It’s been parked there for a little over a month now and has been serving some of the best barbecue in Beeville since then.
Housed in that trailer are the cooks, Kenneth Wilson and Eismael Ruiz Jr., otherwise known as 2 Crazy Dudes.
“This was supposed to just be a weekend deal to make a little extra money,” Wilson explained about the start of 2 Crazy Dudes BBQ. “It ended up full time for Eismael, and it’s still part time for me.
“So far, it’s been going pretty good.”
The two-man cooking team has been barbecuing for more than 15 years. Wilson began cooking for fundraisers to help out the local summer track team before handing it off to Ruiz Jr. and his brother.
Eventually, the two men found themselves cooking together again and decided they might just need a covered trailer in which to cook.
Wilson explained, “We would go to some of the events and stuff like the Memorial Day bash in Victoria all the time. We’d set up there and cook and sell. And then we thought that maybe we needed to get something so we can be inside in case it started raining.”
Ruiz added, “There’d be a lot of nights where we’d be out cooking, and it’d be hot with nothing but a canopy and mosquitoes; then holding down tarps to keep them from blowing away. We just thought we needed to find something different.”
Wilson said, “We went from the backyard and pulling a trailer and tables around to having a kitchen now.”
And the trailer allows them to conjure up all sorts of culinary masterworks throughout the week.
Monday through Friday you can usually find the traveling kitchen parked in its usual spot, unless the weather just won’t allow for it, from around noon until six or seven in the evening.
“Usually during the week, we’ll have sliced brisket, chopped brisket, pork ribs, sausage with beans, rice, potato salad and tortillas,” Ruiz said.
“We mix all that around to make different kinds of plates and little specialties that we do, so we’ll make different sandwiches and what not.”
Some of the roving barbecue joint’s signature items include the ‘Super Sandwhich’ which has sliced sausage and chopped brisket and is topped off with pickles, onions and jalapeños.
Ruiz explained, “All of our chopped sandwiches here come with a tortilla at the bottom. If you’re eating a sandwich, you’re probably not at home. So the tortilla acts as a plate, so whatever falls out of your sandwich at the end leaves you with a taco.”
There’s also the ‘Noopy Taco’ which is a tortilla stuffed to the brim with chopped brisket and topped with Spanish rice, beans, pickles and onions.
Another one is the ‘Changa Taco’ which comes with everything as the ‘Noopy’ but with Fritos added. Changa is Spanish for monkey—for those of you wondering.
“It’s kind of like a Frito pie, but it’s still a meal. We always have people asking, ‘Hey, give me that monkey’,” Ruiz said with a laugh.
“Those are all nicknames of our family members who do food a certain way and add certain things to their food. So we kind of use their nicknames.”
The pair who make up 2 Crazy Dudes BBQ have a simple philosophy for making great barbecue, too.
“If you’re going to cook barbecue, you have to cook it with tender love and care,” Wilson explained.
“Some people just throw some meat on the grill and think it’s barbecue. You have to cook that meat with some tender love and care, man. Make sure you know what you’re doing. Make sure your meat isn’t dry. Make sure it’s tender and moist enough that people can eat it, and it’s not tough.”
Ruiz added, “We take pride in it. And it’s a long process for us. We sit with the pit, and we’re watching and making sure the temperatures are right.
“These cold nights get us because you have to use more wood and try and keep the temperatures right. We put a lot of love in to it. We care about what we do. And we most definitely care about what people think.”
And the million dollar question on everyone’s mind is, of course, where’d they get the name 2 Crazy Dudes BBQ?
“Well, that’s a funny story,” Ruiz said laughing.
Wilson shook his head smiling as he added, “We were doing a Memorial Day Bash in Victoria and had taken 15 briskets, and we had sold out, so we were out until, like, two or three in the morning and were trying to cook some more for the next day.
“We were still sort of half asleep, and we decided we needed some more fire in the pit, so we used propane to light the fire, though we cook with natural wood, and we kind of overshot a little propane in the pit without opening the doors and had a flashback and got all burnt up.”
“A lady came walking by and said, ‘Ya’ll are just two crazy dudes out here.’
“So, the name stuck.”
Wilson survived the incident with second degree burns, and Ruiz had barely any facial hair left. They seem utterly relieved to have lived to tell the tale.
The 2 Crazy Dudes, having earned their namesake, have a few ideas up their sleeve about possibly expanding their little business, too.
Wilson said, “Right now we’re small, and there’s some other stuff we need to do, and right now we’re just trying to get clientele built up so we can keep chugging along and move on to bigger and better things.
“Hopefully, one day, we will open up a restaurant.”
Ruiz added, “We get lucky now because we do cater, and sometimes we get calls to go out to the oil field, and we’ll drag a pit out there and go cook. We’ll do what we have to do.”
“Hopefully, later down the line, we can cater and stay here. Right now, we have to take the trailer.
“We lose out here by doing catering, but then again that gets us out there, too. So, it’s give and take.”
So, as long as they lay off the propane and keep the fire going, 2 Crazy Dudes BBQ doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.
“The thing is, we love doing it,” Ruiz added in closing.
“We love to cook. We may be tired. We may have been on the pit 12 to 14 hours, but you smell the wood and serve the food, and people look at it and take that bite, and they say, ‘Man that’s really good!’ That makes it all worth while.
“If it’s smoking downtown on a Saturday, relax; it’s probably just us.”
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.