Fast-casual BBQ is not to be taken lightly, as evidenced by the rapid expansion of several franchises, including former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims’ barbecue hotspots.

The first overall pick for the Detroit Lions in 1980 and three-time Pro-Bowler has opened another restaurant, this time in Norman, Oklahoma. Sims, a co-founder in the business with CEO Jeff Jackson, now franchises more than 50 locations, mostly in cities where he played – Tulsa and Detroit.

Billy Sims BBQ specializes in traditional backyard barbecue, serving brisket, pulled pork, polish sausage, hot links, bologna, St. Louis style ribs and boneless chicken and turkey. Meats are smoked fresh daily at every location using seasoned pecan wood.

More hot BBQ openings from around the country:

Smoke Em If You Got Em – Huntington, West Virginia

Smoke em if you got emThese West Virginia barbecue purveyors have kick-started something cool: they opened their second location inside a Harley-Davidson dealership in Huntington.

Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ – Charleston, South Carolina

Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQScott says, “My whole life has been barbecue. I grew up doing it, hanging around it, and hanging around other people that do it. And there’s just, to me, no other way to bring people in quicker. It’s like a beacon sign; it just draws them right in there.”

Oink and Moo BBQ – Voorhees, New Jersey

The award-winning New Jersey food truck expanded to Philadelphia and opened their first brick-and-mortar location two years ago.

Woodpile BBQ Shack – Clawson, Michigan

Woodpile BBQThe second location by this Texas-style operator will open in a $7.5 million redevelopment in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood.

Pitty’s BBQ – Tulare, California

pittys bbqJoe and Kassie Aguilar know how it works on the West Coast: “Our tri-tip sandwiches and our chili beans are what we are best known for!”