Newest food truck serves as method to build brand for dry rub

June 20, 2018

Three friends from high school have started a barbecue food truck based as a showcase for the dry rub one of them created.

Jekyll & Hyde Barbeque made its debut at PorkPalooza earlier this month. It’s owned by Garrett Gross, Nick Verzani and Mark Hauser, who went to school together in Mitchell more than 20 years ago.

Verzani is the creator of the dry rub, which is “a little bit sweet and a little bit of spicy,” Gross said. That’s where the Jekyll & Hyde name comes into play. “It’s good on everything, but it’s really good on pork.”

A random encounter sparked the business. Gross, who lives in Sioux Falls, and Verzani, who lives in Tripp, ran into each other about a year and a half ago on the street in Parkston. They hadn’t seen other since high school and had the typical “let’s keep in touch” conversation, Gross said. Soon after that, though, Verzani reached out to Gross, who owns AGE Media & Promotion, for help with marketing the dry rub, which he had been cooking with for years.

After tasting it, “I knew we were on to something,” Gross said.

To make the product successful, he knew they’d have to build the brand so that shoppers would have a reason to pick it over the competition. They learned the former Royal BBQ trailer was for sale and decided to create a customer base by having people discover the dry rub through the food.

They’ve already talked to co-packers, and eventually they’ll start producing the dry rub for retail sales, Gross said.

For now, the focus is on the barbecue, which includes ribs, brisket, pulled pork and Schmeckfest pork sausage. The menu also features basic side dishes such as coleslaw, baked beans and corn.

Jekyll & Hyde won a rib contest last weekend in Tripp and is starting to build a schedule with events and catering. The three partners have full-time jobs, and Hauser lives in Chicago, so the trailer won’t be out every day of the week.

Gross said Jekyll & Hyde likely will be in the area of the 8th & Railroad Center downtown on Friday and Saturday nights. They plan to keep their Facebook page updated with locations.

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Newest food truck serves as method to build brand for dry rub

The newest food truck in the area, Jekyll & Hyde Barbecue, is owned by three friends from high school.

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