Happy New Year

As we say goodbye to the year 2020, we see the same sentiment posted all over social media, the same sentiment we have thought we would feel for months: Good Riddance 2020!

The problem is, 2021 will arrive in the wee hours of the morning much the same as 2020 snuck in on us in the late winter/early spring, with questions, confusion, suspicion, and longing. How we respond, how we act…THAT will be the thing that defines us.

Here at Big Stick BBQ 2020 has been a year of planning, retreating, planning again, retreating, hoping, and finally, taking a big leap of faith. We found ourselves in a position of moving forward or standing still in the midst of the chaos, and the only obvious choice was to move forward and open the doors of our first Brick and Mortar, our first little restaurant where we could welcome our family and friends from all over the county and region to enjoy the Best BBQ in Bellingham.

This afternoon as we prepared to close early for the holiday, Rick looked around at our sweet little BBQ restaurant and with glistening eyes said “It’s been quite a ride! Can you believe we did this?”

Did what? I asked.

“We made all this in the year 2020, in the middle of a pandemic.”

I looked around too, nodded my head, and thought of all the days and weeks and years bringing us to this place… The people, family, friends, guests, cheerleaders, advisors, our loyal “regulars” (who are anything but regular!), the county breweries who gave us a leg up, our friends who now work with us, our friends who’ve become family, and I agreed…

…it’s been quite a ride, this remarkable, terrible, wonderful year of 2020…

…the year we learned to live by faith.

Happy New Year friends and family! We love you and appreciate you more than we can say, but we’ll try to say it more in 2021!


Three years ago today we held our grand opening at Gruff Brewing. We were nervous and giddy at the same time, having planned and dreamed and built our little food truck over the previous six or seven months.

Last week we signed the lease and made the deal to buy Jekyll and Hyde on Orchard Street, two years ahead of our goal to be in a Brick and Mortar, and we are beyond excited! We’d planned to wait until today to announce our news, on our third anniversary, but we were too excited to keep it to ourselves and announced on instagram and facebook. The response from our friends and family, and from our regulars, who have become friends, has been fun and exciting and worth leaking the announcement early!

The dream was never the foodtruck. The dream was to serve up the best BBQ in Bellingham, so we started with what we could afford at the time, an empty little Navy step van that we drove up from Oregon and turned into a BBQ foodtruck.

Our families and close friends were wringing their hands three years ago when we were planning to leave our places of employment. “It’s such a risk!” “Are you sure this is what you want to do?” “So many restaurants don’t make it, maybe you should still work partime.”

For us, it was all or nothing, jump in with both feet, don’t look back, do or die!

We’ve worked harder and longer hours than ever before in our lives. We’re exhausted much of the time, and we rarely get to socialize with our family and friends. We’ve also had the most fun, the most fights, and best nights of sleep than ever before!. We’ve made a ton of new friends, built camaraderie with amazing owners and staffs at the local breweries, and have cheered for their successes as they have cheered for ours.

In the late 90’s this space was home to Orchard Street Brewery, one of our favorite places to meet up with friends at the time. We loved their beer, and the food was fantastic. Who could have known then that 30 years or so later, we would be the keepers of that spot and get to practice hospitality there by cooking for you all? The end of next week we will have keys in hand and start the next step of making that space our own.

We would not trade the last three years for anything, and we are extremely proud of our product and our name. We can’t wait to welcome you all to our new place, our BAM, our Brick and Mortar restaurant where we hope you’ll feel right at home and continue to enjoy the best BBQ in Bellingham, our little City of Subdued Excitement!


We live in a small town, and in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic, our little food truck, in our little town has been chosen to disperse funds for two different companies to those on the the front lines. Both of these companies wanted to give back to first responders as a way to say “thank you for what you do” and both have chosen Big Stick BBQ as a conduit to do so.

