Business profile: Mesilla Valley BBQ taps into tradition, expertise

January 4, 2015 - bbq set

LAS CRUCES GT;GT; Inside a new Mesilla Valley BBQ Co., 1340 E. Lohman Ave., owners Pete Mullen sat during a dilemma counter articulate about a story of a building that generations have famous as Casa Luna. The smell of a mesquite- and pecan-smoked beef hung in a air, as Mullen forked out little-known contribution about a building’s architecture.

“The Saltillo tile and these unprotected rafters were brought in from a Loretto Academy after it was ripped down,” he said.

The aged Catholic school-turned-monastery, determined in 1870 and located nearby a stream Loretto Town Center on Main Street, was ripped down in 1959. Still, a square of it survives in a city’s newest griddle restaurant.

Mullen describes himself as “just your normal guy.” The Denver local has spent many of his life operative in restaurants.

“I’ve worked underneath a integrate of good guys in a past, and managed a garland of good corporate restaurants. Then we branched out on my own, and have spent a past 10 years doing griddle consulting,” he said. “I came to Las Cruces about a year and a half ago — in partial to get divided from a snow,” he laughed. “My initial pursuit in Las Cruces was as executive cook during Meson de Mesilla. we spent 6 months there to get a griddle behind on a feet after a whole…” he pauses with a meaningful grin as he recalls a time after a radio organisation for Chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Hotel Hell” left town, when Meson’s owners hired Mullen to assistance spin a kitchen around. And, Mullen explained that he non-stop his new griddle during a propelling of friends.

“I golf frequently with a garland of guys over during NMSU, who knew that griddle is my passion. They kept revelation me, ‘We go down to El Paso for barbecue. Why don’t we open adult a griddle restaurant?’ So we did.”

When he unequivocally started looking into it, he had to do some homework.

“I looked during a integrate of locations first, and worked some feasibility studies — will it tarry in this town? Las Cruces is a small town, and griddle is a unequivocally niche cuisine,” he said. “Just given there are 100,000 people, that doesn’t meant 100,000 like barbecue.”

When Mullen says he’s ardent about barbecue, we can take him during his word.

Barbecue circuit

“I spent a few years on a griddle tour, several years ago,” he said. “On any given weekend, a griddle cook-off is function somewhere in America. For a integrate of summers, a garland of buddies from cave in Denver and we would tour. We had a large trailer rig, and competed in a lot of competitions — we had a lot of fun with it. We competed in Memphis in May one year, and we indeed did flattering good there.”

Getting started wasn’t easy. Choosing a plcae seemed elementary enough. Mullen pronounced that he was drawn to it immediately — a jammed area, copiousness parking, and scarcely half of a square-footage is clinging to a kitchen space. But it had a few quirks.

“It’s a 70-year-old building,” Mullen explained. “And one of a prior tenants had commissioned a small H2O fountain. We had other ideas for that space — though removing that fountain out wasn’t easy. It was a attainment of engineering; it took 4 men, 3 sledgehammers, a jackhammer and 8 hours to get it out. It was Rebared into a tile. There were 4 tons of petrify — for a small small fountain,” he laughed.

The restaurant, renovated with a captain’s list where that realistic fountain once stood, finally non-stop Dec. 23. Mullen pronounced a training bend for griddle restaurants is distinct any other cuisine. Because food can’t be baked to order, he has to know days in allege how many food to prepare.

“Take a brisket, for instance,” he pronounced on a new Monday afternoon. “I’m pleat briskets behind in a kitchen that I’ll be portion on Thursday. I’m pleat now, afterwards they go into a brine. They’ll brine for 24 hours, afterwards they’ll get burnished down, and go into a cooler overnight. And they get smoked for 18 hours. So perplexing to sign a pars (the series of servings he needs to accommodate demand) given we’re code new — there are no set pars yet. We know we need to boost a brisket, a ribs and a handmade sausages.”

Mullen explained that he wants to be means to work on a set report — and not tighten when they run out of a beef they prepared for that day, as some places do. He says his biggest day-to-day plea has been adhering to a despotic report to keep copiousness of beef prepared to order.

“My smokers are full, 24/7,” he said. “I’ve had to boost a volume of griddle we’re preparing, and I’m grouping another smoker to assistance accommodate a demand. But staying on that despotic schedule, to make certain we don’t run out of food — it’s tough.”


There are copiousness of misconceptions about barbecue, pronounced Mullen.

“People consider they griddle when they glow adult a Weber griddle in their backyard. That’s grilling,” he said. “Barbecue is large pieces of meat, baked low and delayed for a prolonged time. And timber flavors unequivocally need to be in there. we consider that’s what I’ve brought brazen with all of my dishes.”

In fact, that joining has got him entrance into work during 5 a.m. any morning, and staying until 11 p.m. any night to keep a smokers full. He also prepares all of his possess dry rubs and salsas from scratch.

The griddle is served though sauce, though on any list sits 3 bottles of griddle sauce.

There’s a bottle of Cowpoke, Mullen’s many normal salsa — “a vinegar and piquant sauce, not molasses and ketchup.”

There’s a Diablo Sauce, that is a Cowpoke salsa with a flog — “I dry out a accumulation of peppers, and fume them for a bit, to give them a small additional fume flavor. Then we brew those with chipotle peppers, and supplement it to a sauce.”

And a many singular salsa is Mullen’s Carolina Sauce — “When was a final time we saw a griddle salsa that color?”

The mustard-based salsa is some-more sour than a normal sauces, and goes good with pulled pork, according to Mullen.

Mullen explained that his purpose for opening Mesilla Valley BBQ Company is simple.

“What we wanted to do is to put out a higher product so my friends don’t have to expostulate to El Paso, so a whole city doesn’t have to go to El Paso — with bigger portions, during an affordable price. And a cost is unequivocally critical to me. we wish people to leave saying, ‘I got fed, we got fed well, and we didn’t have to spend a lot of money. we need to go behind to that place soon.'”

He’s confident, he said, that his prices are reduce than any competitors. And his portions are bigger, he claims. “Everyone who has come in currently has indispensable a to-go box. we didn’t sequence adequate of those when we opened,” he pronounced with a laugh. “I wish we make it until a conveyance comes in tomorrow. we like for people to leave with leftovers.”

Damien Willis might be reached during 575-541-5449


If we go:

What: Mesilla Valley BBQ Co.

Where: 1340 East Lohman Ave.

Phone: 575-449-4590


Twitter: @MVBBQCo

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