PUNXSUTAWNEY — A Punxsutawney native with a passion for authentic barbecue can recall the days when he thought he’d join the pizza business, following in his family’s footsteps.
Brody’s Barbecue was started out of a tent at the Country Villa Motel on Groundhog Day 2014, said Owner Jeremy Limerick. The name “Brody’s” comes from Limerick’s son.
Brody’s Rib & Chophouse, a Route 119 restaurant, opened in October of 2016. Limerick slow roasts all of his products in an offset cooker behind the building, using 100 percent Pennsylvania hardwoods. Brody’s burgers are also pressed fresh every day, and made with buns from Chicago.
Limerick grew up making pizzas, since he is the son of Katie Laska, who started Laska’s Pizza — now a North Main Street business — when he was 4 years old.
He attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, graduating in hotel and restaurant management. He held different jobs throughout the years, but always wanted to be self employed.
“I have always been obsessed with cooking meat over a live fire,” Limerick says. “My dad would always take me fishing and camping along Mahoning Creek in the summertime, and building a fire and cooking over it was always a part of that.”
He began experimenting with smoking meat while working in the oil and gas industry for six years, Limerick said. Many of his fellow workers had smokers, which inspired Limerick to try out a new hobby. He bought himself a cooker and started bringing raw briskets and ribs.
“I kind of became fascinated with the whole process,” he said. “I cooked almost every day for a year. Meat cooked with a wood fire has a taste you can’t replicate with gas or electric.”
After he and his wife, Holly, began setting up shop on Groundhog Day and smoking everything on site, Limerick says he found his calling. He adds that he wouldn’t be where he is today without his wife’s support.
“After that first day, I knew I could make a go at this,” he said.
Limerick does all of the smoking behind the restaurant, he said, since he prefers to do it himself so the products reach his standards. The business also has two line cooks and five employees overall. He always intended for the dining room to be small, so his customers receive more attention. The venue has a rustic feel, with wooden tables and smoke décor on the walls, and the aroma of smoked meat.
When he thinks of watching his mother work so hard growing up, Limerick can only consider her the best role model possible, helping to shape the person he is today.
His hometown of Punxsutawney is the best place for his business, since he has a passion for where he grew up, Limerick says. He and Laska are also members of the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce.
“I love knowing almost all of my customers,” he said. During the weekend, he also meets a lot of travelers, and commuters from nearby towns.
Brody’s was also the winner of the Tri-County Sunday’s “Best Barbecue” reader’s choice award in 2018.
Brody’s Rib & Chophouse is located at 20135 Route 119 in Punxsutawney. For more information, visit www.brodysbbq.com, the Facebook page or call 814-938-3344.