The Story of Pickens' Place
Pickens' Place is the realization of a dream that started more than a decade ago and a journey that has taken us all across the country.
In the great state of Texas, outdoor BBQ grills, and smokers are common place. It's not an unusual thing to spend the weekend enjoying delicious food with family and friends. We pride ourselves on open doors and genuinely welcoming attitudes. Really, the only thing that we hold near and dear when it comes to food is the secret that makes it ours.
It was with this mindset that two best friends, each with the only grills they could afford, began to try their hand at creating that signature flavor; they taught themselves not only the art of grilling but the skill that is smoking. Like most beginnings, these lessons were heavy with failure and little in the way of successes. Food was, sadly, wasted both over and under cooked, too gently or heavily seasoned and a few that even the dogs wouldn't touch. However, through trial and error, research and patience, and a total and complete love of Texas BBQ, their skills became more refined and their food consistently edible...Now was the time to create the flavor.
Of course, at this point, the good Lord saw fit to relocate one of these friends to the greater Northwest and just like that, a true Texas boy found himself and his young family completely on their own right outside the heart of Seattle, Washington. Not really knowing where to start and having no idea how they were going to create a place that they could call home, this boy and his wife did the one thing they know how to do...With his best friend still in Texas, his partner in Holy matrimony would now have to be his partner in the sacred art of smoking meat. As it so happens, this was a match made in heaven as he was truly becoming a master smoker and she loved nothing more than opening her doors to anybody and everybody they knew.
In no time at all it was a regular occurrence to have a group of 15-25 for dinner. The idea that this passion could become a career started to take shape. There was talk of food trucks, restaurants, and menus. Texas BBQ was in short supply and this seemed like the perfect fit. That of course, is when the other shoe dropped, and the Pickens family found themselves headed back to Texas.
So, true to form this boy and his wife repeated the process of making great BBQ and opening their doors, and just like Washington, their home was always packed with good food and good friends. New BBQ enthusiasts were found here, and another strong friendship was formed. Late nights with kids running through the house, mommas sharing glasses of wine, and the guys in the kitchen making a million different rubs to try on several different cuts of meat became the standard Friday night fair and just like before, the talks of a restaurant began to stir, and plans began to form. It should come as no surprise that once again, the family was called to another city, this time in New Mexico. The process of food and open doors was naturally put into play and it never failed to create a sense of community.
The merry-go-round of relocation finally landed this Texas family in Illinois and with little to no effort they felt as if they were home. The neighborhood was friendly and welcoming, and the sense of community was already in place. All they had to do was simply fire up the smoker! They knew full well that they were going to love it here. And so, one cool and somewhat rainy night, after spending the day enjoying delicious food, amazing friends, and not ready to wind it down, the neighbors gathered in the Pickens’ garage and Pickens’ Place was born…
Now we are ready to share it with you. We hope that you not only love the food, but the atmosphere it creates as well… it is food that is meant to be shared. We want to invite you to be a part of our story and maybe even to start some stories of your own!
Lots of Love,