One Pitmaster Contemplates Continuing to Chase His Barbecue Dreams in a Tough Industry

Derek Degenhardt of North Texas Smoke in Decatur.There was $47 left in North Texas Smoke’s bank account after owner Derek Degenhardt paid for the last food delivery. If the joint sells all of that food within the next two weeks, Degenhardt can keep living his barbecue dream in Decatur, a town northwest of Fort Worth. Degenhardt opened his North Texas Smoke truck in a gravel lot next to a car dealership in January after several months of pop-ups. He’s still out $5,000 from the down payment on a smoker he expected months ago but still isn’t complete. He’s borrowing one from a friend who just had to put his weekend barbecue business on hiatus. “I’ve been through some really hard things in my life,” said Degenhardt, an Army veteran, “but it’s different…

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