Saddleback BBQ, REO Town & Craft BBQ

Looking back on it, when we were searching for a location to open a BBQ restaurant more than a year ago it is now apparent that REO Town chose us, not the other way around. With its long proud history, we felt like REO Town provided a neighborhood with a soul and personality all her own. An area of town that offered more than just a storefront. REO Town is considered the birthplace of the commercial car market. More than one hundred years ago Ransom Eli Olds opened the REO Motor Car Company right in this very neighborhood. REO Town has experienced the ups and downs of the auto industry, as many of our Michigan communities have, but the neighborhood has persevered and become stronger because of these struggles. The long complicated history has made REO Town and its residents stronger, more diverse, more creative and more artistic. REO Town is a community with its own character that is shaped by its many challenges and many more opportunities.

When we opened Saddleback BBQ, we wanted to offer more than just a typical BBQ restaurant. We wanted to create premium Craft BBQ. Craft BBQ is rooted in our nation’s rich BBQ history, but with a twist that is all our own. Like REO Town, we respect our proud history and pay homage to it, but we also try to push our craft forward with new and creative updates that are happening all the time. Many of these updates are based on the feedback from people like you, our loyal customers.

A little BBQ History (The way we see it)

In the BBQ world there are 4 major regions that have contributed to making BBQ what it is today.

  • Texas, with its German/Czech influence and abundance of cattle have contributed the classic salt and pepper brisket.

  • Memphis, with it’s dry rubbed pork ribs have set a standard all her own.

  • Kansas City brought a sweet, tomato, molasses bbq sauce to the party.

  • The Carolina’s “Respect the Pig” mantra have contributed whole hog BBQ. Since they can’t agree on what sauce they like – they have also contributed a vinegary tomato spiced sauce and a classic mustard based sauce as well.

We at Saddleback have been greatly influenced by them all and now we have set off on our own path.

Saddleback’s Take on BBQ
We don’t do things the easy way. Like our forefathers, we only use all wood fires to cook all of our meats. That way we are only getting the best smoke to flavor our food. Why is that important? Because wood smoke is the best spice that you can use to flavor BBQ. With the sweet complex flavor you can only get from true wood fired smokers, we feel that’s the only way to BBQ. We could make it easier on ourselves, and sleep more, but we wanted to offer more for our BBQ.

Craft BBQ at Saddleback is about attention to detail. This includes: The choice of wood (a cherry hickory blend), the meat we use (Certified CAB briskets) and all of our side dishes are made from scratch. We believe this attention to detail provides our customers a truly special and unique experience. There are no short cuts. Our BBQ takes hours to make with constant attention to even the most mundane detail.

In our future blog posts we will go into more detail about our smokers and our whole “BBQ” process. We will also talk about our choice of smokers and why we have selected the wood that we use. We will also give an explanation of our sauces and the history of how they came about. Look for Craft BBQ 101 coming soon. If you have any questions that you would like us to cover, please let us know!

Thank you for your interest in Saddleback BBQ. We couldn’t do it without you.

  • Matt Gillett, Brad Broughman and the Saddleback Team

*Disclaimer: This is how we see BBQ, but there are no right-or-wrong answers in BBQ. It all comes down to what you like and what tastes best to you. By no means are we saying that our way is the only way. This is just how we see BBQ and we look forward to hearing from you!