Subscribe
The Birds Nest

Boog’s BBQ: 25 Years and Still Cookin’

The beloved first baseman’s BBQ stand has been a hit since the first Opening Day at Camden Yards in 1992.

By Ron Cassie | September 11, 2017, 2:23 pm

-USA Today
The Birds Nest

Boog’s BBQ: 25 Years and Still Cookin’

The beloved first baseman’s BBQ stand has been a hit since the first Opening Day at Camden Yards in 1992.

By Ron Cassie | September 11, 2017, 2:23 pm

-USA Today

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Boog Powell was back in the national news recently when another Boog Powell—the Oakland A’s rookie who takes his nickname from the former O’s great—paid a visit to his renowned BBQ stand before a game.

The meeting of the Boogs got us thinking it was time to catch up with the 76-year-old former MVP, who famously liked to fire up his rowhouse backyard grill behind Memorial Stadium after home games as a ballplayer. 

It’s impossible to measure the positive public relations Boog has generated for the O’s since their move to Camden Yards. As PressBox founder and publisher Stan “The Fan” Charles notes, several teams have tried to replicate the success of Boog’s BBQ, the Phillies, for example, with Greg “The Bull” Luzinski at Citizens Bank Park, but none compare to Boog’s success, which took everybody by surprise—including Boog—when he opened his stand on April 6, 1992. 


⇓ Article continues below ⇓

I guess the first question is—what did your namesake, the 24-year-old budding Oakland outfielder order when he stopped by? 
We got him a real nice pork sandwich with a little mustard BBQ sauce—he said he didn’t like horseradish—and some onions. 

Nice. He deserved it after nearly reaching the BBQ stand with his first career home run the night before. Whose idea was it to launch a BBQ stand at Camden Yards? 
My idea. I’d tried to do it years earlier at Memorial Stadium, but we couldn’t find a place that would work—that people could get to. Then, a year before Camden Yards opened, I was playing golf with Bobby Footlick, of Bond Distributing, and Hugh Gallagher, who was with Aramark, which had the concession at the ballpark. Hugh and I were celebrating our good round over some drinks when I brought it up.

The bar, where all good ideas are born.
Well, I had been running a marina in Key West and they flew me up for meeting soon enough. They said: ‘What’s it going to take to get you out of Florida?’ I threw out a number.

You already had the recipes.
I had my own ideas about how I liked BBQ sauce. They put me with Camden Yards chef Russell Szekely and we further developed my dry rub. I like it spicy and we took some of the cayenne pepper out of it [laughs]. We kept it simple at first—pork and beef. We sold out on Opening Day. We were caught off guard. It just totally exceeded everybody’s expectations. We’ve could’ve done 10 times as much business that day.

What were the initial struggles?
We were just trying to figure how to handle the lines. It was a great problem to have, but I didn’t want people waiting in lines like they did.

Has anyone come by that stands out?
We’ve had everyone from astronauts to politicians. Donald Schaefer stopped by when he was governor and we shook hands. That was memorable for me. I was a big Donald Schaefer fan. 

The main thing I do out there is to try to make people feel good about coming to the ballpark. We talk a little baseball and it never feels like work to me. The only hard part is the drive to the ballpark. I live in Grasonville. 

You were known in your playing days for firing up your backyard rowhouse barbeque—you lived near Memorial Stadium—and eating and drinking beer pretty late with some of your teammates after games. Was that the start of all this? 
Well, I’m from the South and that’s really where it all starts. But yes, I lived about five blocks from Memorial Stadium and my neighbors would occasionally complain about the noise—we might start at 11 p.m. and be outside until 2 a.m. We didn’t have to go to work in the morning, but they did [more laughter].

So, last question. What about future plans? Hopefully, you’re not retiring anytime soon.
 “I’ve got three more years on my contract. I’ll be here until then, I hope. I’ll be 80. We’ll see after that. I’ll be a free agent. I guess, I deserve that after all these years.

1970-topps-boog-powell-410-baltimore-orioles-baseball-card-ex-5-85-15-a82b559557ad771ca2748fab05d3e8eb.jpg#asset:48315





Meet The Author
Ron Cassie is a senior editor for Baltimore, where he covers the environment, education, medicine, politics, and city life


You May Also Like


In Good Taste

Atlas Owners’ Connection to Broadway Market Comes Full Circle with New Crab House

Alex and Eric Smith partner with Captain James to open seafood spot in Fells Point.

On The Town

Baltimore Rock Opera Society and The Brewer's Art Collaborate on New Beer

Chuggernaut Kolsch will be available at local liquor stores and BROS shows.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: LB Skybar; GDL Italian; Ó Flynn's

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


In Good Taste

La Calle Bringing Modern Mexican Food Downtown This Summer

Globally influenced cantina set to open inside 10 South Street building near City Hall.

On The Town

Regal Beagle Set to Open in Canton Next Week

The former Jack's Bistro space is now a casual cocktail bar.

In Good Taste

Celebrate Mother’s Day With These Brunches and Boat Rides

Give mom a break this holiday and head to one of these local restaurants.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Halfway Through Light City, Crowds Continue to Flock Downtown : Tuesday night featured performances from an area step team and Fluid Movement.

Open & Shut: Sacré Sucré Coming Soon; The Emporiyum Takes a Break; In Bloom Closes: The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

Hot Dog Race at Camden Yards Inspires a Fandom All Its Own: The Orioles production team explains the process behind the condiment race.

The Big Baltimore Playlist: April 2018: The top five local songs you should download right now.

Third Annual Rise Bmore Concert Pays Tribute to Freddie Gray: Musicians and artists gather to pay tribute to Gray and the city of Baltimore.