The BBQ Bus is an 18-foot, bright yellow barbecue pit on wheels, which operates in and around Washington DC. It is the brainchild of husband-and-husband team, Che and Tad Ruddell-Tabisola.
This dynamic duo moved to DC from California following a stint in Brussels. Once there, Tad pursued one of his personal goals: to attend culinary school. A few years later, he was a graduate of The Art Institute of Washington.
In April of 2011 they opened BBQ Bus primarily because of their love of cooking and sharing of good times with family & friends. Their mission is to share those passions with others by bringing great-tasting food to the streets of Washington DC. Every dish they make comes from their own recipes, is prepared fresh, served fast & friendly. While Tad typically dons the chef’s hat, Che leads the team’s marketing and branding efforts.
So why did the two California transplants decide to center their menu on barbecue? “It’s a food you gather around,” says Che, of the pork and chicken they’ll offer with at least three different types of homemade barbecue sauce. “You don’t [eat] it alone. We loved the idea of building a community around food.” Plus, adds Tad: “I like to joke that I don’t know how to make anything in small batches.”
Tad describes the menu as “very collaborative.” Starting with base recipes, he would go through various renditions of each one, adding and subtracting ingredients after taste tests, taking meticulous notes along the way.
When it comes to barbecue they know what they’re doing. The meats they serve are tender, juicy and loaded with flavor; however their style of barbecue cannot be pinned to any particular regional variant.
The menu is substantial to say the least. They carry all types of combination plates, sandwiches, meat by the pound, as well as their sides. Any of the sandwiches, which come with two sides, are flavorful and filling enough to be a lunch or dinner option.
While the meats they sell are consistently well rated, some of the sides receive even better reviews. Their potato salad is reminiscent of something your grandmother would make, and according to Tad, “It’s my grandmother’s recipe.” (see, it is…go figure)
The silent stars of the show are the BBQ bus beans and their chili. The beans are sweet, spicy and smoky without being too over powering. The chili is an earthy blend of black beans, kidney beans, white beans, corn, onions, peppers, chilies and tomatoes.
So what makes a Barbecue food truck amazing? Is it the food? Is it the story behind the food? Is the atmosphere it provides?
That’s simple, it is everything and BBQ Bus has it all.
One more thing you must understand about these food truck owners, they aren’t on the streets of DC just looking out for themselves. In addition to their passion with barbecue both Tad and Che are very passionate about giving back to their community. They participate in Deals for Deeds and Che is the current President of the DC Food Truck Association.
The BBQ Bus food truck can be found around Washington DC and its surrounding neighborhoods throughout the week.
The BBQ Bus sampler, which includes pulled pork, chicken and brisket, beans, coleslaw and a roll. Make sure you add in the extra 5 dollars to get one of their quarter rack of ribs. Oh, and don’t miss the No. 5 sauce – you might buy a bottle to take home.
What their fans have said:
“The pulled pork and brisket are OUTSTANDING. So much so that about once every 4-6 weeks I buy a pound of it for weekend dinners and lunch. It’s the only food truck I’ve ever bought from with the intent of bringing it home to enjoy for the next few days.” Ken R. – Alexandria, VA