As a Texan born and raised, I have had my fair share of BBQ. Like Tex Mex, barbecue is one of those cuisines that I am a snob about, even if I hate to admit it. I was surrounded by barbecue all the time for two and a half years when I worked in a barbecue restaurant. I learned to love peach cobbler and that a fresh piece of bread really is the best part of a meal. My time in that restaurant taught me more than I ever thought there was to know about brisket, chicken, and ribs, and especially these 5 key things. 

1. BBQ meals are more expensive than people think.

"I'm sorry sir/ma'am, but the price of food has gone up so we have had to raise our prices. I'm sorry for any inconvenience." This message was taped to the bottom of the cash register, and let me tell you, I had my fair share of complaints about our prices. Especially with the rib dinner.  Yes, the rib dinner is expensive, but you get unlimited sides, so it's actually an excellent deal. High-quality ribs, brisket, or pork is not cheap. Also, surprise, I don't set the prices!

2. Anyone who doesn't completely slather their meat with sauce is crazy.

Eating barbecue without barbecue sauce is like Tim Riggins without a beer: it might not be the healthiest option in the world, but it just doesn't look right without it. Luckily, the sauce tastes good on all of the sides, so don't worry about the cole slaw touching the meat.

3. You know exactly who the regulars are and what they will order.

In the case of my restaurant, our Sunday morning crowd was pretty consistent. I knew who was going to order what and when we didn't see a family or a couple for a week, we all wondered what was going on with them. They usually gave us a reason the next week: they were out of town, their kids were visiting, there was a church event. then everything was right again. We all came to love them and their (mostly) friendly faces week after week.

4. You'd better have some extra sweet tea in the back.

The first thing you will run out of will be the sweet tea, so you'd better be prepared to run to the back for more. As the stereotypical drink of the South, barbecue restaurants are always stocked with sweet tea and it is a favorite of the customers. Good barbecue = good sweet tea.

5. Your restaurant's barbecue sauce is the bomb. Period.

Even after almost three years, I still think the barbecue sauce my restaurant made in-house is the best. I may have gotten tired of the food while I was there, and I may have smelled like barbecue for two years straight, but that sauce never got old. I will always bring it up in all conversations about barbecue sauce, regardless of if the people have had it or not, because it's a game-changer. Y'all come back now, ya hear?!