Smoke’n Dudes BBQ Company
Weekend hobby turns into full-time business
By Shannon Christine
When someone is hungry for a delicious barbecue meal, Pennsylvania is probably not the state that leaps into mind as the country’s go-to BBQ destination. However, that may be just the stroke of luck that has allowed a small yet evolving barbecue company to thrive in Bensalem. Smoke’n Dudes BBQ Company started in the 1990s as a weekend hobby for four buddies looking for something to fill their time. “We all love to eat and be outside, so barbecue seemed a natural fit for us,” says founder Tom Christine. “Little did we know that this hobby would eventually turn into a full-time business.”
As the Smoke’n Dudes BBQ competition team made its rounds in local festivals, fans kept asking how they could purchase their food. This helped to launch the idea that perhaps the team was onto something a bit larger than a pastime. With son Bill Christine, who studied at the Culinary Institute of America, and wife Barb Christine at his side, Tom decided to take the plunge. In addition to competing, the crew began to vend at BBQ contests and festivals up and down the east coast, as well as plan for an eventual barbecue restaurant. In addition to the restaurant, the Christines began catering area weddings, parties, and corporate picnics.
“Barbecue is food that brings people together. Everyone has had the typical catered buffet meals, but with Smoke’n Dudes, guests were being treated to something homey and unique,” says Bill Christine, when asked what makes barbecue perfect for gatherings. And their customers would agree. Many have remarked that they haven’t had barbecue this satisfying outside of the South, which this family takes as a high level compliment indeed.
Now that this family and barbecue company has checked off the competing, vending, serving, and catering markets on their list, what is there left to do? In one word: plenty. Never a family to shy away from a new venture, the Christines embarked on a mission to fulfill a need that they saw developing in the BBQ industry. In 2012, they built a USDA inspected meat packaging facility and launched Tasty Little Pigs, a division dedicated to custom spec and private label packaging for barbecue restaurants and festival vendors. Barbecuers looking to fulfill their dream of taking their food to market need to look no further than Tasty Little Pigs.
“We work with customers who would like to develop their recipes but don’t have the facility or the means to package their food in compliance with USDA regulations,” explains Bill Christine, who heads up the meat processing facility. “And then we have another customer group who purchases our food, and we package it with their label.” Smaller scale operations who couldn’t get their food into markets and stores before, are now able to do so with the assistance of Tasty Little Pigs. Bill Christine had the foresight to envision the evolution of Smoke’n Dudes from restaurant to an expanded, full service packaging and sales establishment.
Another piece of the BBQ business that Smoke’n Dudes is enthusiastic about servicing is with its own competitors. It may sound counterintuitive to help fellow barbecue rivals, but it really is all about the access. Smoke’n Dudes has committed themselves to providing BBQ teams with the ability to purchase sauces and rubs that are consistently award-winners. They also sell competition grade meats, such as Wagyu beef and Duroc and Berkshire pork, which is often difficult for the average barbecuer to acquire. In addition to the meats, sauces, spices, and rubs, Smoke’n Dudes is a dealer for Kamado Joe, Green Mountain Grills, Meadow Creek and Southern Pride.
Tucker Christine, Office Manager, shared the Smoke’n Dudes BBQ Company vision in straightforward fashion, “What we set out to do is to provide a one-stop-shop in supplying any barbecuer with the tools, equipment, and food products that will set him or her apart from the rest. We can help every level of barbecuer, from the amateur backyard variety all the way up to the professionals.”
While this family owned and operated business is pushing others in barbecue to excellence, they haven’t lost sight of their own upward climb. This spring Bill Christine is set to offer the first of his cooking class series, which will continue at the restaurant in Bensalem. Both Bill and the rest of the crew (Barb, Tom, and Tucker) look forward to sharing the passion and dedication of the Smoke’n Dudes BBQ Company, as they are positioned to take their business to the next level. This is certainly lucky news for nationwide teams and customers, who would like to join them in making “the best barbecue you’ll ever have.”
The Christines invite you to stop over to see them at the Smoke’n Dudes BBQ Company, located at 3400 Neshaminy Blvd., Bensalem, PA 19020, when you are in the area, especially on the weekend for “Saturday Samples.” If you can’t make it to Bensalem, in the meantime satisfy your BBQ cravings by visiting them at https://www.smokendudesbbq.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SmokenDudes/. Sign up for the newsletter or mobile updates on the website and be sure to like them on Facebook in order to keep up with their latest product news and special events and promotions.
Photos courtesy of Smoke’n Dudes Barbecue Company