Life Behind the Highlight Real

Ep 54: How a Long-Bearded Bass-Playing High School Dropout Became Minnesota's BBQ Boss! The Journey of Aaron Bourdage

February 06, 2023 Sarah Huffman & William Huffman Season 2 Episode 54
Ep 54: How a Long-Bearded Bass-Playing High School Dropout Became Minnesota's BBQ Boss! The Journey of Aaron Bourdage
Life Behind the Highlight Real
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Life Behind the Highlight Real
Ep 54: How a Long-Bearded Bass-Playing High School Dropout Became Minnesota's BBQ Boss! The Journey of Aaron Bourdage
Feb 06, 2023 Season 2 Episode 54
Sarah Huffman & William Huffman

Aaron Bourdage is the owner of Northern Fire Grilling and BBQ Supply, a local barbecue shop in Minnetonka. Northern Fire Grilling and BBQ Supply offers everything you need for grilling and barbecue, including meats, seafood, rubs, over 100 sauces, grills, smokers, and heavy equipment for those serious about their grilling. 

Aaron was born in Duluth, Minnesota, but his family moved around a lot, including Colorado and New Mexico. His father was a Marlboro Man and a pilot and owned a classic car dealership in Farmington, New Mexico. Aaron's house was next to a dirt runway, surrounded by classic cars and airplanes. He spent his childhood riding anything with an engine. 

Today, Aaron will share the story of his youth, including moving out of the house at 16, moving to Minnesota at 20, touring with his band, and finally meeting the love of his life and opening the BBQ shop. 

This is definitely part 1 of Aaron's fun story. 


2:58: Aaron was born in Duluth but ended up in Farmington, New Mexico, surrounded by cars and airplanes... cool. 

6:08 A shithead in elementary school. 

9:05 Why is his life like "Smokey and the Bandit."

11:40 Time for some pickin' on the banjo

12:38 He switched to bass for the band

14:11 Mom used to take us to the gun store

21:09 Why college was never in the picture

22:00 Why and when did he quit high school

32:50 The move back to Minnesota, and the band grows

45:42 Time to figure things out after Tracy gets pregnant

46:32 Evan was born, and Aaron's world changed. 

47:44 How his love for BBQ started and how the shop opened

49:47 How he met Missy4

53:11 How he takes care of his long beard

1:03:28 Sarah's favorite device from Aaron's store

1:05:19 Aaron's advice for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur

Aaron runs Northern Fire Grilling & BBQ Supply. Reach out to them at

Show Notes Transcript

Aaron Bourdage is the owner of Northern Fire Grilling and BBQ Supply, a local barbecue shop in Minnetonka. Northern Fire Grilling and BBQ Supply offers everything you need for grilling and barbecue, including meats, seafood, rubs, over 100 sauces, grills, smokers, and heavy equipment for those serious about their grilling. 

Aaron was born in Duluth, Minnesota, but his family moved around a lot, including Colorado and New Mexico. His father was a Marlboro Man and a pilot and owned a classic car dealership in Farmington, New Mexico. Aaron's house was next to a dirt runway, surrounded by classic cars and airplanes. He spent his childhood riding anything with an engine. 

Today, Aaron will share the story of his youth, including moving out of the house at 16, moving to Minnesota at 20, touring with his band, and finally meeting the love of his life and opening the BBQ shop. 

This is definitely part 1 of Aaron's fun story. 


2:58: Aaron was born in Duluth but ended up in Farmington, New Mexico, surrounded by cars and airplanes... cool. 

6:08 A shithead in elementary school. 

9:05 Why is his life like "Smokey and the Bandit."

11:40 Time for some pickin' on the banjo

12:38 He switched to bass for the band

14:11 Mom used to take us to the gun store

21:09 Why college was never in the picture

22:00 Why and when did he quit high school

32:50 The move back to Minnesota, and the band grows

45:42 Time to figure things out after Tracy gets pregnant

46:32 Evan was born, and Aaron's world changed. 

47:44 How his love for BBQ started and how the shop opened

49:47 How he met Missy4

53:11 How he takes care of his long beard

1:03:28 Sarah's favorite device from Aaron's store

1:05:19 Aaron's advice for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur

Aaron runs Northern Fire Grilling & BBQ Supply. Reach out to them at

Aaron Bourdage  0:00  
James well we're ever going to try to grow beard look like a like a It's not it's not good a teenage boy

William Huffman  0:05  
yes I literally a teenage little more it's it's bad it's not good

Unknown Speaker  0:09  

Aaron Bourdage  0:10  
you know I keep growing the hair on my head so

William Huffman  0:29  
everybody William here and Sara Edie Darren so today we're here with Aaron and Aaron is a friend who owns a local barbecue shop so let's get that like that plug the plug get the plug out of the way. Yeah, so tell me about your barbecue shop real quick.

