About

Saddleback BBQ is Lansing, Michigan's premier craft BBQ joint. We feature authentic Southern BBQ with a unique Midwestern flair.  We smoke all of our meats on site in our multiple reverse-flow, wood-fed smokers. We use a mixture of hardwoods sourced from the mid-Michigan area, which includes, Apple, Cherry, and Hickory.  Our first restaurant location opened in REO Town, Lansing, Michigan on June 9, 2015.  In September of 2017, we were proud to open our second location in Okemos, Michigan.  

Saddleback BBQ was the dream of the owner-operator, Matt Gillett.  Matt spent more than half his life working in the food industry. He spent more than a decade at one of the premier restaurants in Lansing, Dusty’s Cellar. Matt served as Assistant General Manager where he found a passion for making customers happy through food.  

Matt had a passion for BBQ from a young age, but he never considered himself more than a hobbyist.  Never one to be idle, Matt wanted to try his hand at a BBQ competition. Matt and his friend, Josh Lane, packed up and headed to Georgia to buy his very first Smoker from competitive pit master, Lonnie Smith.  While they were in Georgia, they teamed up with Smith, entered a competition and won Grand Prize.  That’s when Matt knew he was hooked and his life was going to take a turn towards BBQ.

Matt returned to the Lansing area and began offering catering events on the side while still performing his duties at Dusty’s Cellar. Matt started testing different business models including a fundraising model that he entered into The Hatching, a local business plan competition that he ended up losing. Not dissuaded, Matt pressed on performing more caterings.

One of those Caterings was the Launched Celebration of Entrepreneurship in Old Town held by his friends, Jason Meyers and Nick Chilenko.  One of the attendee’s at the event was Travis Stoliker and his fiancé, Laken.  Laken and Travis both loved Matt’s food, and this began a discussion about Matt providing the catering for their upcoming wedding.  

Matt and Travis began discussing the details of the wedding and Matt casually mentioned that he was interested in opening a BBQ restaurant.  Travis was in the process of exiting a tech company and was looking for exciting investment opportunities. Travis and Matt, having known each other for nearly a decade, quickly decided that they would work together and launch a BBQ restaurant.  

Matt began his mission to find a suitable storefront. He soon discovered the Vintage Cafe owned by Kate Medrano had been beautifully remodeled and was for sale in an up and coming area of Lansing called “REO Town”. Considered the birthplace of the commercial automobile in the United States, REO Town is named after Ransom Eli Olds, an automobile pioneer, for whom both the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named.  Matt and Travis both knew this was a perfect place to launch Saddleback BBQ. Within three weeks of entering the building, Matt and Travis opened Saddleback BBQ - REO Town.

Saddleback BBQ REO Town is a small 31 seat restaurant with a few picnic tables outside provided by our friends at the REO Town Commercial Association. The restaurant features two permanent reverse flow smokers fueled by Michigan hardwoods. We keep the menu small and completely made from scratch.  Our meats are smoked overnight and can take up to 12 hours to produce. Low and Slow is our motto.  We have a staff member on site monitoring the smokers nearly 24 hours a day.

In addition to our focus on the best possible food, we are commitment to providing remarkable customer service.  We are blessed with some of the best staff in the industry, and you will notice the pride they take in their jobs from the moment you walk in the door.

We have a few special days that we like to celebrate. Tuesday is our #RespectThePig day where you can get a pulled pork sandwich and fries for $10. Wednesday is one of our most popular days. It’s the day we pay homage to the great Wu-Tang Clan. On Wu-Wing-Wednesday we feature our jumbo wings smoked then flash fried and covered with our Killer Bee’s Sauce. Fridays are for Burnt Ends. Considered a delicacy in the BBQ world. Throughout the week we save up the flavorful cuts from the point of the smoked brisket. We then smoke them and toss them in our house-made Red Sauce.

Although we serve our meats dry and not drenched in sauce, the way we think BBQ should be, no BBQ restaurant would be complete without some awesome sauce options. Saddleback BBQ features 3 made from scratch sauces.  The Saddleback Red Sauce is a more traditional BBQ Sauce. It is our most popular sauce and it is also the sweetest.  Our Yellow Sauce has a Mustard base, Apple Cider, Vinegar and black pepper spice note.  The Saddleback Vinegar Sauce pays tribute to one of the great Michigan products, Vernor’s. We reduce 6 two liters of Vernors down to a simple syrup. We cut it with Apple cider Vinegar, add ketchup, Sriracha, red pepper flake and other spices.

We love to keep things interesting. So, throughout the week it is not unusual for us to have a Daily Special of something unique the chefs were inspired to create.  Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, or you can sign up for Text Message Alerts to ensure you never miss one!

Of course, we stay true to the roots where Matt began. We offer complete Catering services for homecomings, weddings, graduation parties, corporate events and much more. From a few boxed lunches to reward your staff, all the way up to 300 hundred person weddings with on site servers - we would be proud to serve your special event.  

Contact
Catering or General info: info@saddlebackbbq.com
Owner Operator, Matthew Gillett: matthew@saddlebackbbq.com
Co-Owner Travis Stoliker: travis@saddlebackbbq.com

Address
1147 S. Washington
Lansing, MI 48910

Phone
(517) 253-7556