Ron's BBQ and its 'pig palaces on wheels'
By Erica Pippins
Rock Hill, S.C.
The Ron in Ron's BBQ lives for cooking in his 'pig palaces on wheels'
Nov. 24, 2001
CLOVER - With the slogan "Support Pork, Run Over a Chicken," emblazoned on the back of his red and white trailers, it's hard not to spot Ron Haynes' two mobile barbecue units at various locations throughout the county during the week.
Lively humor, fast but quality service and a hearty dose of hog heaven has kept his "pig palaces on wheels" up and running for the past 10 years.
Though he has had other businesses that were successful, including a restaurant, Haynes said creating a business that "goes to the people instead of them coming to him" has been one of his best ideas.
"We do very little advertising so I would have to say that we get most of our customers by word of mouth," Haynes said. "Somedays we get more folks than we can handle at one time."
For Haynes, the self-proclaimed "number one barbecue man," the Clover-based business, Ron's BBQ, is just a part of a his heritage. He began cooking barbecue more than 30 years ago when he played assistant chef to his father who provided the meal for various barbecue fund-raisers.
Cooking barbecue has always been a part of his life, as he continued to cater events throughout his military career and during his work as a mechanic and a landscaper.
In fact, Hayne's used his own experience as a mechanic to convert the standard horse trailers into fully functioning mobile kitchens, complete with deep fryers, refrigerators, rotisserie cookers, a sink and cabinets for storage.
Today, the business remains a family affair with Haynes nephew, Bobby Haynes, supervising the Rock Hill unit located at the BP gas station at the intersection of Celanese and India Hook roads, while he and his son, Darrell Haynes, work in the buggy that travels to Tega Cay, Lake Wylie and Charlotte.
Ron's wife is also in charge of all the fixings - cole slaw, pinto beans, onion rings and the four special barbecue sauces.
Employees made up of family members and close friends are only part of the equation that attributes to Haynes' success. He said being a hands-on manager and the fact that the meat is cooked fresh also contributes to his longevity.
The hickory-smoked barbecue is slow cooked in huge rotisserie cookers overnight and is chopped by hand on an old wooden chopping block.
"We don't have any of that new fandangled equipment. We do things the old-fashioned way," said 25-year-old Darrell Haynes, who has been working with his father since he was a tot.
The Haynes' estimates that they went through 3212 tons of pork last year. He also offers chicken and beef. One of their most popular sellers is Ron's original concoction - the pig nugget - chunks of pork deep fried in the same batter used for onion rings, which accounts for their sweet taste and crunchy texture.
"Dad was just in the kitchen one day and started to roll pieces of pork in batter and dropped them in the fryer. We let our customers try them out, and it has been a big draw ever since," Darrell Haynes said. "That Ron is one-of-a-kind."
At 58, thoughts of retirement have begun to linger in Ron Haynes' mind. He hopes Darrell will consider taking over the business, but he is not ready to relinquish his claim just yet.
"I have a lot of loyal customers and good people who keep coming back," Haynes said. "There's a lot of work involved in this, but it's fun and that's what keeps me going."
Article copyright 2001, The Herald. Reprinted with permission.