A Meaty Endeavor

Scroll down

Co-owners Brad Leighninger, Derrick Melugin, Jason Roberts and Tammy Roberts are serving up some of the most-loved food while taking the country by storm with their flavorful barbecue.

The start of Gettin’ Basted and Downing Street Pour House happened by chance and with a lot of hard work.

Brad Leighninger loved cooking and worked in the food business for years before deciding to create a competitive barbecue team, called Gettin’ Basted, in 2012. It was a last-minute decision to enter the Rotary Clubs of Springfield Missouri’s annual Rock’n Ribs BBQ

Festival, but the team went home having finished seventh out of 70 teams.

They started traveling and scored their first win a few months later at the Roots’n Blues’n BBQ festival in Columbia, Missouri. They began taking home win after win and won the attention of Leighninger’s friends, Derrick Melugin and Jason Roberts. The two had a combined history of more than 50 years in the restaurant business, and they were growing tired of the corporate world. Eventually, the three sat down and developed a menu for a Gettin’ Basted food truck while Leighninger continued cooking in competitions.

Today the three co-own two restaurants, compete in barbecue competitions in half the states, and continually develop menu items and dishes that get guests salivating right as they walk in the door. Leighninger continues to travel, earn titles, and develop new dishes while Roberts and Melugin run the restaurants based in Branson and work on newly created items from a competitive setting into a restaurant.

Between competing, developing a food truck and co-owning two restaurants, Leighninger says the most challenging part of getting their system running was delivering freshly cooked meat in a ready-to-order business.

 “When we’re cooking for a competition, you’re cooking four or five racks of ribs, and you know when it’s going to be served, so being able to take that kind of food and have it ready when it’s ordered and not have the quality drop is really a significant undertaking,” Leighninger says.

Eventually, they found a way to use the Gateway Drum Smokers, a method that cooks meat quickly in hot temperatures. “Derrick and Jason have found ways to make sure our food is not sitting there,” Leighninger says. “They’ve come up with systems to allow us to have barbecue all day but still allow it to be fresh.”

With that problem solved, the team was ready to expand into brick-and-mortar territory. The Starlite Theatre’s new owner needed food experts to work its in-house restaurant and since little investment had to be made, the trio quickly set up shop and had their new business up and running in eight weeks.

The new eatery took Branson by storm and soon the owners of Ye Olde Inn asked the trio to fill its pub space. Downing Street Pour House was born.