For a few hours every Friday and Saturday, barbecue fans flock to a tiny building on East Main Street in downtown Westfield for Ben’s BBQ Shack.
Ben Hoffman, owner of Ben’s BBQ Shack, turned his longtime hobby into a business. It opened as a brick-and-mortar establishment last fall, and word has quickly spread that the takeout-only eatery offers a melt-in-your-mouth experience for lovers of smoked meat.
Originally from Kentucky with extended family in Arkansas, Hoffman comes from a long-standing tradition of barbecuing. Early memories involve his dad, grandfather and great uncles laughing and debating the process while cooking together. One of Hoffman’s recollections even involves pit-roasting a whole goat. As an adult, he became a media and advertising executive. To relax, he began selling barbecue at small events, and even achieved recognition at competitions.
When Hoffman and his family moved to Westfield in 2011, he continued his interest in barbecue by occasionally selling from a trailer. He received permission to park in certain areas and eventually developed a relationship with Grand Junction Brewing Co. After COVID-19 hit, his job situation changed. Although he is still involved in the corporate world, he now works in a less demanding and more flexible role.
“I had been eyeballing the building for five years, thinking it would be the perfect place for a walk-up, carry-out joint,” Hoffman says of his location. “This summer it became available and I was able to lease it. It used to be the office of a used car lot and I took everything down to the brick. I have my trailer parked outside with one smoker in it and the other beside it.”
Hoffman fires the smokers up every Thursday evening, and stays up all night to keep the wood fires burning. Up to 200 pounds of beef and pork slowly cook while he prepares homemade coleslaw and baked beans. After closing on Friday, he grabs a few hours of sleep and the process starts all over again for Saturday customers.
Currently three sandwiches are on the menu. The brisket and pulled pork “sammiches” come with pickles and onions on the side, and the pork belly “sammich” comes with jalapeño slices. The brisket is $18 per pound, and $10 for a half-pound. The ribs are $14 per pound. Pulled pork is $14 per pound, and $8 for a half-pound.
“Our barbecue is a blending of the best from Texas, Western Kentucky and Tennessee,” Hoffman says. “There is no charcoal, propane or electricity involved – just the most authentic way to smoke, using 100% wood. It’s not just the time on the smoker. It’s important to trim the meat properly, season it, and know how long to let it rest. It’s all about how much love you put in it.”
Hoffman plans to add a third smoker to his operation this winter to increase output.
“We sell out every day,” he says. “There is only so much real estate in two smokers. Whatever we do in the future, we are always going to be an authentic, classic barbecue joint. I love doing this. Westfield has been awesome. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the community. We are out to make Westfield the barbecue center of Indiana.”
Ben’s BBQ Shack is located at 124 East Main Street in Westfield. Open Fri. noon to 3 p.m.; Sat. 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more info and to order online, go to BensBBQShack.com.
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3 Reviews for Ben’s BBQ Shack
Can't wait to get more of Ben's barbecue!!!
I recently ordered some brisket and ribs and they were without question the best I have ever eaten. Everything was cooked perfect, had the right amount of seasoning and just melted in my mouth. I also tried the cole slaw and it was perfect and also the best I have ever had. I look forward to trying everything on the menu. I do recommend preordering because it is so good they always sell out quickly for walk up orders. Preordering is simple on their website. Regarding service, they went out of their way to help me change my order when the snowstorm hit recently and get my order the following week when the weather improved. Bottom line, great food and great employees. So happy I found Ben’s and look forward to my next barbecue meal.
Real Texas BBQ in Indiana!
I lived in Texas for a few years and had some great BBQ down there. The best in the country is in Austin at Franklin Barbecue. This is every bit as good as Franklin’s and that is really saying something! Congrats to Ben for opening up a brick-and-mortar location. My new favorite place in downtown Westfield!
had our first order from Ben’s last weekend. we ordered a little bit of everything. Brisket was incredible. Ribs were a little heavy on the rub but had a great smokey taste for sure. Good pulled pork as well. Will certainly order again!