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Our Backporch

There's a reason grandma's bread always tasted better. There's a reason dad's barbecue has the best flavor. There's a reason sipping coffee with mom warms the soul. There's a reason families store traditions in their cookbooks. There's a reason we buy eggs, butter, and coffee from the people that we know. Food with a story tastes better.

Our vision for The Backporch is built on the shoulders of our family members, coffee growers, ranchers, and farmers past and present. We feel the power of tradition and we live for the stories of our food.

For as long as I can remember, family and food have gone together like butter and a fresh baked roll. Cherry pie isn't just a deliciously tart filling tucked into a perfectly baked and sugar dusted crust. Cherry pie is the memories of baking with my Great Grandma Dorothy - always a full size pie to serve and a personal size pie for us to share right away. Cooking was the core of who Grandma was. At one point or another, I figure she cooked for every person in our small town. Cooking was her passion but caring for others was her gift.

As deliciously succulent as pulled pork is, my obsession with barbecue is not born out of the flavors of rubs and sauces. It is born out of all night cooks with my dad. As a young boy, and the son of the volunteer fire chief, barbecue brings back late night memories of whole hog cooks. Until the early morning, we would stand next to a concrete pit, sharing stories, listening to the night and tending to the pig - split down the middle skewered with two steel rods, wrapped in chicken wire, regularly basted with a secret sauce, and rotated at just the right times. For an hour the next day, we would serve delicious juicy pulled pork to family and friends but those nights, I was let in on a secret that would stick with me for the rest of my life. Barbecue isn't about the food, it's about stories. It's about the process. It's about the people.

For the next decade, I watched (and tasted) as my dad would work to perfect his flavors and

his techniques rack after rack of ribs until he was confident enough to take the bold leap toward serving his food. I would see him wake up countless nights at ungodly hours to throw slabs of meet on the BBQ and tend to it for hours. He and my stepmom Mary working like a well oiled machine. They served their barbecue to thousands of people from racetracks to weddings. Primarily self taught and motivated by their natural entrepreneurial instincts, they built a reputation.

Both of my mother's grandmothers had a knack for baking. While Grandma Dorothy had her pies and breads, Grandma Funk had her cakes. With two baking giants in her blood, my mom didn't stand a chance of getting away from it. Early on, she started baking cupcakes and cakes - some traditional flavors and some new and innovative flavors. She would bake a half dozen cupcakes for an evening or a beautifully decorated three layered cake for a birthday party. She would experiment with every flavor under the sun from red velvet, stout, lemon, elderflower, and anything else she could get her hands on. One of her missions as a baker was to replicate Grandma Funk's Red Velvet cake recipe that unfortunately was never written down. She baked recipe after recipe until she was finally able to bake a batch that brought back all of the memories.

There is a reason people sit on their back porch for hours at night. Back porches around the world have always been a forum for telling stories.

The Backporch is where we tell our stories. We tell the story of my great grandmothers' baking and caring for the community. We tell the story of whole hog cookouts with my dad. We tell the story his introducing his barbecue to the world. We tell the story of my mom's finesse with cupcake flavors. We tell the story of Montana, where we eat the food that is grown and raised around us. We tell the diverse story of regional barbecue and barbecue sauces from Maryland Pit Beef to our classic Texas based sauce. We tell the story of shade grown sustainable coffee that tastes damn good. Last but not least, we tell the story of Roundup - a small town in Southeast Montana where tradition runs deep, people are resilient, we know our neighbors.

This is our story, and I have to admit, it tastes pretty damn delicious.


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