Barbecue on the Go

November 1, 2019, 8:00 AM HST (Updated November 1, 2019, 7:44 AM)
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  • Sample plate from Ohana Q. (PC: Karen Rose)
  • Pasta menu from Ohana Q. (PC: Karen Rose)
  • BBQ menu from Ohana Q. (PC: Karen Rose)
  • Baked beans from Ohana Q. (PC: Karen Rose)
  • SWIPE LEFT OR RIGHT
    • Sample plate from Ohana Q. (PC: Karen Rose)
    • Pasta menu from Ohana Q. (PC: Karen Rose)
    • BBQ menu from Ohana Q. (PC: Karen Rose)
    • Baked beans from Ohana Q. (PC: Karen Rose)

Barbecue has become increasingly popular in Kona the past couple of years, and one couple from Washington is jumping on the BBQ bandwagon – or food truck.

Richard Rice and Heidi Miller moved to Kona from Seattle over a year ago. After opening Ohana Q in December of 2018, they have garnered a regular following of local meat lovers.

“My wife and I are transplants from Seattle,” Rice said. “We moved here in July of 2018, but have been visiting the Big Island for about eight years. On our second visit, when we were at the airport to go home, my wife began crying because she didn’t want to leave. So, on the way home, we decided to do whatever we needed to make things happen so we could move here.”

When the couple first relocated to Kona, there wasn’t many barbecue places to choose from. Because they wanted to offer something different, they decided to start a barbecue business. Nine months later, they are now serving up delicious grub at Aliʻi Garden Marketplace.

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“Now there are barbecue places popping up all over the place,” said Rice. “Fortunately, the locals have really enjoyed what we have to offer. I feel like our barbecue is the closest thing you’re going to find to Texas style barbecue. We don’t sauce the meat. We do simple rubs on the pork and the brisket, and the same with the ribs when we have them. We cook the meat low and slow, for about 12 to 14 hours. Our belief is, ‘If you’re putting sauce on the meat, you’re trying to hid something.’”

Rice managed an Italian restaurant in Seattle. His experience with Italian food inspired him to add pasta dishes to his food truck menu, making his meal offerings unique among local barbeque spots.

“We serve pasta dishes, to offer something a little bit different,” he said. “I mean, a barbecue truck with pasta coming out of it as well, is kind of unusual. We just enjoy making good food, for people who enjoy eating it.”

In addition to being here at the Aliʻi Farmer’s Market, Ohana Q is parked at Lowe’s on Sundays.

“We usually have a lot of regulars there on Sundays,” said Rice. “A lot of locals like to visit us for our pork belly candy. It’s basically thick chunks of bacon in a honeyed sauce, but we still smoke the meat. People love it.”

Visit Ohana Q at Aliʻi Marketplace Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or at Lowe’s Home Improvement on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are closed on Mondays.

Karen Rose
Karen Rose is a writer and journalist living on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel, arts and entertainment. She never met a food she didn't like—except black licorice.
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