While You Were Sleeping: 4 Rivers Smokehouse prepares for the day

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — There is a lot happening in Tampa Bay overnight. 8 On Your Side is taking a look at what goes in our “While You Were Sleeping” series. At 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Tampa, the staff gets in five hours before the restaurant opens.

4-rivers2“Every single day we’re here at six in the morning,” said Nick West, General Manager.

West says the brisket is smoked for 18 hours, so the first thing they do is take it out and divvy it up for the day.

“We wrap it up and we put it in the coolers for the whole day,” said Samuel Cockrell.

Then, they put the ribs into the smoker.

“We typically try to get them in right about 6 or 6:30 so they’re coming out fresh right around 11,” said West.

It takes hours for the crew to make many of the sides fresh every day. 4 Rivers Smokehouse also features a bakery.

“It’s usually pretty fun. We tend to dance while we’re frosting our cupcakes and stuff,” said Brittany Johnson, lead baker.4-rivers3

She knows it’s hard for people to understand why she gets into work so early.

“It’s worth it to me. I really love the company and the atmosphere here. Especially at this store. Everybody really truly is like a family,” she said.

As the morning rolls on, food starts coming out of the oven, and the display case gets filled up with tasty treats.

“It’s great to see people fawning over the desserts. They take that first bite and you just see them light up. It’s a really great feeling,” she said.

Just before 4 Rivers Smokehouse opens at 11 a.m., the meat is done and ready for carving.

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