barvecue, anyone?

Central Market stores are the first to sell this buzzy vegan barbecue

Central Market stores are first to sell this buzzy vegan barbecue

Like barbecue but made from plants. Photo by Barvecue

A vegan barbecue line is making its Texas debut. Called Barvecue, it's a wood-smoked, plant-based barbecue that's launching a national rollout beginning at all 10 Central Market locations in Texas.

Central Market is the first major retailer for the Barvecue brand.

"We are excited to bring Barvecue to Texas, a state that has a deep love and tradition of barbecue," says CEO and founder Lee Cooper in a statement. "As we roll out national distribution over the rest of 2021, we are thrilled that Central Market is our first retail chain and that we can bring Barvecue to Texas just in time for summer. Barvecue for everyone!"

The selection includes:

  • Original Pulled BVQ, a handcrafted, wood-smoked delicacy with Original BVQ sauce that's considered great for the classic pulled barbecue sandwich or as a main entree.
  • Naked Chopped BVQ, a lightly seasoned, wood-smoked Chopped BVQ with no added sauce, allowing you to add your own sauce or seasoning for sandwiches, tacos, or fajitas.

It's available in packets in the frozen section at Central Market locations in Houston, Austin (two locations), Dallas (three locations), Fort Worth, Plano, San Antonio, and Southlake.

Barvecue is a mission-driven company based in Cornelius, North Carolina, that was founded in 2017 by Cooper with partners Zack Werner and Jeni Cooper.

The Coopers had been following a vegetarian diet for a number of years, and seeking out unique vegetarian fare had become a favorite pastime.

"Living in the heart of the Carolinas, finding a plant-based barbecue sandwich was at the top of our list," the couple says.

They began to observe that plant-based meat was on the rise, both for vegetarians and for meat eaters who wanted more plant-based options. And this was key: A study comparing 2020 to 2019 found that sales of plant-based meat were up by 45.3 percent and it has become a $1.4 billion business.

Sales director Randi Fossett says the line was first embraced on the West Coast and now the company is slowly expanding. Customers can also buy the products online.

The company was initially known for its vegan jerky but is now focused 100 percent on frozen retail products. It uses a protein blend that includes soybeans, wheat, and sweet potato, and is flavored with tomato, apple cider vinegar, and molasses.

"We are seeing Barvecue appeal to meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians — literally everyone," Cooper says. "Through our sauced Pulled BVQ and our lightly seasoned Naked BVQ products, we deliver great taste for barbecue lovers who are looking for a better option for their health, the planet, and, of course, animals, without sacrificing on taste or experience."