A backyard hobby becomes booming business for these barbecue buffs.


Serving up fall-off-the-bone, mouthwatering barbeque is just how Carl and Marsha Aplin roll. The couple built their first smoker from scratch on a flat-bed truck almost nine years ago, putting Carl’s years of Texas barbecuing experience to the test.

“We kind of used our family and friends as guinea pigs to do barbecues,” Marsha says. “One day, he looked at me and said, ‘I think we should open a barbecue shop.’” She soon left her day job in banking behind for brisket and baked beans. Rollin Smoke BBQ was born.

 

At first, the barbecue business was limited to catering and small events. But the business quickly grew from the flatbed food truck into a brick and mortar location on the banks of the Elk River. Rollin Smoke then added an additional truck to its fleet. Loyal customers keep up with the trucks’ whereabouts by following the restaurant on social media.

Carl learned to barbecue while growing up in southern Texas, where he owned a construction business and briefly worked in a smokehouse. Marsha is from Maryland. The couple met at the West Virginia State Fair and, impressed by the laid-back speed of West Virginia country life, moved to Clay County about 25 years ago.

In addition to the smoked brisket, pulled pork, barbecued chicken, and ribs, Rollin Smoke also serves smoked sausage links, hand-tossed pizza, specialty sandwiches, wings, and loaded baked potatoes and nachos. Customer favorites include brisket and pulled chicken tacos. And the famous made-from-scratch fixin’s include coleslaw, baked beans, red potato salad, macaroni salad, macaroni and cheese, cheesy hash brown casserole, green bean casserole, and potato wedges.

Though it’s grown physically, the business prides itself on keeping the food affordable and customers like family. “Our prices are not high,” Marsha says. “We have a friendly atmosphere, friendly employees, and all of our sides are homemade. The quality is there.

“We put a lot of TLC into our food.”

4008 Pennsylvania Avenue, Charleston, 304.437.2643, rollinsmokebbqribs.com, @rollinsmokewv

Zack Harold
Written by Zack Harold
Zack Harold is a southern West Virginia native. He covered education, health, and government at the Charleston Daily Mail before becoming the newspaper’s features editor. He joined New South Media in 2015, became managing editor of WV Living in January 2016, and took over as managing editor of Wonderful West Virginia in July 2016.