News-Sun photo by SAMANTHA GHOLAR Beach Longley (left) welcomes customers to his mobile restaurant, Beach's Barbeque and Catering. Beach and his daughter Jasmine (right) serve up mouth-watering bbq and sides each weekend in the Pier 1 Imports parking lot.
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published: Sunday, June 24, 2012
Beach's BBQ serves up full menu in mobile location
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- If the wafting aroma from the grill doesn't win you over the grillmaster's up-beat and fun-loving personality definitely will.
Beach Longley, owner and grillmaster of Beach's Barbeque and Catering, has a unique story that began nearly a decade ago as he and his family were preparing for the nuptials of his oldest daughter LaToya.
"In 2003, my daughter was looking for a wedding caterer. I was looking for someone I could afford and something that they wanted but we couldn't find anyone. So I just asked 'Well what do they want?,'" Longley said.
Longley took it upon himself to provide the wedding reception meals for his daughter and son-n-law in September of 2003. The food was a hit. Longley had found a new niche and acted on his new-found passion.
"After that I was living over in Indiantown for a few years. Over there, I was still working so me and a friend would cook together and I sold meals on Fridays in the parking lot at work," Longley said.
Longley worked for decades in law enforcement following his exit from the United States military before retiring from work last June.
Beach's BBQ has been Longley's priority (just behind getting his last two kids through college) for a while now, and he thoroughly enjoys his work.
Longley's mobile kitchen was first parked in Avon Park, but he has since relocated his barbecue joint to Sebring.
"I've been here in this spot since the first week in February," said Longley. "I'm here every weekend."
Longley parks his trailer -- fit with grill, smoker and kitchen -- adjacent to the Pier 1 Imports parking lot every Friday and Saturday. A friend of Longley's, owner of the Jewelry Box shop, allows him to set up shop there each weekend.
Longley is able to provide meals for one stomach or hundreds. He splits his time between serving up mouth-watering plates for quick lunches and dishing out huge helpings to a room full of guests.
"I do a lot of catering. The past two months I've done three birthday parties, two weddings and a retirement party," said Longley.
The recent retirement party has become one of Longley's biggest jobs yet. The 250-person party in Brooksville called for a big menu for the solo cook.
"I used 200 pounds of chicken, 300 pounds of ribs. I started prepping for that job the night before. I started cooking at 7 a.m. that morning and everything was done around 5 (p.m.)," Longley said.
Though Longley tackled the Brooksville retirement cater on his own, his day-to-day operations of the barbecue joint are rarely done solo.
"My wife helps me out. I cook and she serves and helps the customers. Now that my youngest daughter Jasmine is out of school for the summer she is here helping us and my son B.J. helps out when he gets here too," Longley explained.
The business has been good and each day is different, but Longley doesn't mind. The cook makes his adjustments as he sees fit.
"I've been serving a lot more sandwiches and ribs here, so we've cut back on the chicken for right now, but we can bring it back. We have plenty of sides to go along with the meals," said Longley.
"I just enjoy it. I really do. I told Ann (wife) that if I can make back what I put into it then I'm happy. People have seemed to enjoy my cooking. I experimented with it for years before it got better at it; they like it. I mix my own seasonings I make my own sauce. People have been saying I should market (the sauce) but I don't want to do that. I don't want to get that big," Longley said with a laugh.
Longley uses a number of techniques in his cooking but prefers the "low and slow" technique over traditional smoking most times. Longley's ribs, chicken, pulled pork and brisket are the main meats. Sides vary from collard greens, mac and cheese, green beans, potato salad, cole slaw and more along with a sweet potato casserole for the dessert lovers. The reasonably cheap prices are sure to keep customers coming back.
"I do this because I love it. It's nice to do what you want with no one looking over your shoulder, punching a clock or being told what to do. I enjoy this, I like to cook for people," said Longley.
Beach's Barbeque and Catering is a mobile establishment located Fridays and Saturdays in the parking lot between Pier 1 Imports and the Jewelry Box store on Highway 27 across from Lakeshore Mall. Beach's is open every Friday and Saturday beginning at 11:30 a.m. He is also available the third Saturday of each month at the Home Depot in Sebring from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Contact Longley at 212-0109 for more information.
Beach's BBQ (by: Aim - 6/24/2012)
Great story, great bbq and other dishes! Even better-- you're following your passion.
(by: chloe - 6/24/2012)
This is the best bar-b-Que in the sound......havent had bar-b-que this good in a long time keep up the good work
Passion for grilling!!! (by: "Chicken Legs" - 6/24/2012)
Can't deny the greatness of this grill master! What real BBQ should taste like!
great man with great food! (by: Bub - 6/24/2012)
Excellent article, the food is even better!
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