Dickey's Barbecue Pit is a nationwide franchise that has been serving hungry customers since 1941.

The company has more than 500 locations nationwide, including one in Erie.

Employees say they have several secrets including the rub that includes a mixture of spices.

Then there is a smoker that is the heart of the operation.

Owner Brandon McBrier fuels the fire with special wood pellets, giving the meat a great flavor.

He said, "We do a blend of wood to get us the flavor we are looking for. It is a mesquite, cherry and hickory blend."

The ribs, pork, chicken, turkey and sausage all go in the smoker. The process takes awhile.

McBrier said, "The slogan we work with is low and slow baby. Low and slow. That means low temperature, 225 degrees and we cook it slowly."

Customers have plenty of room to eat in the restaurant. And there is also a private room rented for special events.

But a lot of the food prepared at the restaurant is for catering.

About 25% of the restaurant's business is catering including lunches and parties.

McBrier said, "Catering is our lifeblood. We have a lovely restaurant but we cater almost every day of the week."