Cooking since he was 10, local man opens new BBQ joint in Port Huron

Who doesn't love the smell of meat being grilled to perfection at a family get together or at your favorite restaurant? The smokey flavor, the sweet and tangy sauce, and the amazing sides that make the salivary glands lose control — it’s what we crave. 

If you’re looking to find excellent BBQ, but you don't want to take the time to get the coals ready and stand over a hot grill for a few hours, what do you do? Crash a function? Wait and hope you’re invited to a cookout? Although those are options, why not stop by one of the newest local restaurants to open in Port Huron.

Meet Jalen Hayes Sr., owner of Fire Up Grill Smoked BBQ & Soul Food. Hayes began learning how to cook at an early age with family and it's where he honed his skills and passion for the art. “I’ve been cooking since I was about 10 years old, on the grill — cooking hot dogs, bratwurst, steaks, ribs, briskets, and whatever else could be grilled,” he says. 

Fire Up Grill had their soft opening in August and would like to have a grand opening sometime in the fall. Despite being the new kid on the block when it comes to BBQ in town, Hayes has already catered and been a vendor at a couple local events with more scheduled to come soon. 

“I was a vendor at the Port Huron Motorcycle Club Drag Racing event this year as well as the open house held by Harbor Impact Ministries. There is a three county-wide event coming up, the Fall Family Fun Day September 18 in Marlette, that we will also be a part of,” Hayes says.

Fire Up Grill’s menu consists of smoked/grilled meats such as pulled pork, chicken, brisket, and ribs. They have fried foods on their menu as well, which consists of chicken, fish, and shrimp. They are also planning to do lobster, deep fried oreos, and peach egg rolls in the near future. Of course, no BBQ is complete without the sides. Their side dishes include collard greens, cole slaw, baked beans, and mac ‘n’ cheese. 

“The ribs and rib tips are the most sold item along with the collard greens. They're gone — I literally can't keep ribs for any length of time,” Hayes says.

Fire Up Grill is located at 1236 Water St. in Port Huron.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Harold Powell.

Harold Powell is the Community Correspondent for The Keel and owner of Phantom Pen Media offering multimedia services to individuals and organizations across the Blue Water Area. He is a current board member for the Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce and the most recent Chamber Choice recipient at the Eddy Awards. Harold is an avid volunteer for the YMCA of the Blue Water Area as well as Bridge Builders Counseling & Mentoring and in his spare time, enjoys spending time with his son, writing and listening to music, playing video games, and not folding laundry.