Everybody knows Dozier’s.
What the Evans boys knew of barbequing, they learned from their grandfather and from eating at Jerry Mikeska’s BBQ in Columbus, Texas where they grew up. When they bought the market and smokehouse in Fulshear from Ed Dozier in 1985, they had no experience for running a business like this. Ed had owned and successfully run the place since 1957, and had established its reputation. “Maybe it was better that we were ignorant,” Scott says. While they did attend a few A&M classes in sausage-making, they adamantly believe that there is “nothing like hands-on experience.” Plus, they both say that they had never been afraid to jump into something new. Jump in they did. When they first took over the business, long-time customers who liked the way things had always been, would say, “Now, don’t clean it up too much.” However, there were updates that simply had to be made. Sawdust used to cover the floor of the kitchen to catch the grease, so the first step was to clean and update the equipment and the flooring. There were no cash registers to take money and give change. There were only cigar boxes—one to make change, one to hold checks, and one to pay the vendors. A cash register, to the Evans boys, was a top priority.
Presidential Bacon, Oilmen, & Celebs
Weekends were the busiest times, the Evans say. On Saturdays, people lined up to buy barbeque. Scott would usually take one weekend off, and Smedley would take off the next. Monday—their much needed day of rest—was the day Dozier’s was closed. One weekend back in the late ’80s, Smedley was running the shop. There was no backup cashier, the barbeque line was long, and the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Smedley wasn’t even sure if he’d get a bathroom break. “It was one of the busiest days I remember,” he says. Around lunchtime, with phones still ringing off the hook, Smedley picked up the call of all calls—on the other end of the line just happened to be the head cook at the White House. He informed Smedley that President George H. Bush was going to be in Houston on Monday and wanted to buy Dozier’s smoked bacon. “That’s our day off,” Smedley told the man. “We’re closed on Mondays.” He kept working the register and taking care of his customers, but he remembers a long moment of silence on the other end of the line before the man finally spoke. “Is there not something you can do to accommodate the President of the United States?”
They sold bacon many times to the President, but after that first time, they would just package it up and send it to the White House via UPS. So, was the experience of selling bacon to the President of the United States the pinnacle in marketing for the Evans boys? “I thought we’d never be able to top that,” says Smedley. However, there were other extraordinary sales, and Dozier’s reputation had spread far beyond Fulshear, Texas. About 15 years ago, the head chef at Google in Mountain View, California called to order 300 pounds of Dozier’s jerky for their corporate kitchen. The Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas planned to hold a Texas Barbeque and wanted 300 pounds of whole briskets shipped to them—hot, mind you. Scott and Smedley packaged them up in igloo containers and shipped them by Emory Air Freight. The briskets arrived in Vegas nice and hot. In their early years as owners, the Evans did quite a bit of catering, including for a horse sale in Madisonville for 10,000 people. John Connally, Dale Robertson, and celebrities of all stripes flew in by helicopter. During the three-day event at which many food vendors participated, the party ran out of chili. With entrepreneurial spirit, Scott took off for a store, bought boxes of canned chili, came back to the event and heated it up. He proudly states, “People raved about that chili.” Oil executives craving Dozier’s barbeque would often fly into Fulshear from Houston by helicopter, landing in the vacant lot across the street. Those oilmen and women also came by the carload. Dozier’s, it seems, has always had quite a reputation. Celebrities? Well, aside from the leader of the free world and corporate executives, Dozier’s has had visits from quite a few celebrities over the years—from sports figures like Bum Phillips and his Oilers, Mary Lou Retton, Hakeem Olajawon, and Clyde Drexler, to actors such as Farah Fawcett, Ben Johnson, James Drury, and even Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
Not Just Barbeque
The formula for their business works pretty well. Their employees and cooks are incredibly loyal, and many have been with them for several generations. Scott usually takes care of the market’s bookkeeping, but both Smedley and Scott can cook and cut meat. “We can do it all,” they like to say. Dozier’s sells 2,500 pounds of brisket every week. Their sauce is custom-blended and made in-house, but you might not want to wager any bets on getting the recipe out of anyone connected with the place. Secrets that tasty are meant to be held close. Dozier’s also still carries a few grocery items. It wasn’t all that long ago that Dozier’s was the only place around to buy everyday items without a long drive into Houston. Deer season starts in October and ends in February. During those five months, the Evans process 2,000 deer, making 100,000 pounds of link sausage, alone. Working six days a week and extremely long hours, they admit that “everybody here is chugging pretty hard during that time.” Dozier’s has a website, but the primary form of advertising is by word of mouth. “We’ve been blessed,” Scott says. Much work and time have gone into making Dozier’s a success, but as Scott and Smedley say, “It was all worth it.”
There was only one other American couple there that day. When they asked where we were from, we replied that we lived in “a tiny town in Texas called Fulshear.”
“Oh,” they exclaimed, “Dozier’s!” Yep. That’s just the way it is— Everybody knows Dozier’s.