Aaron Bourdage  0:45  
Northern fire grilling and barbecue supply we we kind of tried to do we tried to check every box for grilling and barbecue so you guys I feel like you do yeah am I telling you guys this you know all too well. So meats seafoods 150 robes over 100 sauces, grills smokers heavy equipment everything you can think of pizza ovens. Yeah, all the top everything you guys have in your yard.

Aaron Bourdage  1:13  
Basically there's a yearly delivery of some kind to our house.

William Huffman  1:16  
Yeah, and this year it will be the new outside kitchen.

Aaron Bourdage  1:18  
No will Yes. That was

Aaron Bourdage  1:21  
like that idea. Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  1:22  
gotta set a goal for that. I'm

Aaron Bourdage  1:24  

William Huffman  1:24  
I have set that goal for that. That goal is for the outside kitchen.

Aaron Bourdage  1:28  
Well anyway, so Aaron, if they wanted to find your barbecue shop this where would they go?

Aaron Bourdage  1:34  
So we're leaving it on in Minnetonka. But when people think about Minnetonka they think of like, towards the lake and we're not we're I was telling somebody today we're like 200 yards away from Hopkins. We're about 200 yards away from Eden Prairie. We're actually in Minnetonka. So we're just north of Highway 62 on Shady Grove in sundial center. So yo yo donuts scoreboard,

Aaron Bourdage  1:57  
the popcorn shop.

Aaron Bourdage  1:58  
Yeah, popcorn. So upgrade popcorn. They just did us a favor and moved down the couple doors so that we get more space. But yeah, PowerPoint is awesome. Seuss amazing. So yeah, I think I live on popcorn and Coors Light at this point.

William Huffman  2:13  
It's not a bad life. kind of doctor would probably disagree. Is that how you get it grow a beard? Coors Light and popcorn.

Aaron Bourdage  2:20  
I don't know. I don't know. It's a winning. I don't I don't know how this happened. I don't know how she let me get away with it.

Aaron Bourdage  2:27  
Well, I have a question. When did the beard growing stock hold

William Huffman  2:30  
out? No. Back I have a question. No, no,

Aaron Bourdage  2:34  
we got somebody who doesn't grow any hair. Okay, this

William Huffman  2:37  
is leave me alone. I am not a part of this conversation here. I'm gonna I'm gonna ask the questions that these subjects

Aaron Bourdage  2:42  
will we're ever going to try to grow beard. Not really look like a like a It's not

William Huffman  2:46  
it's not good. A teenage boy. Yes. I like a teenage little more.

Aaron Bourdage  2:50  
It's it's bad. It's not good.

Aaron Bourdage  2:51  
Yeah. Yeah. You know, I can't grow any hair on my head. So

Aaron Bourdage  2:56  
yeah, we all have something. It works.

William Huffman  2:58  
It works. All right. So tell us about you. Like where were you born? Where did you grow up? You know, don't say I was born here. And then I went to high school and college like, you know, tell us tell us as much as you want to share college. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  3:13  
All right. We'll get to that part. So I was born in Duluth, Minnesota. So but I think I was there for about a half a minute. But my older brother was born there. I was born there. And my dad. He was from Denver, and he hated Minnesota winters. So especially to live ones. Yeah. So my mom and dad No, wait, I'm sorry. My my dad was from Minnesota. Let me get this right. My mom's in. Listen this and like. My mom is from Denver. My dad was from Minnesota, but he always hated winters. So but he had a small business up in Minnesota and after I came along, for whatever reason, my dad I was called him the Marlboro Man. He's since gone, but because he was the Marlboro Man, but he, he always wanted to be in the country. So we we moved from Minnesota to Denver. We're in Denver for a hot minute and then we moved to a place called Farmington, New Mexico, but actually laplata is where our house was with his business was in Farmington. And he sold classic cars. My his, his Carla was known as year round car shell, which was sweet when you're a kid. Because you know, we had nothing but classics and you know, novellas and Chevelles and Corvettes and T buckets and Roadsters. And it was awesome. But we grew up our houses in La Plata in New Mexico, just south of Durango, Colorado, and we had we had a dirt runway next to my house my dad had he was a pilot, so we had, you know, wow, airplanes. Yeah, yeah. So we would jump in, get out. It was nuts. We would jump on my dad. It was it was crazy. Looking back we

