BBQ trailer is trademark at local festivals
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CLINT'S BBQ MENU
12-inch corndog - $5
Trash Can Taters - $4, loaded $5
Cheeseburger - $5
Sliced or chopped brisket - $5
Pulled pork - $5
Sausage on a stick with pickle and bun - $5
Ice cold tea - ...
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Fifty-two weekends a year, Clint Maddox parks his red vinyl-sided BBQ trailer on festival grounds. If there's an event within a 250-mile radius of Victoria, Maddox is there, selling his popular barbecue sandwiches, sliced brisket, sausage on a stick and trash can taters.
"More or less, Clint's BBQ is a landmark at Victoria events," Maddox said. "Everybody knows about the South Texas redneck nachos."
The redneck nachos, as Maddox refers to them, are a Clint's BBQ trademark, known by their official name as trash can taters.
Using a Black & Decker hand drill and a commercial grade electronic slicer, Maddox grinds raw potatoes into spirals before deep frying them and drizzling melted cheese, chili and jalapeno peppers on top.
"Go get in line, and taste one of them taters," the 56-year-old Maddox shouted in a charming southern accent to a customer at Riverside Park's Cinco de Mayo festival.
As Maddox prepares for the Saturday event, slicing chopped pork, grilling burgers, warming buns and frying up crisp trash can taters, he reflects on the life he knew nine years ago, when his life looked a little more ordinary.
Shouting over the booming country music blasting from the main stage just north of his trailer, Maddox said, "Before this, I was a mechanic for 20 years and made a really good living. I had a real good life and drove a nice car. But I started doing the trailer on the weekends, on the side, and I just loved it."
Realizing the financial potential of owning a mobile trailer kitchen, and the excitement of attending festivals every weekend, Maddox decided to exit his mechanic career and follow his BBQ kitchen dream.
"I gave it all up to do this trailer," he said. "But oh yes, it's a very profitable business."
And after nine years of working countless shows, too many, in fact, for Maddox to recall a number, the bright red Clint's BBQ trailer attracts a devoted following of tater lovers.
"Every time I see him at a show (the trash can taters) are what my kids come asking for," Victoria resident Chastity Lankford said. "Sometimes we get hamburgers, but we'll always get the taters, sometimes more than once in the same day. We like 'em loaded."
Maddox admits fans of Clint's BBQ trailer are made up equally of returning customers, as well as new patrons who frequent area festivals. And to encourage return guests, Maddox often treats guests to the occasional free sample and even the occasional festival food freebie.
"He gives more food away than he sells," longtime Clint's BBQ employee Brittney Autry, 21, said laughing, watching Maddox hand over an order of taters to a favorite customer.
"It's important to me to have good relationships with my clients," Maddox responded.
Maddox attempted several years ago to expand the trailer business to a full-time restaurant, opening Clint's South Texas BBQ on Navarro Street in Victoria. But when he struggled to manage them both at the same time, he decided to close the restaurant.
"I couldn't do them both, I didn't have the time and I had to pick one. I liked the trailer business more, so I kept going with it," he said.
And Maddox does indeed intend to keep going with his trailer, having no plans in the near future to stop serving or selling his famous BBQ or beloved trash can taters at South Texas festivals.
"The taters have been my heartbeat all this time," Maddox said, smiling. "Maybe I'll croak cookin' them taters."