HOT VENTURE: Lennox Smokin' Barrel owners Kurt Bezjak and Ash Stafford have turned their passion for smoked meat into a commercial reality.
HOT VENTURE: Lennox Smokin' Barrel owners Kurt Bezjak and Ash Stafford have turned their passion for smoked meat into a commercial reality. Marc Stapelberg

How beers around the campfire led to this very cool business

Beef at the beach: Lennox Smokin' Barrel owners Kurt Bezjak and Ash Stafford have turned their passion for smoked meat into a commercial reality.

WHEN best friends and neighbours Kurt Bezjak and Ash Stafford were enjoying a few beers around a campfire, they came up with the idea to turn their passion into a career.

And so Lennox Smokin' Barrel, a mobile smoking trailer serving American-style barbecue and smoked cuisine, was born.

"We found ourselves cooking and smoking all the time, on weekends or barbecuing for the family," Mr Bezjak said. "Most of our free time was spent cooking and we both love doing it, so we thought we'd take a big risk and quit our day jobs to start our own business."

Mr Bezjak was a council worker, while Mr Stafford worked in construction, so moving into running their own business was a "challenge" for the pair.

"There were several fiery hoops we had to jump through, especially for compliance and food safety," Mr Bezjak said. "But once we got over all of that, it was all worth it."

Lennox Smokin' Barrel can be found at Sharpes Beach, Lennox Head, from Wednesday to Sunday, 6.30am to 2pm.

Mr Bezjak said business was slow and a "bit of a struggle to start with", but after five months of operation, it "seems to be getting more and more popular as days go by".

Some of the hearty options on offer include beef and pork barbecued ribs, pulled pork, jerk-rubbed chicken and the pair's popular smoked bacon.

All of the sauces and rubs used by Lennox Smokin' Barrel are home-made and Mr Bezjak said he and Mr Stafford were smoking practically all day and night to keep up with demand, using an average of 300kg of beef, pork and chicken each week.