Aaron Bourdage  4:53  
thought you love Darren before. Like going to have more crushes. Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  4:57  
it's so funny. When you're a kid. You're here. You know, sorry kids, but you're an idiot. You don't know how 100% All you want is what you don't have. Yeah, the whole time I grew up, you know, my nearest neighbor was like a mile away. You know, so you're friends with whoever your neighbors with. And my, my buddy, Joe, Dan was, you know, he was my neighbor, but it was just, you're out there with just whoever you ride the school bus with, right? It was miles to school. So. So anyway, it was yeah, it was awesome. We had motorcycles and do buggies and airplanes. And you know, every day I get home and not do my homework and because all these activities Oh, yeah, yeah, shoot guns. I mean, that was just the Bureau of Land Management land is right, basically next to where we lived. So BLM land if you've never heard of it, it's just wide open space. It's owned by the government because nobody wants it. It's just dirt. So yeah, if you have a motorcycle, or you ride a horse, and it's just like, God's country, it's like, right, this take off and come back later. And you know, it's awesome. So yeah. So we did that. Until I got into oh, gosh, high school, junior high school.

William Huffman  6:08  
Okay, now hold on, hold on. So elementary school. Oh, yeah. Were we a good student? Were we a shithead? Like,

Aaron Bourdage  6:14  
mostly shithead. Okay.

Aaron Bourdage  6:17  
dune buggies to ride Yeah, right. Yeah. To fly. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  6:20  
If you talk to anybody that knows me. I am. I'm a squirrel. You know, constantly like there's got to be. I'm thinking about 15 different things all the time. And yeah, no, not a great student. I wasn't I don't think I was a pain in the ass to him. I was just not really plugged in. I was doing my own thing. But yeah, I would Swinburne Elementary in little Farmington, New Mexico. Hell, yeah. It was it was pretty cool. Very diverse group of students, you know? Yeah, it was, you know, I couldn't have picked a spot that would have been more just kind of

Aaron Bourdage  6:59  
grow up Farmington, New Mexico.

Aaron Bourdage  7:03  
You know, I don't think ever asked my dad that I remember when we live with because I was a little tiny kid. When we moved there. I think it was a second grader. Yeah. And when we lived in Denver, I remember him because this, I'm gonna show my age now. Believe it or not before these things. I wanted to see where things are. You went to this big block and you had the page through different states. And then yeah, no, see this road goes here. And then you flip over to New Mexico. And that's the same road that was in Colorado, but now it's in New Mexico. Yes. Yeah. And so my dad, I remember him, like pulling this book out and going yeah, we're moving here. And I had no perspective. Like, is that like, you know, down the road? Yeah. How far away? He has no idea. Yeah. But But yeah, he is he he got a job when he was working for a Car Dealership in Denver. And then got a job in New New Mexico because probably nobody took jobs there. He ended up with his own business with the Hot Rod business,

William Huffman  8:05  
but you told me something pretty cool off air a little bit ago that your dad ran the largest Corvette? Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  8:11  
I don't know what it is today. But he used to run organization called High Country Corvette club. So high country was I don't even know. You know, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah. The definitely the Four Corners area and then I don't know, I don't even know how they communicated back then. Now that I think about it. There was no email. I don't know how you.

William Huffman  8:32  
Yeah. They mailed a monthly newsletter or something? Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  8:35  
I think they must have but so we'd have. We'd have rallies up a house with like 300 Corvettes, and it was it was just nuts. It was it. Was you an only

William Huffman  8:45  
child? No, he had a daughter. I

Aaron Bourdage  8:47  
had a brother older brother. Okay. Yeah, yeah, but yeah, we if you can imagine I'm older than you guys. But have you ever seen the old Burt Reynolds movies? Yeah. Oh,

William Huffman  9:00  
yeah. Smoking the bandit. Yeah. So that

Aaron Bourdage  9:05  
was my kind of my life. It was just all these absolutely drunken doubt. It was just a bunch of super entertaining wild. Crazy, cowboy ish. Yes, it was. Okay.

William Huffman  9:19  
And you're in the second through fifth grade while this is going on?

Aaron Bourdage  9:23  
Yeah, something like that second through seventh or eighth? I think so times

Aaron Bourdage  9:27  
where you actually remember it?

William Huffman  9:29  
Yeah. I mean, we're dirt runway for airplanes. Yep. Yep. dune buggies, dirt bikes, go karts. The whole shebang. And dudes who had badass cars? Like there was some stuff happening?

