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Fat Back BBQ trolley rolls into Green

October 1, 2018
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Tavis and Noel Ross order food from the Fat Back barbecue food truck located next to Ray’s Food Place in Green on Friday.

Parked in the corner of Ray’s Food Place in Green on the weekends sits a red and yellow trolley car.

It’s no longer riding the rails of San Francisco but selling barbecue in the style of Franklin’s Barbecue from Austin, Texas.

After two years of putting every penny she had into showing off her husband’s barbecue, Stephanie Aswegen and her family opened Fat Back BBQ on Sept. 1.

She said they have sold out of their smoked brisket almost every day they’ve been open. When they don’t sell out, they take the leftovers to the Roseburg Rescue Mission.

“Every extra penny of my paycheck went into this thing,” Aswegen. “My husband has the best barbecue and I’ve been telling him that for the last five or 10 years. We’ve just been letting people try it and finally he listened to me and decided that we would try it and see what happens.”

Her husband Michael Aswegen works all night smoking the brisket for 10 to 16 hours depending on each slab while his sister Ondrea Holmes and Stephanie Aswegen operate the food truck.

“Brisket is a hard piece of meat to cook,” Stephanie Aswegen said. “It melts in your mouth. It’s not tough at all. Anyone can eat it. It is the most tender meat you will ever have. My husband’s motto is, ‘if your meat’s good enough, you don’t need sauce.’ The Aswegens bought the smoker two years ago, an initial investment of $5,000.

A few months later, they bought the trolley from a lady on Craigslist in Prineville which made another $5,000 and then renovations to the trolley. Stephanie Aswegen estimated they put at least $28,000 into the project including the trailer to tow the smoker.

Holmes said her brother has been cooking his whole life and Aswegen said he is in love with the barbecue from Franklin’s Barbecue in Austin, Texas, a restaurant known for long lines in the morning for a chance to taste the brisket before they sell out.

“Everything that Franklin does is pretty much what my husband does,” Aswegen said. “That is who he looks up too. We watch him on the barbecue champion shows and follow him through all of his pitmasters, he watches him on YouTube, he even watched how he cut it on YouTube—he follows him.”

Fat Back is a nickname Aswegen’s husband and nephew call each other, she said because they are both big men at least 6 foot tall. Michael Aswegen taught his nephew how to smoke the brisket and Stephanie Aswegen said he is moving to Roseburg to help out with the family business.

“As far as we know, nobody has the kind of brisket that we do because it takes so long to cook,” Aswegen said. “I have yet to have good brisket around here and I figured, people like barbecue.”

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