Not gonna lie…as a small business in uncertain times, we grabbed hold and said ‘heck yeah and thank you! The truth is, however, that in the process of being the conduit of good deeds, we are the ones who are being blessed.

We have had the honor of chatting with firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, hazmat teams, and all sorts of administrative medical personnel. We’ve met little families of four or five or six, in the thick of raising children in the middle of this crazy weird time, navigating unchartered waters with the rest of us, and all seeming to do it with grace and humility and perseverance that makes us shake our heads and marvel at the human spirit.

Today we chatted with a nurse who works on the Covid floor of our local hospital. She told us about how hard it was to see people get sick and die so fast, like nothing she’d seen before.

She talked about how it felt like a war zone for so long, and how it now feels like they might be coming out of the fog of it, seeing light at the end of the tunnel, the cases are fewer and less severe.

She told us how the hardest part has been not being able to help families walk through the grief of the dying, but rather watch the dying say goodbye to their family members via Facetime.

That was about the point I realized I was crying and couldn’t hear anything else she was saying, because that’s when I knew we were sitting at the feet of the heros.


Two years ago in August we launched Big Stick BBQ with our Grand Opening in the beer garden at Gruff Brewing. We’d wanted to do an anniversary party in August, but the end of summer is the busiest time for us and it slipped by without much notice.

In the couple of months since our second year anniversary we’ve been voted 3rd Best Food Truck in the Northwest by the readers of Bellingham Alive Magazine and Best BBQ in Bellingham by the readers of Cascadia Weekly.

Photo by Dean Davidson with Bellingham Alive
Photo by Jessamyn Tuttle with Cascadia Weekly

We are beyond thankful for both of these recognitions and want to say a big THANK YOU to Bellingham and Beyond for voting for us. To say thank you, and to celebrate our belated 2 year anniversary, we are throwing back our Pulled Pork Sandwich price to our 2017 price of $8 on Friday November 1 at Stones Throw Brewery and Sunday November 3 at Kulshan on Kentucky K2! And of course we’ll have all your other favorites on the menu as well!

We are so honored to be your favorite and we look forward to serving you the Best BBQ in Bellingham in the coming years!!!!

Photo by Linda with Big Stick BBQ

Brisket Start to Finish

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

On August 13 Rick started this series on Facebook. I thought it needed a permanent home.

I have caught myself being wrapped up in the bottom line this past week. Although important, this is not why I started BSBBQ.
We tend to be “destination” oriented in the West. I left corporate life to enjoy the process more; the journey over the destination. So I will be posting some “process” photos in coming days. Hope you enjoy and slow down enough in your process to enjoy the journey. Below is a packer brisket, it takes us about 30 hrs. to produce the finished product. This baby is put to bed and will hit the smoker for a 10 hour cook tomorrow morning about 3 AM. You can enter its journey tomorrow at @fairhaven_stonesthrowbrewery.

4 hours in, these babies have all the smoke they need. In fact around 4 hours of smoke is all most meats can absorb.
Not even half way there. #smokedbrisket#bigstickbbq#smokebark

Wednesday’s I get to sleep in till 3AM because we have a later start. My mantra in the morning is, “fire first” #bigstickbbq #smokedbrisket #firefirst

So much can affect a cook in the smoker. Weather, wood, humidity, the meat. We followed this Brisket from the rough untrimmed “packer” to completion.
20 hour dry brine, 8 hour cook and now is going out the door.
I hope that you, as I am committing anew, can enjoy your journey and find the destination as satisfying as this Brisket.

BSB Started a Blog

This blog will in no way replace our awesome website http://www.bigstickbarbecue.com, where you will still be able to find our locations and times of operation, see beautiful photos of our amazing food, and get the latest news; rather, this will be a place for Rick to share his thoughts and ideas, musings, and tips and tricks for trying your own hand at the art of smoking meats! Most photos here will be from Rick’s phone, but Linda’s camera might get a spotlight once in a while too! Thanks for finding us and following along!