Helberg Barbecue: A Thriving BBQ Joint with a Story of Perseverance and Growth

Helberg Barbecue is now a renowned and popular establishment, delighting customers with its mouth-watering Central Texas-Style Barbecue. But the journey to its current success was not an easy one for its founders, Phillip and Yvette Helberg. Let’s take a look at their inspiring story.

Established in 2017 in Southern California by the husband and wife team, Phillip and Yvette Helberg began their barbecue adventure with passion and determination. Phillip, a native Texan, was obsessed with mastering Central Texas-Style Barbecue, and after numerous road trips exploring Texas for the perfect city to grow their business and family, they relocated to Phillip’s home state. In April 2018, just three months after settling on their ranch in Crawford, the Helberg Barbecue food trailer opened its doors.

The couple faced several challenges in their first year, including Yvette’s pregnancy with their first child, Wayne, which prevented her from working in the food trailer during the hot Texas summer. With no established network in the greater Waco area, attracting customers was a struggle, and there were days when they barely served two briskets. However, a visit from Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn marked a turning point for the business.

In May 2019, Helberg Barbecue was named one of the “Top 25 Best New BBQ Joints in Texas” by Texas Monthly Magazine—an incredible feat considering they had only been open for a year. Soon after, the team expanded to 12 employees and opened a restaurant on State Hwy 6 just outside of Waco. Their challenges were far from over, though, as the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow to the restaurant industry.

Despite the uncertain future, Phillip and Yvette’s unwavering faith, entrepreneurial spirit, and a loyal customer base allowed Helberg Barbecue to not only survive but thrive during the pandemic. As the lockdowns eased, the business gained momentum and continued to expand. The crowning achievement came when they were named to the prestigious 2021 Texas Monthly Top 50 list, cementing their position among the best BBQ joints in the state.

Today, Helberg Barbecue stands as a testament to perseverance and growth. The couple’s dedication to their craft and their strong partnerships with employees and the local community have made it a beloved destination for BBQ enthusiasts. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the amazing culinary creations at this little BBQ joint!

Images by Helberg Barbecue