Here at Austin's Texas Lightning BBQ we wear many hats. We are a competition cooking team, traveling BBQ crew, catering business, and retailer. Our pit masters have been hand-crafting award winning sauces and winning recipes for over 60 years. This spring and summer we'll be on the road serving up tasty BBQ and winning BBQ competitions from coast to coast. Check out our events page to see when we'll be in your area.EVENTS
Ann “Nikki” Haggerty started Austin’s Texas Lightning
Barbeque in 2015 after many years in the business.
Nikki grew up in the rib business. She began accompanying her father, Tom Ferguson, on the road when she was just 14 years old. Tom owns Chicago BBQ Company, a competition rib team that travels around the country cooking delicious BBQ for the public and competing for awards at Ribfests, Cookoffs, and many other festivals. From cleaning tablecloths to filling a smoker full of fresh pork ribs, Nikki knew she found her passion.
As she became a young adult, Nikki ventured out from her dad’s booth and agreed to manage a barbeque team for her dad’s friendly competitor. Nikki’s new boss was a Texan and over the next decade he went on to teach her everything there is to know about adding that famous Texas flair to everything she touched.
Nikki always knew wanted to follow in her dad’s footsteps, but never imagined she’d be able to create a company that could come close to filling the big shoes of Tom and his legacy. As she began to dream of her own barbeque business, she couldn’t shake her need to incorporate the Texas-style cooking she had come to know and love. That was the beginning of Austin’s Texas Lightning BBQ.
Many of her coworkers describe Nikki as a perfectionist. She describes her process of creating the perfect barbeque sauce as “a bumpy but worthwhile journey.” She is a big believer in hard work and repeating any process as many times as it takes to get it right. She applied that theory to creating the sauce, rub, seasoning, and a final cooked product that can make even any skeptic’s mouth water.
She and her dad now spend their summers exchanging friendly banter and competitive glances across the fields of many Ribfests. The business has come full circle as a family affair. Nikki’s two children, Austin and Taylor, spend most of their summer break on the road learning from their mom and granddad. Austin, at just 13 years old, is already talking about his dreams of becoming a “pitmaster” just like his mom.
You can taste Nikki’s passion and dedication in her amazing recipes. Her barbeque sauces have been voted a first-place winner at over a dozen events. The rub, seasoning, and cooking style she has created have also brought home the gold on many occasions, usually in the name of “Best Ribs.” Nikki is proud of her journey and proud of the product she is now fortunate enough to share with the world.