Phillip Nevins wanted to open a genuine smoked BBQ restaurant. The first location was in Stephenville, Texas.
When it opened in 2003, Hard Eight BBQ cooked Hill Country-style of barbecue, in which mesquite (or sometimes oak) is burned down to coals that are then shoveled into a pit directly below the meat.
Wood smoke doesn’t bathe the meat, however, they use the indirect-heat method; rather, fat drips off of the meat directly onto the coals, vaporizing the liquid and creating a flavorful smoke of its own.
Today, Hard Eight BBQ has 6 locations around the state of Texas. It is not uncommon to wait more than an hour to be seated, the restaurants have become that popular.
The company specializes in all types of BBQ meat, including ribs, chicken, brisket, pork chops, and rib-eye steaks.
In April 2022, Hard Eight BBQ was accused of failing to pay its staff the tips and overtime wages. The US Department of Labor charged the company with returning $867,257 to its 910 employees.
The company also stated that it was having a difficult time finding and retaining workers, which may have resulted in a partial mixup of tips paid.
Hard Eight BBQ maintains a corporate office in Stephenville, Texas.