Ben's b-b-q on route 15 in allenwood, Pennsylvania offers the best:
It's Slow Cooked on an outside wood-fired pit with Ben's own special recipe b-b-q sauce!
Quick clicks To learn more about Ben's B-B-Q:
The Story behind Ben's B-B-Q
Ben's B-B-Q was opened on July 30th, 2004 because our family has a passion for barbequed chicken and ribs. In central and western Pennsylvania there are numerous sites along the highway that have barbequed chicken and ribs cooking over outdoor pits. The smoke that emanates from these pits is intoxicating, to say the least. It takes a very strong constitution to drive by these sites without stopping to at least inquire as to what is being cooked there. Our family could not just stop and see. We had to buy!
Since Sue’s parents live in Pittsburgh, we made numerous stops to buy chicken and ribs when we traveled to visit them. We even planned our trips around the days the meat was cooked because the pits were not fired up every day.
So…our passion for chicken and ribs led to the decision to create something similar in Central Pennsylvania. To the best of our knowledge there is no other restaurant like ours on Route 15 between the New York and Maryland borders. We wanted people in our area to enjoy what we have enjoyed for years. We can only hope what we create meets their expectations.
Why This Location?
Our present location was not our first choice, but has turned out to be the best place for us. We had eagerly sought a site in Lycoming County, closer to home, but when the site we selected did not pan out, we ventured out looking for another location. Robert (Bugs) J. Enterline’s property has more than met our immediate needs.
After the first site fell through, Ben was driving down Route 15 one morning looking for another location to open the restaurant. We needed land for the pit and a building to serve the food cooked on the pit. He noticed a group of men talking at Gary’s Radiator in Allenwood. He pulled in and offered a morning greeting and then asked the men if they knew of any property available. Well the offers started to come in. One man said he had 84 acres he could rent. Ben said that was a bit too much and Bugs said he might be able to help. He said he owned the property just down the street and was considering making some changes to it. Ben followed Bugs to his office and within a few short minutes, they had worked out a very tentative plan to turn Bug’s laundromat into a chicken and ribs take-out restaurant.
Conversion of Enterline’s Laundromat into Ben’s B-B-Q began in early July. Within a few weeks, the laundromat was a thing of the past and the kitchen was completed and ready for serving customers.
The barbeque pit is located just north of the main concrete, block building. The pit sits on a concrete slab and is covered by a multi-tiered roof structure. Two-by-four studs are located on the edge of the slab and are covered with a bug screen to prevent flying pests from entering the cooking area. The pit is 5 feet wide, 15 feet long, and is 3 ˝ feet high. Four barbeque racks that open and close like a book are used to cook the chicken and ribs as needed. The pit is fired with oak and hickory to create the smoke necessary to “cook” the meat. Proper cooking of the meat requires the fire to be very low, almost flameless, and away from the meat. It may take 3 to 4 hours to properly cook both the mouth-watering chicken and ribs on one of Ben's multiple charcoal grills. The chicken is done when it is no longer pink, but juices still flow from the meat. The ribs are done when they are picked up with tongs and bend like a tree branch.
Pit boss Ben, IV is Ben and Sue’s son. He is tasked to cook the meat, with instructions from Ben, III. He knows that a fire that is too hot will cook the meat too fast thus creating a tough and dry piece of meat. So the old adage, “Slow and Low” applies quite well here.
Ben's B-b-q Sauce
It has been said that what makes the Philadelphia Cheese Steak so good is the bun, not necessarily the meat or the cheese. Similarly, what makes the chicken and ribs so good is the barbeque sauce that goes on the meat.
Ben’s barbeque sauce starts with a commercial base and then is seasoned with ingredients that were selected after much trial and error. Sue’s kitchen at home was a virtual laboratory for weeks while Ben tested the recipes he and his cousin, Larry Emig, came up with. After the family taste-tested numerous sauces, a sauce was selected that the majority approved. That is the sauce that is used today at Ben’s B-B-Q.
Barbeque sauces should not be over-powering and bitter. Sauces that remain with you for hours after eating them are not the best sauces. The taste should only last during the time the food is being chewed. The consumer should be anticipating the taste of the sauce as he/she takes the next bite.
Larry’s 40 years experience in the restaurant and catering business has been a godsend to Ben’s B-B-Q. Ben, III, has worked for Larry and Barb Emig, owner of D & L Catering, for more than three years. Along the way they have offered their expertise freely to Ben. The advice they have offered cannot be measured by time or money. Ben is constantly seeking their advice and continues to learn something new each time he talks to them.
The success that has been gained to date cannot be credited to anyone associated with Ben’s B-B-Q. It has to go to the people in the Greater Susquehanna Valley who waited so patiently for us to open and now are frequenting our business on a regular basis. They are wonderful, friendly people. They constantly inquire as to how we are doing, as a parent would do who has a child in college or in the military. Their inquiries are truly sincere and genuine. You can read it in their facial features and tone of voice when they offer the questions as to how we are doing.
Those of us associated with Bens’ B-B-Q certainly recognize our success, or failure, has little to do with us. It truly depends on the people who buy our food. They will, in the end, determine if indeed we are successful. Without these people purchasing our products, we are certainly doomed to fail.
Residents of the Greater Susquehanna Valley have welcomed us with open arms. They have made us feel like we are part of their family. We sincerely feel that we have made the right choice when we selected Allenwood to open our business. Saying thank you to everyone who has purchased our products seems so trite. We are certainly indebted to them and we will continue to strive to provide a top-grade product to each and everyone who chooses to buy what we sell.
Before we thank all the people who have helped us fulfill our dream, we must first thank God for his faithfulness and steadfast love for us. He has “opened all the right doors and closed all the right windows”. Without Him we would not have our business, and we dedicate Ben’s B-B-Q to Him.