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King of the Grill

Local barbecue business is a labor of love for community-minded Charlie Eblen

This month’s issue is all about local love - what it is, what it means, and how it manifests itself in the community. There is perhaps no clearer embodiment of love than the story of Single Tree BBQ, a small business that is of the community and for the community. 

Charlie Eblen, the founder of Single Tree, has deep roots in the area. He moved to Murfreesboro in 1989 and spent a lot of time on his grandfather’s farm in Bell Buckle, cooking dinner by the outdoor fireplace. This experience would shape his life and where “the love of community, food, fire, and family was born.” 

After a career spent in the restaurant business, he would pay tribute to his grandfather and those formative years on the farm by venturing out on his own with the Single Tree BBQ food truck. Eblen describes the food as “a blend of Texas-style brisket, Middle Tennessee pork, and Memphis ribs.” 

When asked what makes his food unique, Eblen’s passion bleeds through his words. “We have incredibly high standards. This is in everything we do, from our own performance to the quality of beef we buy. We are the only BBQ joint in the middle Tennessee area that sells prime brisket that I'm aware of.”

And as a small business owner, he is a proponent of partnering with local sources (such as Beasley’s Smokehouse Rubs and Solomon Hills Farm) and forming connections that strengthen the community. He explains, “I love that the fabric of our community is made of some amazing small businesses and people throughout the county. I love that the history of Murfreesboro is far more than what you see driving down Medical Center and Oldfort Parkway. If you take the time to go to Stones River Battlefield or Cannonsburgh Village, we have a very long and incredible history of legacy and honor.” 

Eblen is so passionate about this community that he’s recently started Single Tree Podcast to highlight local business owners and leaders. Additionally, he partners with the Rutherford County Atlas program, which provides homeless children with food and basic supplies. He had heard about the program from his kids and thought it would be a great way for his family to help, and “our business had a responsibility to do so as well.” 

This philanthropic spirit, combined with his passion and commitment to quality food, sets Single Tree apart. Eblen explains, “We pride ourselves on only serving the perfect plate of BBQ! We do this with the most authentic and genuine hospitality. We want to be the Nike of BBQ, we want to accomplish this by helping, building, and growing our community through digital hospitality, online storytelling, and the perfect plate of BBQ!”

Eblen is well on his way to accomplishing this goal, as Single Tree BBQ operates a successful food truck, and a concession stand at MTSU, and will be opening its first brick-and-mortar location soon. Single Tree is the story of a man’s love of his community and a community that would be lacking without him. 

Pull Quote 1:

“We have incredibly high standards. This is in everything we do, from our own performance to the quality of beef we buy.”

Pull Quote 2:

“We want to be the Nike of BBQ, we want to accomplish this by helping, building and growing our community through digital hospitality, online storytelling and the perfect plate of BBQ!”