BBQ joint, Home Grown Smokers, opens in downtown Tama

Contributed Photo Members of the Mead family are shown here promoting their new restaurant, Home Grown Smokers, in Tama, Ia.

TAMA — Walk through the doors of Home Grown Smokers and you feel you have stepped into the deep south. Johnny Cash posters are on the wall, southern rock is blasting from the radio and the smell of BBQ wafts through the air.

The joint is run by long time grill master T.R. Mead along with his wife, Shelly, daughter, Casey, and several grandchildren. Originally from Texas, Mead has a long history of barbecuing all over the deep south but has recently put down roots in the Marshalltown area. He’s been at it for more than 35 years with 10 of those years focused on competitions. They were faithful participants at Oktemberfest in Marshalltown where they earned awards like grand champion in 2013 and People’s Choice in 2014.

Home Grown Smokers is a true BBQ joint. Their menu reads “We serve up authentic southern BBQ made from top quality meat that’s cooked ‘old school’ on a wood fired smoker. BBQ is a low and slow cooking process. Once the meat is gone it’s gone until the next fantabulous batch comes out.”

Mead cooks his meat on all natural wood smoked oak in a custom-made smoker that he constructed himself. He also makes his own rubs and a variety of sauces. Some are hot and some are not like his vinegar-based Carolina-style sauce. For those adventurous customers, Mead keeps his extra hot sauce in the back. “I don’t want to light someone up,” said Mead. One thing you won’t catch him doing is saucing the meat. He doesn’t believe in that.

His decision to get into the barbequing business was pretty simple as it was what he grew up with and it’s what he likes to eat.

Menu items include brisket, pulled chicken, pulled pork, ribs and sides such as slaw, pasta salad and potato salad. You can also tell it’s a true BBQ joint as he has burnt ends on the menu. Mead slices the brisket to order. That ensures to keep the meat moist.

Home Grown Smokers is located at 113 West 3rd St., in Tama. They are open on Friday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.