WELCOME, N.C. (WGHP) — For Rick Matthew, barbecue is in his blood.

“We started off bootlegging in the backyard, cooking for our friends,” said Matthew as he turns barbecue chicken, the day’s special, on the pits at his restaurant Rick’s Smokehouse. “It’s not mechanized, so there no temperature controllers making adjustments for you. You have to be able to look at it and make adjustments yourself.”

Using quality hardwood like hickory, he uses the embers to slowly cook the meat.

“This form of cooking, which is direct heat, not many people do anymore,” he said.

Rick’s had a lifetime of working the heat, seasoning and timing. His menu isn’t just known for barbecue but all the sides that have customers coming back for more even after a fire shut them down for a while.

“We had a pit fire, and it pretty much destroyed the restaurant,” he said.

But he built back, and his customers came back too.

“The community has been very supportive,” he said.

Rick’s Smokehouse is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday.