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Taste of Texas: Cosmic Cowboy brings authentic BBQ to Statesboro

Thanks to the business partnership of the entrepreneurs behind Bull and Barrel downtown, Statesboro can now get a taste of homemade, high quality Texas BBQ in a somewhat surprising locale: the old Applebee's parking lot.

In the parking lot of what was once Applebee's, a notable new culinary development has emerged, thanks to the business partnership of John Adam, Jim Peery, and Jason Franklin, the entrepreneurs behind Bull and Barrel.

Their most recent initiative, Cosmic Cowboy, a BBQ food trailer, has rapidly established a dedicated customer base and attracted considerable interest across Statesboro and surrounding areas for its authentic Texas-style BBQ. Now, just completing their first month of operations, the establishment's popularity has significantly grown, underscoring the team's consistent passion for quality BBQ.


Currently opening and selling plates Wednesday through Saturday, 11am - 2pm, or until sold out, Cosmic Cowboy offers menu items such traditional Texas brisket, chopped pork, St. Louis style ribs, halves or quarters of chicken, and traditional sides like collards, mac and cheese, and baked beans, all cooked on the smoker, and cornbread casserole, which they believe is their most unique, but surprisingly popular, side.

Cosmic Cowboy continues the tradition of homemade, high-quality offerings, a hallmark of the successful Bull and Barrel. "All our sides are made from scratch just like at Bull and Barrel," the owners state, emphasizing their commitment to authenticity. This includes importing oak from Texas to ensure the genuine smoky flavor Texas BBQ is renowned for. Their selection of Texas-sourced brisket and the use of Texas-styled smokers further establish their dedication to delivering an authentic BBQ experience. 

The establishment of Cosmic Cowboy was heavily influenced by the owners' extensive travels and their collective pursuit of quality. "All of the owners have traveled a lot. And that’s something we’re all passionate about. Finding the best quality from all of these places and bringing those things we love back home and building upon them," John Adam and Jim Peery explain.

img_2204This experience led them to focus on Texas beef BBQ, utilizing Texas's esteemed BBQ culture to introduce a unique flavor to the Statesboro market.

Two regulars, a couple named John and Kathy Bishop, have visited pretty much daily since discovering Cosmic Cowboy. “We’ve been to Texas and back, and this is definitely the best we’ve had. Can’t get brisket better than this. We always look at each other and say, ‘If you don’t eat that bite, I’m gonna.’ We finish our plates quick. But that’s okay, we know we’ll just be back again in a day or two.” Already huge supporters of the food trailer, the Bishops were there on the day of my visit, bringing friends to try out Cosmic Cowboy for the first time. 

Adam and Peery express the whole experience has simply been just fun in a different way, recalling stories of seeing people’s faces light up trying Cosmic Cowboy’s food for the first time, and seeing their reactions to something they’ve never had before, like Texas brisket. 

“When we tell them it’s just salt and pepper on the meat, they don’t believe us. We firmly believe that if you have quality piece of meat, you don’t need much to bring out the natural flavor. More ingredients doesn't necessarily make a recipe better. It’s the quality of the ingredients,” Adam shares. 


Cosmic Cowboy was envisioned as an addition to the local food scene, offering a unique perspective on BBQ. "You know there’s a lot of good BBQ in town, there’s a lot of great restaurants in town, and so we didn’t open up to just try and saturate the market, but we did feel there was a spot for us," Peery noted, proceeding to describe their comprehensive process. "I mean, we’re talking from the beginning to the end of a cook, 16-18 hours, and that’s just to produce one day of food. And so we have the dedication, we have a vision, we have great BBQ, and we’re making it from heart, and I think that’s what initially drove us to create Cosmic Cowboys."

Their meticulous planning and unwavering dedication to quality are evident. "Because of the extensive cook time, we’re planning well in advance what we need for each day;" Adam and Peery detail. The groundwork that preceded Cosmic Cowboy's launch was crucial. "We could have fast-tracked the opening of this place, but it was the dedication to quality, to creating something standout, where each thing on the menu is the best it could be, that took years of planning, menu preparation, recipe variations; there’s a lot of work that’s gone into this. We aren’t just pushing plates out the window; there’s passion put into every step of this."

The selection of the name "Cosmic Cowboy" was a stand out moment, and the owners shared the story of how the name came about. The name selection process was an arduous journey, with the team considering hundreds of options before a last-minute suggestion sealed their fate.

img_2270"The funny thing about the name is, they went through 100s of variations for the name, and couldn’t come to a conclusion, and finally we settled upon the original name, and had a brand meeting set up and everything, and an hour before, a trusted person texted us 'Cosmic Cowboy' and we just knew that was the one," they recount. "We went into the brand meeting with Pioneer Marketing, who have been amazing throughout this whole process in helping us create designs and marketing, and we presented them with the other name, and now, none of us even remember what it was supposed to be. We had pages and pages of name suggestions, but I guess it was just meant to be. It’s different, it’s memorable. It just represents us." 

Adam and Peery extend their gratitude to Pioneer Design & Marketing, the marketing team that has been instrumental throughout this process, assisting them in forging a strong brand identity and addressing the challenges of marketing with strategic insights.

Looking forward, the team is enthusiastic about potential enhancements to their setup, including expanding outdoor seating to create a more welcoming environment for their growing customer base. This careful approach to growth reflects a strategic and thoughtful consideration of quality and community engagement over rapid expansion. At this time, they do not have plans to remodel or expand within the old Applebee's building itself; they simply use the building for prep and kitchen space when needed.


Reflecting on the early success of Cosmic Cowboy, the pleasure derived from witnessing customers' reactions, especially to their Texas brisket, is highly rewarding. "It's just been a lot of fun, and seeing people's reactions to the food is the best part," Adam shares, underscoring the impact of their straightforward seasoning approach. The menu, a result of extensive collaboration and years of preparation, offers a variety of dishes designed to cater to a wide array of tastes.

"It’s just rewarding. It doesn’t feel like work. It’s never felt like a grind. It’s been a lot of hours, a lot of hard work, but interacting with the customers and seeing their enjoyment is the best part," Peery said. The team’s commitment is evident in their proactive approach and the long hours invested, with their pitmaster sometimes starting as early as 3am, ensuring that they maintain the quality and service that Cosmic Cowboys prides itself on.

As Cosmic Cowboy continues to grow and serve its community, they hope that the quality of their menu continues to be appreciated by their growing visitors, new guests and familiar faces alike. This venture is a project brought to life with dedication, skill, and a genuine desire to enhance lives through exceptional culinary experiences, and the team's primary goal is for their passion and the quality of their BBQ to shine through, inviting everyone to experience what they lovingly refer to as a labor of love.


You can find Cosmic Cowboy BBQ at 24087 US-80, Statesboro, GA 30461, in the parking lot of the former Applebee's Restaurant, in front of Lowe's. For more information, visit their website.