Street Eatin'

Truck Stop: Paul and Tom Raney of Raney Brothers BBQ

"Our Cajun meatloaf grinder will make you do the happy dance," say the siblings from Spokane.

By Christopher Werner November 23, 2011

The BBQ bros, Paul and Tom Raney.

In Truck Stop, we meet the folks at the wheel of Seattle’s food trucks.

Curbside barbecue is something we’re seeing more of, thanks in part to a pair of Spokane siblings with a wicked knack for slow-smoked meats.

Paul and Tom Raney grew up in eastern Washington but would call Seattle home at varying times, Paul after attending Washington State University, Tom after high school. Paul then spent three years bartending in Redondo Beach before shacking up here for good; his brother more recently returned.

Together they aspired to open a restaurant but like many stock portfolios that idea flatlined. "We looked for the right brick-and-mortar for nearly a year. Without being able to get a traditional loan through banks, credit unions, or the SBA, the only way to get things ‘rolling’ was via a mobile kitchen."

In August their truck Raney Brothers BBQ debuted—unmistakable, with its chummy porcine logo flanking the side.

Here, Paul and Tom pull over the pig-mobile for a few questions.

What item sells out first? Pulled pork is our most requested. It’s hand pulled, not chopped.

What else should I try? Our Cajun meatloaf grinder. It is not a "hot, spicy" sandwich, but one with a great flavor. The spice combination in the grilled meatloaf and our homemade marinara sauce, topped with grilled onions and melted cheese on an artisan potato roll, will make you do the happy dance.

If you could park anywhere in the city, where would it be? We would love to have a location near the stadiums on Occidental before Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders games.

Where do your recipes come from? Some come from family members, some we have developed on our own, and some from looking up recipes for a certain item then coming up with our own combination of what we think are the best parts.

What item will you never reveal the recipe for? Uncle Pauly’s Dry Rub. This we put on all of our smoked meats. It took Paul many years and a lot of trials (and money) to get it perfect.

Best part of the city relaxing street food regulations: Raney Brothers was the first truck to get approval to sell on a public street. The biggest benefit is knowing we have a spot waiting for us, we don’t have to waste time looking for a spot that would accommodate our big truck.

What would you still like to change about the regulations? The way the city has it right now is a huge gamble. You must find the exact location, apply for it, and if approved, pay for it up front including the full year of parking fees—without a trial period. I think the city would have a lot more trucks applying and paying for street space if they offered a two-to-four week trial to evaluate if the location is profitable.

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