Elmers Texas Barbeque
27896 State Highway 78, Battle Lake, MN, United States
History of Elmers
Bj and Elmer Neumann are the founders of Elmer's Texas Barbeque. They relocated to Minnesota from Texas some years ago and it's a pretty interestin' story!
Elmer was passionate about baseball in Texas, playing in college (where he met Bj) but he figured he wasn't going to make it big in baseball, so he studied accounting and eventually become a certified public accountant. Bj's career was unsettled, but Elmer helped make up her mind by marrying her more than 40 years and one son ago.
Elmer served in the Air Force for a spell, and then settled in as a Texas accountant. But when Bj's parents passed away, the Neumanns moved into the college they had owned in nearby Henning, MN. Elmer opened an accounting office in Fergus Falls.
"But we knew we had to have some kind of job to supplement our income," Bj said. "Elmer wanted to sell ribs to passersby along the highway, like they do back in Texas. I said 'no' and he said 'yes' and I 'no' and he said 'yes' so we did it. He went out and spent $1,500 on a barbeque pit."
Initially they worked out of a concessions trailer, selling ribs during holidays and at area celebrations and events. Then in 1995, they decided to go all out and build a building. That red building, located about eight miles north of Battle Lake and a "fishing cast" away from Otter Tail Lake, is what you find today. (The pavilion was built around 2010). The current owner lives in the basement, something that Elmer and Bj found was necessary when smoking meats throughout the night.
Elmer said the "authentic" part of the restaurant's name means the meat is cooked totally in the pit, not boiled or baked first and then put in the pit; it's a tradition that lasts to this day. In fact, the process sometimes makes it difficult to predict sales and is one reason the dinner theatre event must have pre-purchased tickets.
Elmer wanted to be known for ribs and it's those ribs, coming out of the 7-foot-tall, 2-ton pit (hauled up from Texas) that is the star of the show. Only premiere meat is purchased for cooking; lower grades have tissue and fat that spoil the smoking process.