TAMPA, Fla. - Grilling is an art form at BJ's Alabama BBQ in South Tampa.
"My mom does what you call the old-fashioned way of cooking," explained Brandy Williams, the general manager. "She builds a fire every morning. Takes it out every night, and has been doing that for the past 49 years."
Owner April Moreno has been a pit master for more than 40 years.
"It's one of the hardest jobs, especially for a woman. Because you’ve got lifting, burns, cuts, and it’s hot. And the summertime, it's really hot."
April was 7 when she learned the craft of grilling with oak wood from her dad, John Stephen.
"No one can fill his shoes, but for some reason, I end up trying to be like him."
He started the business 53 years ago at the original location in east Tampa.
"We're basically carrying the torch. He started a dream and he had a mission and a vision and we're just seeing it through," said Brandy.
The key ingredient to their success is a simple one.
"Hard work and putting a lot of love in it and caring about what you serve," said April.
Brandy agrees. "We get a lot of people come in here who say they feel like they are at a family BBQ, and that's the feeling that we want them to have."
For April, barbecuing is a matter of pride.
"I like it when my customers give me thumbs-up and say I'm the best in Florida and all this. I like my food to look good and taste good."