These Wisconsin vets started a BBQ business in their basement. Now, they’re national.

Credit: Burn Pit BBQ

By Christina Lorey

November 8, 2023

Three years ago, Marine veteran Greg Fischer and current Navy reservist Ben Kreple launched Burn Pit BBQ from the basement of Fischer’s home in Racine, thanks to a grant from the Veteran Business Outreach Center.

“We started with just six boxes of our first products, and then went up to a couple pallets,” Fischer told Spectrum News.

The veterans now sell 12 products–from all-purpose and sweet heat BBQ rubs to garlic habanero and jalapeño hot sauces, and their web-based business has become so popular that they’ve outgrown Fischer’s basement. They moved into a warehouse this year, and the duo plans to develop new products once they’re fully settled into their new space.

In the meantime, Fischer and Kreple post free BBQ recipes on their blog, where they also answer questions about military life and owning a small business. One of the most common questions? How they came up with their name.

“Most folks think we named it Burn Pit because our products are spicy,” Kreple wrote. “But we actually named it to give homage to our military service.”

READ: Life on the Front Lines, from the BBQ Vets Themselves

“Burn pits are an area of a US military base where waste is disposed of by burning. Overseas, we threw everything into those burn pits… and the toxic fumes released were breathed in by everyone,” he continued. “We’re now just facing the reality of breathing in those toxic fumes nearly every day for months on end.”

Kreple added he’s thankful that he and Fischer are able to bring awareness to military life through their business and enjoys sharing their stories, as both men have “a pretty good sense of humor and don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

Click here to find a veteran-owned business near you!

These Wisconsin vets started a BBQ business in their basement. Now, they’re national.

Author

  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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