Savoring the family flavor at Mahons Real BBQ

3.4 min read| Published On: April 1st, 2024|

By Amanda Valderrama

Savoring the family flavor at Mahons Real BBQ

3.4 min read| Published On: April 1st, 2024|

Smokin’ success

For a little more than a year, family-owned Mahons Real BBQ has occupied a small, bright blue building in Groveland fronted by a sign advertising $5 dinners ($6.00 at time of this article) and boiled peanuts.

Mahons, however, started on wheels.

Becky and Danny Mahon first began serving their BBQ from a food truck in 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic.

At first, no one could operate a food truck in Groveland until a state of emergency was declared. When it was, city officials called the Mahons asking them to set up their truck in the city.

So for three years, Becky and Danny built relationships and a following with locals who visited their truck. And after the emergency order was lifted, the Mahons bought the building they’re in today and four months later, Mahons BBQ became a brick-and-mortar establishment.

Danny started cooking BBQ when the family owned a hunting supply business. Instead of going out to eat for lunch, he would cook hamburgers and ribs behind the store. Hunters who visited would often ask him to cook for them. Word spread and people began stopping to ask the cost of a slab of Danny’s ribs.

“We realized we were in the wrong business, so we switched,” Becky says.

The Mahons have also made charity a priority at their restaurant.

Every Sunday, 6-8pm, Mahons gives away free chicken to needy families.

“Someone comes in and we ask them how many they need or how many are in their family, and we give them that,” Becky says. “We advertise and spread the word around our town and on Facebook as much as we can.”

The Sampler

a large helping of ribs, chicken, riblets, brisket and pork along with two sides. 

I recently went to Mahons for a meal with my boyfriend, Hunter Rhoades. 

Once we stepped inside, the sound of the busy traffic from West Broad Street in Groveland washed away. I immediately felt like I walked into a genuine southern family kitchen. There are a few small wooden tables to the left surrounded by a variety of farmhouse décor. Each table had its own sweet and spicy barbecue sauce bottle and a necessity for eating barbecue — a paper towel roll. 

Hunter and I made our way to the register to place our order where we were offered a sample of burnt ends that were quite scrumptious. 

The staff was incredibly friendly and attentive, with a very family orientated feel to their work ethic. As I waited for my food, I watched as Danny made his way in and out the back door, hard at work smoking meat for customers. He starts this process as early as 4am and continues throughout business hours until 8pm.

It was a few minutes after ordering that a line of patrons waiting to place their takeout orders began to form. 

I got the pulled pork sandwich with mac and cheese and barbecue beans along with a home brewed sweet tea. Hunter ordered the sampler: a large helping of ribs, chicken, riblets, brisket and pork. His two sides were cornbread and potato salad. The pork was very tender, and the soft, oversized sandwich bun was big enough to hold the heaping portion of meat. The pork alone was outstanding with the right amount of seasoning. The meat delivered the flavor all by itself. 

As for Mahons’ homemade barbecue sauce, man oh man, I truly feel it is the best I’ve ever had. It has the right ratio of sweet and tangy flavors. 

Pulled Pork Sandwich

tender and soft pulled pork on an oversized bun topped with homemade barbecue sauce  and two sides.
(pictured: mac and cheese and baked beans)

When I asked if it was possible to buy a bottle, I wasn’t surprised to hear that they were sold out for the day. As I suspected, I’m not the only one enamored with Becky’s super-secret BBQ sauce. When I asked for the ingredients, she politely declined, declaring: “It’s a secret.”

The meat is clearly the star of the show, but the sides are more than worthy of the spotlight. The beans are tossed in a thick, mild barbecue sauce with shredded pork mixed in. After each bite of my pork sandwich, a spoonful of beans really enhanced the taste. The beans had just the right amount of sauce, which paired well with the additional barbecue sauce loaded onto my sandwich. The mac and cheese is a mixture of penne, elbow and shell pasta tossed in a gooey, savory cheese sauce. I managed to sneak a couple bites of Hunter’s thickly sliced cornbread, which was deliciously dense but also airy enough to create a nice crumble. 

Both Hunter and I agreed that the brisket was mouthwatering and, along with the ribs, pulled apart so easily. The entire sampler platter truly showed off both Mahons’ quality and quantity. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and had plenty of leftovers to devour later. My only regret is not having ordered the banana pudding. 

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About the Author: Amanda Valderrama

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