Bodacious Bar-B-Q has long been a staple for East Texans, and the loss of its founder and owner, Roland Lindsey, is a huge blow to Texas barbecue. Lindsey owned franchise locations throughout the Dallas and East Texas area.

A Young Texas Entrepreneur

When Roland was fifteen he was already cooking barbecue at his dad's cafe. When Texas Monthly interviewed him in 2015 he quoted his dad as saying, "I think you're the best barbecue man, maybe in the whole world."

Roland thought his dad was just flattering him because the pit was so hard to work with. The pit was huge and made out of brick. The lid was so heavy it needed weights as a counterbalance to raise it. It didn't have a firebox, Lindsey just threw wood in one side. Smoke was supposed to vent out one end, but instead it went everywhere.

At the time they cooked beef clods and sliced them into strips. They smothered them in "Arkansas gravy" made of sugar, salt, tomato sauce, bay leaf and Worcestershire. Roland said he cooked and did anything else he could to stay busy because his dad was a painter. "I couldn't stand to paint, so if I stayed busy I wouldn't have to paint."

Roland Lindsey's Early Success

Lindsey eventually started his own restaurant in Dallas and called it "Roland's." They didn't have a menu, just beef with homemade gravy they applied with a mop. They cooked over a pit 20 feet long and six feet deep, turning the meat with a pitchfork.

Lindsey ran Rolands until 1964 when he got married. For a little while, he toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher, but the barbecue business was what he knew and loved. In 1968 he opened "Little Roland's Bodacious Bar-B-Q." He eventually dropped the first part of the name.

Today there are around 20 Bodacious Bar-B-Q locations, with other stores buying sauces and rubs.

Where the Name Came From

Roland credited a friend with the restaurant's name. Snuffy Smith owned a newspaper near the original location. "He came up with that name," Roland said. "I fed him when he was struggling."

Bodacious Bar-B-Q locations will continue to serve barbecue made with Lindsey's recipes cooked over pits Lindsey designed himself. The colorful Texas native will forever be remembered for making some of the best brisket, sausage, turkey, hot links and ribs in the state.

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