By Aaron Brom
Editor's note: This story was written before Minnesota's restaurants were ordered to close to dine-in customers as a result of COVID-19. Big Bore is currently offering take-out. You can order online or drive up and order curbside. More information at bigborebarbecue.com.
Chad Brink wants to give back to Hanover, where he and his family have lived for 18 years.
So he’s taking his first foray into restaurant ownership by building upon his passion for barbecue. That passion led him to manufacturing and selling barbecue smokers, and then to purchasing the old bar building on the west side of Wright County Rd. 19 at Fourth Street, where Brink recently opened the new restaurant, Big Bore Barbecue Co.
The name is a play on the word “boar,” but references the term used for the hollowed part of smokers.
Brink started culinary work for the National Guard in the 1990s in his childhood town of Redwood Falls, Minnesota.
“I started building and selling smokers, and that concept moved toward catering,” he said. “Then it became my career.”
Big Bore is 100% wood-fired, Texas-style, dry-rubbed, craft barbecue.
“No gas-powered grills,” the company said on its website. “No set-it-and-forget-it smokers. That means you have to baby sit the fire.”
The smokers contain 100% wood-fired oak, hickory and cherry.
Brink said the reception has been overwhelmingly positive, with packed houses and quick word-of-mouth customer loyalty.
“This is my hobby, this is my passion,” Brink said. “And there’s a lot of need for a restaurant like this in the community. My aim is to give back and make this a destination point.”
DAY AND NIGHT
He said the day and night job of smoking meats is time consuming but worth it. “It’s all we can do to keep up with the smoking.” he said. “We have authentic low and slow pit barbecue. There’s no shortcuts, our meat goes from smoker to table.”
Brink said his meat is of the finest, locally sourced variety. The restaurant even has signs for the meat’s origin.
Beef comes from the Revier Cattle Company in Olivia, Minnesota — from five generations of the Revier family.
“Since 1867, they’ve been perfecting their craft while protecting the cattle and the land they live on,” the website boasts. “Revier is the most sustainable, environmental cattle producer in the country, and you can taste it in every phenomenal bite.”
Pork comes from the Comfrey Farm in Windom, Minnesota. “It’s also local, traceable, and the farm-to-table product of (Timberwolves owner) Glen Taylor’s passion,” the website said. “Glen puts his resources into creating rural jobs, and with Comfrey Farm, he’s kept a tradition alive when mainstream agriculture has forgotten that we’re dealing with animals.”
The menu includes appetizers like pork belly burnt ends, whole smoked wings, loaded queso fries, brisket burnt ends, white cheddar beer battered cheese curds and portabello mushroom fries.
As for the main course, diners can choose from slow-smoked brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, and special Friday and Saturday only prime rib. Also available are a variety of beef and pork sandwiches, and build your own chicken sandwiches and burgers, with numerous sides to choose from like mac and cheese, coleslaw, potato salad, house fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings and baked beans.
And then come the sauces, of which Brink offers three homemade varieties: Hanover Heat, Crow River Sweet and County Rd. 19 Middle-of-the-Road. He plans an ever hotter sauce called Six O’Clock Siren, in honor of the 6 p.m. whistle that goes off in town.
The restaurant also features specials, “whatever we feel like,” Brink said, such as Lenten shrimp tacos and fish and chips.
“I let the chefs kind of play with the menu,” he said, “like with special holidays, we’ll do something fun.” He also uses in-house Texas dry rubs.
Every aspect of the restaurant has been remodeled, including with a nod to Brink’s passion for Shiner beer. The restaurant has its own private label Shiner beer, as well as two other varieties from the brewer.
His Texas-themed restaurant also includes personally designed pieces like his “guitar chandelier” above the bar.
“The furniture, the bar, everything is new and we did it ourselves,” he said. “A lot of sweat equity. But it’s got a great vibe, and when the lights go down, everything has that glow.”
His aim is for a “good, clean room the community can enjoy.”
Hours are Tuesday through Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight; and closed Mondays.
Big Bore will also be hosting live music beginning April 23. Brink also looks forward to a busy catering season with graduations approaching.
“It’s all little things in my business plan I want to accomplish,” he said. “My passion started with people at home, on a budget. Now it’s an art, a and a lot of work getting there. It’s great to eat and just as fun to process.”