Michiana's Menu: How Bill's Bar-B-Que changes the game of barbecue

Michiana’s Menu: How Bill’s Bar-B-Que changes the game of barbecue

ELKHART, Ind. -- Lexington, Kansas City, Memphis, all cities that make you think barbecue.  But here in Elkhart, Bill’s Barbecue brings a new category of low and slow cooking…introducing “Michiana Style barbecue” 

“My dad started the business when I was about 12 or 13 years old, he actually, our first smoker he won it in a poker game," says Bill Lee, Owner of Bill's Bar-B-Que.

In 1983, Bill’s father opened up the first location of Bill’s Barbecue on the corner of Indiana and Franklin. Bill woke up three hours before school to start cleaning and prepping for his dad’s restaurant. 

“We lived on Chapman street, which is in the housing development projects. To go from that to my parents busting their butt, putting me in private school for a few years, giving me every opportunity.”

Despite a successful, multi-generational family business, Bill eventually separated from his father’s restaurant to create his own future. 

“It was one of those times they put the sign up on the board says Bills Barbecue, that’s my sign me and my wife’s sign, I am not under my dad’s umbrella that’s mine.”

Eventually, Bill went from staring to starving and decided to start whipping up recipes in the kitchen. Everyday Bill brings his “a game” to the restaurant. A combination of strong work ethic and the pursuit of perfect cooking—two qualities instilled in him by his dad.

“He looks me dead in the eye and says every day is my super bowl and didn’t blink. I approach it with that mindset, every day is the biggest day I am going to have,” says Bill. “My son did a ton of research and found the popular ways to prepare this stuff in Texas so we incorporated this, people like to ask if it is Kansas City style, we say it is Michiana style”  

Bill’s son, Bill Junior, works with Bill in the kitchen, carrying on the family tradition.

“We take Barbecue seriously,” says William. “It is one of our slogans but it is me, my brother, and dad putting in 100%” 

As for Bill, he hopes his success, inspires people from all backgrounds. 

“There are still a lot of challenges we have in this country. But we have come farther than we were. We still have more to go. But I think I am an example of where hard work can get you,” says Bill.   

For further information about Bill's Bar-B-Que, visit here. 

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