SAN ANTONIO - Chris Ashford inherited the barbecuing gene from his father.
The 32-year-old was able to nurture his pit skills at his dad's business at 902 S. W.W. White Rd for nearly 10 years. Now, he runs his own barbecue joint in the same space.
"Just decided to do my own thing. My own flavor," Ashford said.
BBQ Life by Chris has been open for a year. Ashford had an emotional attachment to the property where his father ran Ed's Smok-NQ. The husband and father of two wanted to elevate his catering game into a brick and mortar BBQ joint.
The building housing BBQ Life has had many lives. According to Ashford, it was an old Sonic Drive-in, a bookstore, and a daycare center. Now, it nurtures brisket, ribs, turkey breast and legs, pulled pork, chicken and habanero rib tips.
"No ovens. Everything is smoked," Ashford said. " It's a basic season salt. We keep it real simple."
Team BBQ Life helps run the business 24 hours a day and seven days a week. They not only crank out the smoked meat but sides as well: Potato salad, macaroni salad, homemade coleslaw, brisket pinto beans and more.
The menu is ever expanding as is BBQ Life. Ashford is getting ready to open a second location at 611 W. Hildebrand Avenue soon.
As for the name of the business, a friend made the suggestion and it stuck to Ashford's ribs. Neighborhood Eats wanted to see if the food did the same thing.
BBQ Life provided a huge platter for a taste test. The sampling started with the smoked turkey breast. It is delicious!
The Yoakum sausage was good too.
Next, we tried the tender ribs. Ashford said he has a different process to cook the pork slabs. Whatever he's doing it works. ¡Qué Rico!
The mesquite smoked brisket is cooked low and slow. When they go low and slow Neighborhood Eats indulges. ¡Qué Rico!
Finding room to taste the BBQ Life loaded baked potato was tough. The huge smoked spud comes stuffed with brisket, sausage, cheese, and butter. Drizzle with sauce and eat. ¡Qué Rico!
If you like spicy food then their habanero rib tips are what you want. The rib tips are tender and come with a kick. Nothing too extreme but you will feel the warmth. ¡Qué Rico!
That's this week's edition of Neighborhood Eats. If you have a recommendation for Marvin send him an email (Mhurst@kens5.com), tweet (@Mhurstkens5) or post it to our KENS 5 Facebook page. #KENS5EATS