Local food truck now serving up their incredible barbecue at new brick-and-mortar restaurant location
By Jillian Chandler
Sean and Katie Smith have had the pleasure of calling Sandpoint home for the past seven years. Prior to relocating to the area, Sean—who has loved the world of barbecue for as long as he can remember—moved from a small town in Upstate New York to the Rockies in 2006, drawn by his love for the mountains and adventure. He worked in Human Resources in Colorado, Montana and Idaho, though he always longed to work for himself. Katie, who is from a Northern California farming family, moved to Missoula to attend college in late 2009. Not only did she fall in love with the mountains and rivers but the people and the culture. She worked in Emergency Animal Care during her tenure in Montana.
In 2015, Sean and Katie would cross paths while both living in Western Montana. Shortly after meeting, Sean moved to Sandpoint for a job with Litehouse Foods, and Katie followed suit the following summer. You may know Katie from her work at Pend d’Oreille Winery and more recently as the beer/wine buyer at Winter Ridge Natural Foods. Beer and wine have been a passion of hers, and she is always excited to talk wine with others.
So, what inspired them to open a food truck specializing in barbecue? “We both have always enjoyed the art of craft food. And honestly, we couldn’t find what we craved in the area, so we created it!” Katie reflects. “Sean frequented any barbecue joint, or festival, he could find growing up, and anywhere he lived or traveled to. I grew up with less of a barbecue influence and more of a seasonal, fresh food influence, with a heavy dose of tri-tip. After we met, we attended multiple barbecue competitions, festivals, and Blue, Brews and Barbecue events together. This sparked years of backyard barbecue trials before we made the jump to opening the food truck and owning our own business.”
In 2020, after eight months of building it themselves, Smokesmith Bar-B-Que made its debut. Their first pop-up event was at their soon-to-be restaurant (formerly The Longshot). “Now, three years later, we just finished up the final touches of our brick-and-mortar restaurant right in time for summer,” smiles Katie. The restaurant will be open to the public sometime in July.
Smokesmith prides itself in only using live fire with real hardwood to smoke their food—never propane or pellets. Additionally, they always use their own proprietary blend of spices (without sugar) to rub their meats. Lastly, no sauce is added to their meat unless it’s requested—if at all. “We prioritize the true flavor of hardwood smoke and slow cooking,” affirms Sean.
The menu features craft barbecue including brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, tri-tip, chicken, as well as additional proteins. Pair your meats with rotating traditional and crafted sides such as beans, coleslaw, mac and cheese or potato salad.
“We love to share our passion for craft barbecue with the community,” says Sean. “From talking to current Smokesmith fans about their favorites, to meeting new Smokesmith fans and sharing our process, it’s so rewarding to share our love for what we do with everyone!”
The Smiths are truly grateful for the people who have supported them over the years and know they could not experience the success they’ve seen without them. “We would not be where we are today without the support of our amazing community,” the couple agrees. “We are amazed, every day, at the encouragement we receive from members of this awesome area.”
Fun fact: Since opening the business in 2020, Katie and Sean got married and took off on a 9,000-mile road trip for their honeymoon to explore barbecue across the country. Since then, they have taken multiple trips to Texas to further learn the craft from those who do it best!
102 South Boyer Avenue