Aaron Bourdage  9:46  
Yeah, there was a lot

William Huffman  9:51  
like this. Y'all were getting together after church.

Aaron Bourdage  9:54  
No, there was. It's funny too, because, you know, my dad to get up and go to work. Yeah, and honestly, I started working full time every summer for my dad when I was in when we got to when he started his first car that was Billy's auto sales, his little tiny car lot. And my brother and I, there was my, I think, I don't know if it was my mom's idea, or my dad's but they were like, you're going to work? There's no summers. You don't just get to Hey. I sold my first car. I think when I was in third grade, wow. Might have been fourth 1932 Ford. My dad had and a lot whites. Yeah, yeah, I knew everything about it. I love the car. And I was just this guy showed up. And so we had a little tiny gas station. So I mean, I was I was selling cigarettes and and fuel and I was filling propane tanks when I was in fourth grade

William Huffman  10:45  
20 pounders and put them up to the Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  10:47  
and yeah, it was it was it was nuts. Yeah. Okay. Hey,

Aaron Bourdage  10:52  
I have so many questions. And he said, he's like, I'm

William Huffman  10:54  
not an interesting guy when we were emailing back and forth. Something like, well, you're probably committing felonies even talking about some of this stuff.

Aaron Bourdage  11:02  
We'll try to avoid some of those. There we go. There we go.

William Huffman  11:07  
You do get final edit on this. So you can be like Dave, edit

Aaron Bourdage  11:11  
any Dave's number?

William Huffman  11:14  
Oh my gosh. Okay, so now now we're in middle school. We've already sold the 1932. Ford.

Aaron Bourdage  11:21  
You've worked every summer since practically. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  11:23  
Yeah. Airplanes like

William Huffman  11:25  
what's going on? Like, how do you what's like, now what are you doing?

Aaron Bourdage  11:29  
I gotta go back to so I, I started working so young, and I keep looking at my Social Security statement and go God dammit, Dad, I should have been paying Social Security.

Aaron Bourdage  11:39  
Why do I need those more years? Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  11:40  
So yeah, I don't know, middle school. We did all the normal, you know, kid stuff. Yeah, I played sports terribly. And my mom ran us around. And yeah, we did a little bit of everything. My brother and I, at that point. My brother got a guitar. Okay. And then it was like, you know, I just remember being a kid and like, you don't know anything about a guitar. But if your brother has when he's got to be badass, you gotta be like, holy shit. My parents got a guitar. Yeah. But so yeah, he got into that. And then my dad feeling like he left me out. I think when my brother got a guitar, he got me a banjo. Which is super cool. Cool. I learned to play Hanworth on the banjo when I was. I don't know, young guy. I didn't stick with it. Because it was banjo.

William Huffman  12:34  
Badass though. Like that's Yeah. Oh my gosh. Okay.

Aaron Bourdage  12:38  
So then, because he was a guitar player. I started playing bass in so we were you know, you had your little rock band. We did. We did. Yeah, we in my dad's garage. We got people together. And you know, it was? Yeah, we met other guys. And yeah, so that was kind of the next.

William Huffman  12:57  
What was the name of your band?

Aaron Bourdage  12:58  
Who's one? There's been a lot. Let's what was the what's the one you

William Huffman  13:02  
remember? Like? The one that you knew was going to make it that didn't? Oh,

Aaron Bourdage  13:07  
God. You know, I can't even think my brother's band was called stainless steel. Okay. Yeah. And I had me and my buddies. I don't even know how to how to name it was I honestly don't think we did. At that point when I was a kid. There's been way too many bands since then.

William Huffman  13:30  
Stainless steel definitely needed a banjo in it though. That's all

Aaron Bourdage  13:35  
we could have been waiting for us. Yeah, but no, we Yeah, so that was in Farmington. I never reply that we we he was playing more than I was when we're just figuring it out. Yeah, you know, it I can't imagine my parents and you know, thank God the neighbors are a mile away. Oh my god. How many times can you play you know, live in after midnight? You know?

William Huffman  14:03  
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

Aaron Bourdage  14:05  
Yeah, yeah, lots ACDC Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  14:08  
yeah. What did your mom do during this time? Like was she working?

