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Mobile barbecue success sets down Auburn roots

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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It all started with backyard barbecues. Then when a friend suggested Brendon Sullivan enter a barbecue competition, he did. “We had one Easy-Up (shade canopy), one ice chest and a smoker,” he said. “People were giving us a hard time because others had all that fancy equipment. We competed in the event and took first place. That was the first competition we ever entered. We have a knack for barbecue.” After that Sullivan and his wife, Meghan, started a mobile barbecue business and now they’re opening a restaurant in Auburn. Bam Dazy BBQ opens Nov. 10. It will be counter service with the emphasis on the food. “It’s a real basic menu,” Sullivan said. “You place your order and everything is made fresh daily in our cook shack smoker. We build it fresh for you right there.” The menu includes ribs, tri-tip sandwiches and smoked brats. “One of our specialties is our smoked pulled-pork sandwich,” he said. “Everything goes into the smoker. The pork is smoked for 14 hours. You’ve got to serve it the traditional way. It is on a freshly baked sourdough roll with pulled pork, sauce on top and a pickle.” All of the meats are fresh, he said. “None of it is frozen,” he said. “It’s all from Longhorn Meats in Auburn.” The name of the business comes from the Sullivans’ two Boston terriers. “Our mascot logo, shirt, signs, my truck — everything has Boston terriers on it,” Sullivan said. “We’re big dog people. My father was with the San Francisco Police Department for 39 years in the canine unit. We were raised with dogs all our lives.” Barbecue is a family passion. While Sullivan’s specialty is cooking, Meghan creates the sauces, rubs and injections. “She does a hog glaze sauce and she does her blackberry sauce for chicken,” he said. “She also does a root beer sauce for the tri-tip.” Meghan Sullivan creates the sides as well, including beer-batter onion rings, potato salad, cole slaw and baked beans. In fact the two get a little competitive. “She thinks her ribs are better than mine, so we compete against each other,” he said. “She can beat me in the sauce category, but I beat her in the barbecue category.” Even son, Aidan, 8, loves the whole process. “He’s doing a junior barbecue competition,” Sullivan said. “He’s taken second place in a kids’ barbecue. He won $50 and got a trophy. He has his eye on a smoker he wants his dad to buy.” When Sullivan decided to open a barbecue business, he headed to Georgia where he attended Jack’s Old South cooking school. Jack’s Old South is known for its appearances on TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters show. Since completing the training, the Sullivans have been entering Kansas City Barbecue Society competitions around the state. They’ve had their mobile barbecue company for about a year. “We do special events,” Sullivan said. “We’ll travel anywhere to do any event. No job is too big or small. We smoke them all.” One of the jobs they’ve particularly enjoyed was a contract at the Green Horn Campground on Rollins Lake near Grass Valley. “It was a barbecue night every Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m., so that was awesome,” Sullivan said. “That was all by word of mouth. We were doing barbecue for 250 people every Wednesday night at the campground.” Emma Lujan, president of C&E Auburn V-Twin, is looking forward to having Bam Dazy BBQ as a neighbor. “He has catered some events for us,” she said. “His food his real clean and it’s wonderful.” Her personal favorites are the chicken and the beans. “The beans are just great,” she said. “You want to keep eating them.” For Sullivan, owning the business is about the people as much as the food. “I like cooking for other people and I love eating barbecue,” he said. “But what I enjoy most is making this food for other people to enjoy. I love sharing this barbecue with other people.” Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com.