This Newburgh BBQ Joint Was Voted "Best BBQ" at Food Network's NYC Wine and Food Festival
It's no wonder they've catered big gigs like the 'Suicide Squad' Premiere and the New York Air Show.
Haven’t heard of the champs? You’re probably not alone. The small, Newburgh-based operation is just entering adolescence. Handsome Devil has evolved from a seasonal food truck into a full-fledged restaurant, stockpiling accolades, and owner, Ed Randolph, isn’t afraid to reveal the secrets behind his award-winning food.
“I never say no to an opportunity,” he says. Not many people are willing to work 20-hour days, but Randolph (who works full time as an operations director at an architectural firm) rises at 5 a.m. and hits the hay at 1 a.m.
The second secret is his team. Since launching the brand five years ago, Randolph says there has been little staff turnover. “I train everyone to [eventually] do my job,” he explains. The result? His employees are responsible, creative, innovative, and — most importantly — invested in the business.
Even when daunted by certain opportunities, such as catering the premier for Suicide Squad, Randolph says his staff revels in the challenge. “I had 20 people saying, ‘Let’s do this.’”
Though small, Handsome Devil causes jaws to drop and mouths to salivate. They are the official caterer for the New York Air Show, where they serve an average of 6,000 plates per day. At the NYC Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival, his team of ten cranked out 10,000 plates in just four hours.
Randolph, who grew up the youngest of a farming family in Minisink Valley, absorbed cooking techniques from his mother and grandmother. Despite friends’ insistence, he never took the next step and cooked professionally. “My thinking was that everyone loves your food when it’s free,” he says. “When they have to start paying, it’s a different story altogether.”
Eventually, his passion for cooking won out, and Randolph spent all of 2011 developing a single rub and three barbecue sauces. Then in 2012, he rolled out his food truck.
Now, Handsome Devil has six trailers, three trucks, two smokers, and a brick and mortar restaurant on the second floor of Ice Time Sports Complex. From January to October, the crew hits the road, competing in festivals and catering events, while restaurant hours fluctuate by season. Once October arrives, the Handsome Devil team settles down in Newburgh for the winter.
In addition to pursuing his culinary enterprises full-time, Randolph dreams of expanding Handsome Devil to include a chophouse and a marketplace. His company’s name is certainly catchy enough, although he insists it’s not the product of egotism.
On his way out the door one morning, when he was still struggling to brand his barbecue, his daughter said, “Daddy, you are one handsome devil!” The compliment echoed in his head, and by the time Randolph arrived home from work that night, he had trademarked the name.
Of course, catchy doesn’t come without drawbacks. Randolph says there are always people making wisecracks when he introduces himself as the owner of Handsome Devil.
“Man, I hope you have a business partner…” is a popular retort.
Lucky for them, he has a sense of humor.
Related: Food Network Devours Newburgh BBQ