WAXAHACHIE

Matt Pittman’s meat legacy began on Easter weekend when he and his pit crew first debuted on the TLC reality TV show, “BBQ Pitmasters.”

Five years later, he commemorated his barbeque beginnings by opening his first-ever brick-and-mortar storefront next to the Vault Smokehouse on the downtown square in Waxahachie.

“We officially turned five years old,” Pittman expressed. "It doesn’t feel like that. It was never the intention to be a big business for five years.”

Meat Church first launched in April 2014 as an online store, which at the time was only stocked with a few seasonings, two styles of hats and two shirts.

“That was what we wore on the show,” Pittman explained. “That was all we had.”

Five years later, the business has grown to sell to over 80 different styles shirts and hats, BBQ kits and rubs sold both online and in its new storefront, which first opened to the public two weeks ago.

While the store also sells BBQ sauces, grills and different cuts of meat from the E3 Meat Company in Kansas, Pittman stated that their best-selling item is hands-down the house BBQ rubs. Its best-selling item is Honey Hog BBQ Rub, which is made from honey powder, paprika, dehydrated garlic and celery.

They also sell BBQ butter, which is combined with meat seasonings to serve as an excellent finish for different types of meat.

“Most of the time, people are going to come here for our seasonings,” his son, Christian, stated. “We’ve got everything from our steak rub to all-purpose chicken, all the way down to Honey Bacon BBQ. That one smells like Lays BBQ Chips.”

But in the back of the store, Matt still operates his online business as he usually does, posting recipes and rubs to Instagram next to a stack of boxes of Meat Church spices to keep him company.

Online and in-person, Matt’s business keeps him hopping.

“This is like my playground,” Matt expressed. “This is the stuff I use and I believe in, and I want it to be the one place you can go to get everything to need run your own playground. There’s a story to be told in the entire store.”

Matt explained that he wanted the store to have an older, rustic feel to it – like the grill that you use to sear meat on. Matt explained that many of the wood paneling and the tables of the store are from the 1930s or 50s – which, as he pointed out, was much older than he was.

“We’re trying to make it old, unique have an antique feel to it,” Pittman remarked. “I want you to walk in and feel like an old hardware store.”

Pittman stated that the public has responded well to his store’s opening so far.

As far as where he wants the store to go next, he said he wants to public to dictate that. He said he’s going to expand the shirt racks that are available on the walls and plans to expand the space on his spice and sauce aisle as well.

“I left my corporate career of 21 years in December all because I like to cook, and I love showing you how to cook,” he expressed. “All this is is ‘I cook, and this is what I use.’ It resonated with people and they started buying it.”

“It’s my passion,” he iterated. “It’s like my reality TV.”

The store is open 11 a.m.-6: 30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m.-5p.m. Saturdays. Visit the store at 205 South College Street or go online at www.meatchurch.com

Editor's note: To check out five "secret" Meat Church recipes provided by Matt Pittman, check out the April issue of Southern Draw magazine. The magazine is available at the Waxahachie Daily Light office.