchup makes my wife start to sweat, and she likes it,” he says.