Pete Hasty and his son, Jesse, have taken a hobby, turned it into a business and joined the ranks of area food truck chefs.
Smoke Happy BBQ began 15 years ago, when Pete Hasty decided to try his hand at making his own smoked meats.
“Just for myself and neighbors and family,” Pete said. “(There was) a lot of trial and error.”
He had no idea there would be a food truck in his future or that his smoked meats would become so popular.
Four years ago, the Arkansas City residents began entering barbecue contests.
“I started winning quite a few awards,” said Pete Hasty. “Then we decided to try our hand at selling some.
Initially, Smoke Happy BBQ was sold out of a wooden shed on a trailer that also held two smokers.
“We did that for about two, 2 1/2 years,” he said. “Then we sold the trailer and bought a truck. We took the winter off to get it ready.”
This summer, Smoke Happy BBQ has been at every Farm and Art Market as one of the food vendors.
So far this year, the Hastys have been at several bigger events around town, but in September, they will compete in the Charlie Adams Day barbecue competition in Newkirk, Oklahoma.
They also will start parking the truck at the laundromat on the northeast corner of Kansas Avenue and Summit Street on a fairly regular basis.
The Hastys do catering work, as well. Orders can be placed at any time on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/smokehappybbq.
Near the winter holidays, they not only offer their regular fare, but they also will prepare special-order turkey or ham.
Smoke Happy BBQ prides itself on its homemade barbecue.
“We make our own rubs. Everything is homemade,” said Pete Hasty. He even makes his own barbecue sauce.
“We experimented with this and that. As far as our barbecue sauce, we’re working on coming up with a gluten-free (recipe).”
Barbecue wraps also are coming soon.
Smoke Happy BBQ doesn’t subscribe to just one style of barbecue — it has Texas brisket, Kansas City ribs and a sauce that is closely related to the vinegar-based Carolina style.
“Our barbecue sauce looks spicy, but it’s not,” Pete said.
Smoke Happy BBQ innovation
The Hastys aren’t afraid to step out on a limb, culinarily speaking.
“I do a pork loin where I filet the pork loin out, cover it in cream cheese and jalapeños, roll it back up, and smoke it,” said Pete Hasty said.
“Boy, everybody likes that. Family and friends say they can’t get enough of it.”
That item occasionally is available at the food truck, as well as pulled pork nachos and what he calls the “BBQ Bomb.”
“We put a layer of mashed potatoes (on a plate, then) pulled pork, another layer of mashed potatoes, brisket, another layer of mashed potatoes on top of that, and then stick a hot link in it,” Pete said.