It’s hard to accept, but summer is coming to an end. That means we’ll soon be ditching shorts for pants, raking leaves rather than soaking up the sun, and switching out cold brews for pumpkin spice lattes. But with a recent restaurant opening, there’s one quintessential summer dish we won’t have to give up: smoky, glazed barbecue.
This July, Mission BBQ opened its first Michigan location in Troy. From the corner of East Big Beaver and Rochester roads, the joint serves moist Texas-inspired brisket, slow-smoked pulled pork, and baby back ribs. All the meats are served dry so that patrons can taste-test the six homemade sauces, which includes Bay-B-Que, inspired by Maryland beach cookouts, and Memphis Belle, a sweet and salty concoction. Must-order sides include the mouth-watering baked beans, Maggie’s rich Mac-N-Cheese, and the fresh cut fries.
Central to Mission BBQ’s aim is giving back to those who have defended, and continue to defend, our country. The owners, Bill Kraus and Steve Newton, were so shaken by the tragedy of September 11, they wanted to honor the men and women, fire fighters, police officers, and soldiers that rescued thousands of Americans from the crumbling structures that were once the World Trade Towers. Precisely ten years later, the duo opened their first Mission BBQ in Baltimore’s Glen Burnie suburb. And their mission is visible in every nook and corner of the space. Upon entry, diners are met with countless framed portraits of army veterans and first responders, shrouded under the smoke of the collision. Mission BBQ is a restaurant first, but it is also, and somewhat intentionally, a museum dedicated to the efforts of servicemen. Every day, at noon, employees halt service to play the National Anthem.
Newt and Kraus’ mission to celebrate patriotism through American cuisine has taken them across the country. Today, the restaurant has 50 locations throughout the United States, most of them located in the South. When I visited earlier this week on the 17th anniversary of 9/11, veterans, spanning generations, and two fire trucks suspending an American flag, were present at the Troy location. It was hard not to feel like a proud American.
890 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-340-3860. L & D daily.