Q&A with Mike Gomez of Gomez BBQJune 21, 2018
We took some time to sit down with Gomez BBQ owner/founder Mike Gomez to talk about his background, his business, and the future of "Indiana BBQ"!
-What’s your background?
I was born in Miami, Florida, moved to Indiana when I was six, and graduated high school from Brebeuf Jesuit. I went to college at IU-Bloomington where I received degrees in history and criminal justice. After that I went to University of Dayton School of Law where I received my juris doctorate. Throughout all this time I cooked with my family, friends, and tried foods all over the world. I cooked paella in Venezuela, I shucked oysters in Boston, I caught sea urchin and escargot in Italy, and had some mean gumbo and creole food in New Orleans.
-How did you get into smoking meat? From whom did you learn the craft?
In law school we had hog roasts after finals. It became something I started doing every weekend to everyday, untill all of a sudden it became my business.
-Why did you pursue smoking instead of a law career?
It kind of happened because it was hard finding a job at the time. I started catering and bartending, working security and such. After a while the catering gigs got bigger and bigger and I had to make a choice. So I went for it we’ll see if [barbecue] pans out. I do use my legal background with my business and it helps when people don’t know you have that in your back pocket because it’s great to see their reaction when they realize I have more than just cooking skills.
-What is different about your BBQ compared with Kansas City BBQ, Texas BBQ, or other American styles of BBQ?
[From the Gomez BBQ website] We are proud of our home, and we are doing our part to bring excellent barbecue to the city. Gomez BBQ is Indianapolis barbecue. We want to serve you the very best barbecue, and we have a variety of sauces, ingredients, and preparation methods that will satisfy the tastes of any barbecue aficionado. With local meats, meticulous craftsmanship, and dedicated service, we work hard to define the barbecue of this exceptional city.
-Where do you source your meat from, and why? What’s special/different about them?
We source our pork from Indiana Packer, an Indiana pork distributor. It’s important we use Indiana pork since we are one of the largest pork producing states in the country. It would be a shame to not use Indiana pork in a restaurant in Indiana. We work with Kincaid’s butcher shop with special cuts of meat and our sausages. They use the highest quality meat and have the best cuts in the city.
-You get your buns from Circle City Sweets/Boulangerie; what’s nice about working with another City Market merchant in such a capacity?
For one it’s nice to work with your neighbors, but also their bread is amazing. Why would you go outside the market when quality is right there?
-You do more than just smoke meat; from smoked cookies, smoked bar mix, and smoked ice cream; what’s fun/special about your varying smoked products? What other smoked products do you want to try and make?
It’s fun to find things that smoke works with since it’s a flavor component that is used typically with meat. It’s fun to find those things you wouldn’t expect to work. I’d like to smoke fruit to see how that goes; I’ve tried watermelon and it ended up tasting like fish so we’re going to keep that going until it works or find out it doesn’t.
-What’s next for Gomez BBQ?
We’ve been approached by a few people to start a second location. I’d like to branch out with the right partner like a brewery or cidery, but a stand-alone spot is another goal. I’m interested in getting a place where steaks could be on the menu. I’ve been playing with bone-in ribeyes from Kincaid’s which I find to be beyond tasty.
You can enjoy Gomez BBQ in the Indy City Market on Mondays-Fridays from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Saturdays 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.