REDDING, Conn. – Gino Marsili, owner of the Wire Mill BBQ restaurant in Redding, smokes every meat he serves on two reverse flow wood smokers parked behind the restaurant.
But smoking barbecue for his own restaurant wasn’t what Marsili, a Redding resident and Ridgefield native, set out to do. As a favor to a friend, in 2009 he smoked a whole pig for a party. After that, he got more and more requests, and from there, the business just took off.
At the time, Marsili owned and operated Minny Vinny’s Deli. He began smoking his own meats, such as pulled pork, to serve for lunch.
“I had a smoker built locally by a friend of mine in Monroe,” Marsili said. That smoker has long since been sold to make way for the two large smokers. One was built by Marsili’s father-in-law in Georgia after he realized that the small one could not meet the demand.
That side of the business became popular enough that Marsili started to stay open to serve barbecue for dinner.
Then last year, when he was faced with the decision to revamp the deli or start something new, he chose a new path.
“I wanted to do something different,” Marsili said. So he closed the doors to the deli in July 2013 and reopened Jan. 15 as the Wire Mill BBQ. And it became very popular, very quickly, he said.
The smoking process starts early in the day. One chef comes to the restaurant at about 4 a.m. to start the fires and to get the smokers up to the correct temperature. They use apple, cherry and oak wood to round out the flavors used in the rub that Marsili and two friends created after much trial and error.
For meats such as brisket or ribs, the cooking takes longer, Marsili said. For a 15- to 20-pound brisket it can take up to 10 to 12 hours to cook. The meat put on in the morning is what they serve that day, he said.
“When you run out, you run out. It’s not like you can put something on the grill and have it be ready in 20 minutes,” Marsili said.
The rub and sauces are all made in house, Marsili said, and kept in a recipe book marked “Confidential” in the kitchen. Not even his 14-year-old son knows the recipes.
Some of the most popular items on the menu are the brisket and pulled pork platters as well as the Monster Sandwich, he said.
Over the summer, Marsili says he hopes he can start smoking whole pigs at least once a week.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. It is located at 12 Old Mill Road in Georgetown, Redding.