I know what you’re thinking. I know, I know. We must be crazy! I mean, We can hardly keep up with the restaurant, and like everyone else, we have staffing issues…we can’t remember the last time we weren’t dog-tired, and here we are adding another thing to our plate! And not a little thing, by any means!

People wondered when we left our good paying jobs in 2017 to open a Food Truck if we’d gone mad! And then, again, in 2020 when we opened a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic, our friends and family were pretty sure we’d lost our marbles.

And maybe they were right, maybe we’ve lost our marbles! But after we sold the food truck last summer we almost immediately realized we weren’t finished with the Food Truck business and went on a search for a new one. I admit, we weren’t sure we were ready to deal with all the red tape of getting a mobile unit permitted and licensed, and we worried about the staffing issues, but when we found the right truck, we knew it was the right time.

I mean, honestly, if it doesn’t scare you to death and make you pray with all your might, is it even worth doing!?

As usual, we jumped in with both feet! We bought a truck, and started the work to make it work for us. There was some revamping and upgrades needed, outside lights and an awning to ensure our guests at the window can see in the evenings and not get drenched in our typical northwest weather. A badly needed paint job on the outside, now all prepped and ready for a new logo to be applied.

During all this time, we started letting the word out, putting out feelers for places to park this Beast. The idea of the Brewery Circuit didn’t appeal to us this go round, so we made a list of where we’d like to park on a more permanent basis. One of the first people we called was Jason at Stemma Brewing. We loved our time parking Foodtruck 1.0 there and we work well with Jason and Kim. (It doesn’t hurt that our adult kids and our grandkids hang out there) Jason was immediately excited to have us back and we began getting ready to open Big Stick at Stemma Brewing.

It’s been a long six months of upgrades, revamps, and meeting L&I and Health Department compliance requirements, but here we are!


Big Stick Barbecue Foodtruck 2.0 is officially open at Stemma Brewing!

So as we close out the weekend of our Grand Opening, we need to acknowledge some folks who have helped get this party rolling!

Jason and Kim at Stemma have been so generous to let us park at their beer garden long before being ready to open, and their staff have patiently answered everyone’s questions about the unmarked foodtruck out front and when will it open. Thank you so much Stemma crew! We appreciate you all and we are all excited to begin seeing you on the daily!

Andy at Al’s RV has once again come through and helped us build out a rolling eatery that looks great and is up to code! We go way back with Andy, to his days of youth, Rick even officiated at Andy and Holly’s wedding, so the friends and family ties are strong!

Brandon at Coastline Equipment jumped in just two days ago to help us with some welding that needed done on the hood vent to pass L&I inspection, without that detail, we’d still be fretting and stressing about how to get to this final step. Thank you Brandon!

The guys at Classic Collision did a fantastic paint job. Not only was the price reasonable, but they went above and beyond with sanding and smoothing the rough surface of a past paint job over old stickers, without up-charging. We were completely floored at how much work they did and great it turned out. You guys, seriously. Thank you.

The truck is ready for signage and this coming week Stickers For Days will come work their magic and our friends at Stemma will get a break from all the inquiries! We can’t wait to see the final Big Stick Food Truck 2.0!!

Last but certainly not least, and with hearts filled with appreciation, thank you to our awesome staff for your patience with this project! Some of you were hired for the exact purpose of working the foodtruck and our setbacks have limited your working hours .Thank you for hanging in there with us!

And Nick, our collective Right Hand Man, and Manager of the Year, thank you for keeping staff morale at optimal levels and transitioning from scheduling one location to two locations with such seeming ease. We see you in the hall studying the schedule against your phone calendar every day and we know that hours on the clock don’t come close to the mental work you expend to keep us all on track.

Now… it’s time to go to work!!

Bellingham’s Best BBQ

You guys! We’ve been blown away this week! Not just by being named Bellingham’s Best BBQ by the readers of the Bellingham Herald, but by the outpouring of love and congratulations from our friends, family, followers, and loyal guests in the last 24 hours! We are so thankful for all of you who have been sharing your meals, your stories, and your lives with us for the last 5+ years.

One might have realized that the kind of sudden attention garnered would bring out many, many, MANY new guests, and truly, we should have thought of it, but we didn’t. Our posted hours on Tuesday are 11-3, and we sold out in less then a couple hours yesterday.

