Head to Nine Mile Falls for real Texas BBQ, good espresso and beautiful scenery

For Rod Smith, owner of BIG ROD’S TEXAS BBQ, business this year has been better than ever.

“Each year is getting bigger and bigger. If you have a good product, people are going to come, and that’s what’s happening,” Smith says.

Smith, who grew up in Tyler, Texas, decided to start up the food truck in the Nine Mile Falls area in 2016. The ex-football player took an interest in BBQ, and says the area needed a real taste of Texas BBQ.

“A lot of people say ‘Texas BBQ,’ but what they don’t realize is it’s all about smoking the meat, not the sauce,” Smith says. “Kansas City is about the sauce. Carolina is the sauce and slaw. Texas is just about smoked meat. You smoke it for 22-30 hours like I do, and it’s true Texas BBQ and you really don’t need sauce on a lot of this stuff.”

Smith knows his way around smoked meat, but he says his most popular menu item is probably the baked beans. He puts pulled pork that’s been smoked for six hours, he says, and it can be a meal of its own.

“Everybody talks about the beans,” he says.

The food truck usually sets up at the NINE MILE STORE, but Smith will also cater weddings or occasionally move to a place like RIVER RIDGE HARDWARE in Spokane. Make sure to catch it before he closes down for the winter in November.

Another great option for takeout in Nine Mile Falls is THE TIN CUP CAFE. Owners Blaine and Dee Singlestar owned the cafe, just across from Sontag Park, for less than a year before the pandemic hit. But since April, Blaine Singlestar says business hasn’t been too bad. It helps that there’s a yard and patio with plenty of outside seating.

“There can’t be a more beautiful setting,” he says.

Head there for one of their eight burgers, including Blaine’s favorite, the BarnBuster with bacon, eggs, ham and cheese. Also choose from other classics like chicken strips, deli roast beef and a philly. An added bonus: The Singlestars owned the former Otis Joe Espresso in Otis Orchards, so you can get the same tasty espresso here if you have missed out.

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