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Meet Ashton Merino of Young Bucks BBQ in South East in League City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashton Merino.

Ashton, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was grilling some chicken on a Propane grill, when my family and I were finished eating, I left to go to sleep. I was woken up with my wife yelling at me, the grill is on fire! I ran outside to see my deck with chard pieces and the ground with some small flames and as I turned to look at grill, the propane tank pressure relief valve open and released high pressure flames directly in my direction. I was in the middle as what I would describe a hot air balloons flame. I ran backwards as I left my burning socks behind falling off my feet. I new I had to put the flame out so I grabbed my fire extinguisher and walked back outside. As the tank would go off and on, releasing its flames, my gazebo was lifting off the ground. I put out the fire that was the cause of the tank over pressurizing.

After a long recovery, I did not loose sight of my passion for outdoor cooking. I just took a different path and choose slow smoking with wood and charcoal. I was back at what I loved to do. So, I perfected what I feel is the true Texas BBQ at its best! I went to competitions with my college and friend Eric Thibodeaux and soon after Zac Schaeffer and we were winning time after time. One day, a veteran entrepreneur told me how Wonderfull my seasonings were and that I should look into selling it. And so, begin my journey into the seasoning industry. It started out small with my self as the seasoning mixer and master bottle filler, lol. Just to get a fill of what other people thought of my seasonings as they cook with it. It was doing incredibly well and vendor gigs were a hit as the top seller of the nights. I pitched my first sale to Chim Chimneys in League City and the owner gave me some great advice and sent me on my way with a contact. So, I took my recipe to a repackaging company called Zac Spice, as they could mass produce my seasoning with FDA’s approval. My wife Summer and I, designed the labels and hit small business retail stores looking for opportunities. We are still small and hustling in a market with lots of competition but Young Bucks BBQ seasoning, is the number one selling spice in stores. We are up and coming and won’t stop until you see Young Bucks BBQ in all big grocery stores near you!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been a struggle learning about what it takes to compete and bring price down, so, that I am able to fall within the acceptable retail market. As I knew, I didn’t just want to be a small vendor at a trade show. I want my products on all retail shelves and that path is not easy. We have had to set up all the necessary means to have big retail stores believe that Young Bucks BBQ is serious and could support the large orders that they would order. We submitted our products to Bucee’s and did not receive and word or any feedback. I set my eyes on Academy Sports and Outdoors and pulled info and contracts, researching what it takes to be a vendor with them. Acquiring EDI capabilities. We submitted to Academy and received little hope the product manager said, at this moment their shelves are full but will look at seeing if my product could replace a less popular seasoning. We are steadily acquiring small business and look for a strong future. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Young Bucks BBQ LLC – what should we know?
Young Bucks BBQ is a small business with a big business mentality. I specialize in using my taste, pallet, and knowledge of what competition judges are looking for 1st place. Young Bucks BBQ has literally came from passion. We value America and use only made in America product. I engineered my seasonings to have 3D dynamic to cooking. Using small granules and large for flavor penetration and a beautiful crust presentation. Truly the best of both worlds.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My wife Summer Merino, she has supported my ambition and she has had connections that I would not have had on my own. Eric Thibodaeoux has been with me competing in many many competitions and is the rib master! We tear up the competition when we are together. He has also came up with a logo and pushed me to get a website. Zac Sheaffer is a good friend that I brought up learning the ropes of Great BBQ, I can always count on him to help with marketing gigs.


  • Brisket Rub – 9.99
  • Spicy Rib Rub – 9.99
  • Steak seasoning – 6.99
  • Chicken and Fish seating – 6.99
  • Pork seasoning – 6.99

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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