For our new guests who are just now finding us, please know, it doesn’t get more Mom and Pop than our little restaurant. It’s just us, Rick and Linda, and our 4 part time employees, all students, and one full time employee. We have the best staff, hands down, the best! But we are still limited.

While we are strategizing ways to produce more food with the staff we have, we are unwavering in our commitment to producing the highest quality BBQ, which means we cook fresh every day. We watch our margins and gauge how much to smoke on a given day by tracking the previous 4 weeks. Tuesdays, which we’ve only just opened for lunch 4 weeks ago, only saw a limited number of guests and online orders, so we planned accordingly, but we just weren’t expecting the influx of guests and orders that we saw yesterday!

Please take advantage of our online store and order ahead, or call in whether you want to dine in or take out, we’ll make sure you have what you want.

Thank you Bellingham! We love you!

Thoughts on the First Five Years

We’ve been going back through all the photos we’ve taken, all the posts we’ve posted on social media, recollecting the last five years as we approach our 5th anniversary as a business, and let me tell you, it’s been surreal!

We’ve been putting together a sideshow to loop through on our three televisions over the weekend of our anniversary and the reality of how hard we have worked, how much chaos and struggle we have come up against is not lost on us!

Because, the truth is, a photo really is worth a thousand words, and lucky for us, we’ve taken thousands of them. From purchasing an old navy box van from a guy in Mollalla, Oregon and driving it home in a torrential downpour, to selling out of food so fast our host breweries weren’t so happy with us, to finding ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, something no one we knew had ever experienced before, to opening our own restaurant in the middle of that pandemic…we have tried to capture it all in photos.

We’ve had slow days and crazy days, and ridiculous days that we sold out in three hours what normally took us eight.

We’ve closed for private events and taken the food truck to significant birthday events, family reunions, weddings, company parties, and we’ve closed the restaurant to host family reunions after a memorial service, and for 40th, 50th and 60th birthdays.

We’ve cried with and hugged our guests who’ve become our friends as they’ve traversed the hardships of the past couple years, losing loved ones, losing jobs, experiencing loss in friendships…and we’ve rejoiced with our friends who’ve come to celebrate good news at Big Stick BBQ! “I’m cancer fee!” “We’re having a baby!” “Can we have our gender reveal here?” “I’m retired!”

We’ve hired family, friends, and strangers to work with us, and of those who’ve moved on, most have remained our dear friends. In fact, we consider them family and we miss them.

As we put the finishing touches on our slideshow for our anniversary weekend, August 19-21, we’d love to share a few teaser photos with you. If you’ve followed us all along, you might recognize some scenes, some stories. And maybe you’ll get to know us just a little better…

…because one thing that’s always been important to us at Big Stick BBQ is sharing our story, and hearing yours.

Stay tuned for more memories and the fun of opening a Brick and Mortar Restaurant in the middle of a pandemic!

Breakfast Of Champions

Rick had been chomping at the bit to start serving breakfast a few months back, but we don’t have tons of kitchen space and NO flat top space, so we kept putting it off thinking it just wouldn’t work.

And then one day, we remembered who we are. We’re Big Stick Barbecue, the ones who remind you all that Life’s Too Short to Chase Small Sticks, so we gave ourselves a good talking to, bought a coffee maker, bought a small flat top, created a couple yummy breakfast dishes, flipped that OPEN sign on and announced to the world, or at least to Bellingham, that we are open for breakfast!!

Saturday and Sunday you can roll in around 8 or 9 and get the best breakfast for your buck in Bellingham!

Because of our small space we have a limited selection of menu items. You won’t find pages of choices, but you WILL find 3 or 4 dishes that will fill your belly and feed your soul.

This weekend, your choices are Biscuits and Gravy, Huevos Rancheros, or Brisket Hash, all with your choice of 2 eggs. And all priced at $9! WHAT??

Breakfast hours are Saturday 8-11 and Sunday 9-12. We can’t wait to see you!

Our house made sausage gravy over fresh made buttermilk biscuits with eggs however you like them!
Cubed smoked brisket, fried with bell peppers, onions, garlic, potatoes, and your choice of 2 eggs
Huevos Rancheros

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!