Dampf Good BBQ

Folks queue up early for BBQ at this smokin’ good outpost.
Folks queue up early for BBQ at this smokin’ good outpost.
Fork-tender proteins and lip-smacking-good sides await every guest.
Fork-tender proteins and lip-smacking-good sides await every guest.
Perry Ward ensures the meaty provisions are on point.
Perry Ward ensures the meaty provisions are on point.
Oak wood provides the perfect fuel source for the fire.
Oak wood provides the perfect fuel source for the fire.
Elote, commonly called Mexican corn, is among the most popular side items.
Elote, commonly called Mexican corn, is among the most popular side items.

Good news, friend: You don’t have to leave Cary to find first-rate beef brisket and other delectable smoked goodness. That’s because three days each week, brothers Nick and Bryce Dampf sling Texas-style provisions from a 32-foot trailer situated in family-friendly Phillips Farms. They’re cooking onsite the proper way: low and slow at 250 degrees for 14 hours.

You’d be hard-pressed to find two guys more down to earth than the Dampf brothers, who grew up in Missouri but also lived in Texas for several years. Although they were young at the time, Bryce and Nick developed an affinity for brisket and other beloved fare from the Lone Star State.

Years later, once Nick was married, his wife bought him an inexpensive offset cooker at Home Depot.

“Bryce and I started experimenting in the backyard,” Nick said. “After smoking our first brisket and having it turn out well, we caught the barbecue bug.”

Brothers Nick (left) and Bryce Dampf

Eventually both brothers moved to North Carolina and started doing “random pop-ups” in 2021 to develop a following. Word spread quickly about their slow-smoking prowess, ultimately landing their cleverly named outpost long-term residency at Phillips Farm.

“Barbecue brings people together and makes them happy,” Bryce said with a smile following a recent Friday afternoon lunch service. “Our mission involves glorifying God and giving people the best experience possible.”

“We want to be sure we treat people right and make them feel at home here,” Nick added. “We also want to share our faith with people in the community.”

The best-selling brisket is as flavorful as you’ll find anywhere. Need proof? Just ask barbecue enthusiast Heath Clayton, a Cary native who visited Dampf Good BBQ for lunch with longtime friend Mark Zimmerman. The two men travel around the state enjoying all the best haunts.

“The brisket is tender and juicy, and the dry rub they pre-season with is spot-on,” Clayton said with authority.

“Whenever I come somewhere like this, I don’t get any sides because that’s just filler to me,” Zimmerman added while noshing on a mound of mixed proteins.

In addition to brisket, the Dampf brothers and their hardworking crew serve up succulent beef and pork spareribs, pulled pork, turkey breast, house-made sausage, and bacon brisket, which is essentially sliced pork belly.

“The turkey is a sleeper on the menu,” Bryce revealed. “It’s subtle and juicy.”

A zesty, all-beef Texas Jack sausage contains ghost pepper and habanero cheese, while a jalapeño-imbued version involves a pork and beef blend filled with Muenster cheese.

According to Nick and Bryce, the secret to the flavor and moistness of the meats is simply salt, pepper, and smoke. Of course, the high-capacity Primitive Pit and Cen-Tex offset smokers fueled by mostly white (and some red) oak add to the eatery’s bona fide credentials.

“Attention to detail is important to us, and we work hard to put out consistently good food,” said Nick, who formerly worked in the tech sector with Cisco. “Everything we do has intentionality behind it.”

In the mood for a sandwich that veers off the path from the rest of the menu? Try the extraordinary Chicago Italian beef served au jus on an Italian roll. Nick explained that he spent much of his life in the Windy City, so this sandwich is a nod to the classic delicacy found there.

All the scratch-made side items are worthy of consideration. Choose from loaded mashed potato salad and smoked bacon Brussels sprouts to butcher block beans and creamy coleslaw. Fire-roasted vegetables and smoked mac & cheese also are on point.

“All the sides are popular, but the two that are taking the lead nowadays are the Brussels and the mashed potato salad,” said Bryce, a commercial electrician in his previous vocation. “We recently added elote (Mexican street corn), which has a sweet tanginess and crisp freshness.”

Even ancillary items like pickled onions and bread-and-butter pickles don’t disappoint. And don’t miss the perfectly sweet and tangy specialty sauce served with your meal.

Bryce Dampf engages with a guest.

Daily specials include a pastrami Reuben on Thursdays, a half-pound brisket burger on Fridays, and brisket tacos on scratch-made tortillas on Saturdays.

A family-style feast comprises all meats plus four pints of sides and feeds six to eight people.

Be sure to wash everything down with a fire-brewed Sprecher root beer infused with raw Wisconsin honey.

“We believe craft sodas pair well with our food,” Bryce said. “We also have cream soda, cherry cola, and sweet tea.”

Dampf Good BBQ is open Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. until sold out and Saturday from 10:45 a.m. until the food is gone. Service is fast-casual (just line up and order at the left window), and al fresco seating takes place on wooden picnic tables. Online ordering and catering services are available.

Whenever you go, you’re sure to see Nick or Bryce making the rounds and asking guests how they are enjoying the food.

Don’t hesitate to request a pit tour to see where all the magic happens.

“A lot of love and commitment goes into what we do,” Bryce said.


1 Comment

  • Mark Zimmerman says:

    Excellent job David! I enjoyed your great review. It’s Dampf good BBQ over there in Carpenter. Pleasure meeting you and your photographer. I look forward to your next review and will remain on the lookout for the next great area BBQ!

    Mark Zimmerman

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