Old Rooster Creek Filipino/Asian American BBQ (ORC BBQ) in Princeton, Texas, has enjoyed a steady following since its 2017 debut. But after YouTube celebrity and now-Dallas-area-resident Mikey Chen featured the barbecue spot in a recent video, swarms of new customers queued up hours before opening time on Saturday. They were eager to try the lechón (whole roasted pig stuffed with herbs) and Filipino street foods that Chen touted in his April 20 video.
Within two hours, the mom-and-pop business sold out of pork — including 1,200 skewers — and nearly all of the other Filipino dishes on the menu.
It was a record day for owners Josephine and Allen Cook, who run the weekends-only outdoor food stall near a farm road in the Collin County town of Princeton. Between the whole pigs roasting on spits and the cheery “shack” that’s both counter and kitchen, it’s a dead-ringer for the street food stalls of the Philippines — except for the picnic table seating and a karaoke stage nearby.
“We have customers who posted pictures [from ORC BBQ] on Facebook; their friends thought they were posting from the Philippines,” Allen says.
Josephine, a Filipina native from the island of Leyte, cooks a rotating handful of Filipino dishes to accompany the wood-grilled meats, lechón, and fish that the couple prepares. They include a vegetarian pancit (a Filipino noodle stir-fry); lumpia (fried egg rolls); chicken and pork adobo (practically the national dish of the Philippines); dinuguan (a rich and tangy stew of ground pork in pig’s blood gravy); caldereta (a goat, beef or pork stew); sisig (a hash made of pig cheeks and ears, seasoned with chile and vinegar); isaw (skewers of barbecued pork offal); and skewers of fried, caramelized bananas or sweet potatoes, to name a few.
Every Friday, the couple stays up all night, preparing the Saturday menu. At 2 a.m., they start slow-roasting the whole pigs, and by late Saturday morning, Allen chops the lechón, which goes on sale at 11:30 a.m. (all the other foods are sold starting at 11). Sundays, the menu features wood-grilled seafood: stuffed squid and whole mackerel. In light of the buzz created by Chen’s YouTube video, the couple has added lechón to the Sunday menu, too.
Filipino breakfast street-food dishes are sold on Fridays, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Among them is tapsilog: rice, topped with fried egg and sliced beef, marinated in soy sauce, calamansi (a tangy citrus) and garlic, then quick-fried. The “Tocino” version of the breakfast features slices of sweet marinated and fried pork. Throughout the weekend, there are Filipino drinks and gelatin desserts for sale, too.
The Cooks hadn’t intended to start a barbecue and street food business. Allen works weekdays as an aviation electrician at L3Harris, and prior to launching ORC BBQ, Josephine, a former band singer, had a clothing and home goods stall at the neighboring Old Rooster Creek Flea Market. After the flea market owner tasted Josephine’s brisket and pulled pork at a Thanksgiving potluck, he begged her for months to open a barbecue stall next near the market. “I agreed, on one condition: he give me a space behind the stall for a garden,” Josephine says. Now the herbs, bitter melon, okra, eggplant, bok choy, and other vegetables from the couple’s on-site garden are used in Josephine’s Filipino dishes.
Although ORC BBQ started out as an American barbecue spot that also sold lechón, it morphed into a Filipino and Asian barbecue and street food venue when Filipino customers clamored for dishes from their homeland. Those who want a whole lechón for a party can order the roast pig at least one week in advance. Parties of at least ten who want to eat a whole lechón on-site can reserve tables and food in advance, too.
ORC BBQ’s Saturday and Sunday hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., or until the food runs out. Thanks to Chen’s video, though, that may be happening earlier than expected.
Old Rooster Creek Filipino/Asian American BBQ is located at 10424 County Road 1099, in Princeton. Facebook: ORC Filipino/Asian American BBQ.
Tina Danze is a Dallas freelance writer.