The oldest town in Texas is serving a bold, original flavor with the help of pitmaster Brendyn Todd ’13, owner of Nacogdoches’ first food truck, Brendyn’s BBQ.

Breathing new life into barbecue favorites, Todd partners with local businesses to couple food sourced from quality ingredients with attentive customer service for an unforgettable experience. And with two mentions in Texas Monthly in less than two years, it’s clear people are taking notice.

“I didn’t realize how much I loved barbecue until I found it,” Todd said. “I was definitely born for it.”

The Beginning

Todd has always had a passion for the barbecue pit but was working full time at Chick-fil-A toward ownership after graduating from SFA with a degree in communication and a minor in business communication. A career change hadn’t crossed his mind until he visited Franklin Barbecue in Austin where his desire to tap into “crazy barbecue culture” was born, he said.

“There were 400-plus people in line, but the guy cutting the meat for me was treating me like I was the only customer in the whole restaurant, and I loved that,” he said.

This attention to detail, despite the large daily crowds the business catered to, impressed Todd and sparked an idea.

“I could still have that Chick-fil-A friendly atmosphere and culture, but I could do it with a product that was my own and original,” Todd said. “That’s what I was more passionate about.”

Deciding to try it out, Todd took catering jobs while continuing to work at the restaurant, funneling any profits back into his business to buy equipment. After catering for a few years, his popularity grew until it became difficult to keep up with both jobs. Todd went to work at Chick-fil-A at 6 a.m., worked a 10-hour shift and then headed straight to the barbecue pit — only to start over again the next day.

“I was working 18- or 20-hour days,” Todd said. “It was tough, but it was just part of it.”

Brendyn’s BBQ

When Todd heard Nacogdoches’ ordinance regulating food trucks was going to be revised, he bought a truck and prepared to open, leaving Chick-fil-A to focus full time on his business.

“The night before we opened, I was driving home and started crying. I thought, ‘Tomorrow’s the first day of my dream job becoming a reality,’” he said. “So, I just cried like a baby in my truck, and then I went to work.”

His first day of operation was a cold, rainy January afternoon, but even with the adverse weather conditions, he sold out in less than two hours — a trend that continued for the next few weeks.

“That just reminded us how much we loved Nacogdoches because Nacogdoches was there for us on our very first day, and it’s been there ever since,” Todd said.

Brendyn’s BBQ serves a variety of options, from entrees of brisket, ribs and chicken to sides of jalapeño creamed corn and potato salad. To round out the meal, he offers a smoked lava cake for dessert and peach Coca-Cola. The food truck parks at downtown locations that include Red House Winery and Fredonia Brewery.

Todd’s specials include the Ramsey, a brisket and sausage sandwich with slaw and sweet sauce; the Garebear, a sandwich piled with brisket, pork and sausage; and the Pig Apple, a pork sandwich with slaw and green apples on top of a brioche bun, featured in Texas Monthly as one of the Best Texas BBQ Bites of 2018.

Additionally, Brendyn’s BBQ has received recognition at various local competitions, voted Best Barbecue, Best Ribs and Best Food Truck by The Daily Sentinel’s Best of Nacogdoches and Best Entrée at Taste of Nacogdoches.

While Todd says he doesn’t have a favorite menu item, he has a special liking for the brisket, sourced locally from Garrison and rubbed with salt, pepper and coffee grounds from local gourmet coffee roaster Nine Flags Coffee Roasters.

“It’s like asking me which of my kids I love the most,” he said. “But if I had to give respect to any one thing, it would be the brisket. I feel like it encompasses all of Nacogdoches.”

Planning for the future

Though Todd’s first love will always be the food truck, he’s looking ahead to what’s next and planning to open a restaurant in conjunction with the truck.

“I celebrated my first anniversary this year, and now I’m looking at restaurant space,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to be doing that for five years. We’re blessed.”

In the meantime, he’s focusing on creating a “legacy through opportunity and loyalty” and continuing to partner with local businesses to offer the food he’s passionate about.

“I would love for a billboard to read, ‘Lumberjacks Make Great Pitmasters,’” Todd said. “That’s my next goal.”