Aaron Bourdage  14:11  
That's a good question. What was my mom doing? My mom used to take us to the gun store and in downtown Farmington. Kidding. We didn't get rounds we had we had a house full of guns. And you know how we decided what guns we were going to shoot. We would find the bullets that whichever ones Yeah, literally my my dad would come home these long stories about that too. But we we played with black powder. Yeah. Yeah, I'm not kidding. Yeah. Never lose rocket igniters you know? Yeah. So we would take Pringles cans. My mom would let us buy black powder. And we would go home and put, you know, I don't know, half a cup in the bottom of a Pringles can. We take a tennis ball and shake it? Soak it in gasoline? Yep. And put a nail through and put the tennis ball in and then we'd sit there with her over rocket igniter and basically blast flaming tennis balls into the universe.

Aaron Bourdage  15:04  
And I bet you had a great time.

Aaron Bourdage  15:06  
It was yeah it put who does that with their children?

Aaron Bourdage  15:09  
I don't know. My mom.

William Huffman  15:10  
I built a pipe bomb with my uncle when I was like

Aaron Bourdage  15:14  
eight. Okay, yeah what state was that?

William Huffman  15:17  
That was here in Minnesota that was an elderly out the middle of nowhere

Aaron Bourdage  15:20  
did you have a target for the pipe bomb or was it just

Aaron Bourdage  15:24  
totally good. This episode is plagued

William Huffman  15:29  
my uncle Brian

Aaron Bourdage  15:32  
maybe you shouldn't mention names? Well, I

William Huffman  15:34  
he's a hillbilly like flat out like there's no doubt around it. And one day is a really clear, like, Okay, so we're in grandma's kitchen and, and I see he's, he's crimping this pipe and we're putting, I'm not going to say how he did it, but detail it. All's I know is I'm like And then drilling the hole for the fuse and he goes Okay, we're gonna go outside we're gonna light this I need you to light it then run like hell that should have been my first band name run. There's a lot of my life. Week we blew up a stack of tires. I mean, it shredded. Oh, man. It

Aaron Bourdage  16:18  
left a crater in Wow. Yeah. That was way ahead of his time. Yeah.

William Huffman  16:23  
8587 Something like that. How old were you? at like seven ish. So 8787? Well, yeah, I was a young kid. Young man. Yeah. Yeah, kid.

Aaron Bourdage  16:32  
Definitely the kid. It's not just mom. No, not just me. And my mother

William Huffman  16:35  
doesn't run like hell. It's a man named Romeo. Yo. Oh, yeah. So we're in middle school. And we're surviving and we're rock stars. In a budding. Yeah. Budding stars. Now we're in high school. Like, you know, you playing sports badly. Like how are you? How are you doing? Like student wise? Like, you know, are you kidding me ask now. Are you just still kind of the same?

Aaron Bourdage  16:57  
Oh, God. So somewhere in there. I realized there. There were. Girls. I was already distracted by everything in the room. You know, yeah, whatever was happening. Anything outside in New Mexico is nothing but I was constantly distracted. And then there's girls and I was just no junior high school. I was. You know, I think everybody thought I smoked a lot of pot, but I never did swear to God. I was just not. I was I was all over the map. Just a space cadet? Yeah. 100% Okay. But yeah, so seventh or eighth grade we moved in that was kind of so we moved to the enemy town. You know, if you play sports in school, you know that you have an enemy rival? Yep. Yeah. In. So, oh, God, this is gonna be my brains going 100 miles an hour. So we went from a place you know, located in New Mexico, just south of Durango to a place called Gallup. New Mexico. So we were going across the river driven across New Mexico.

Aaron Bourdage  17:59  
time when I was a young kid. I don't think so. There's not a lot.

Aaron Bourdage  18:03  
No, no. And so getting from Farmington to Gallup you go down Highway 666 Not kidding. Oh, wait, no, I'm not kidding. One of the evil things our government did with the Indian population. I had to be on purpose but so the the highway that crosses from Farmington gallop goes right across the middle of the Navajo Indian Reservation. And it's it's, you know, Shiprock New Mexico. That's that territory.

William Huffman  18:32  
We know that side note, we have somebody who did a college piece on the Navajo in the Shiprock area, and it's actually in the Smithsonian. Wow. Yeah. Yeah, we do. We do. It's crazy, man. I'm sorry. Continue. Okay, so you're traveling down the Devil's Highway? Yeah, to the new place. You're gonna live because your parents hate you, obviously.

Aaron Bourdage  18:52  
Well, I should have convinced they did because you know, Farmington wasn't great. But Gallup was like, Oh, yeah. Gallup is I call it the armpit of the universe and I've got friends there. And you know, I had a good time. Gallup. I really did. But it was like, so two things. I was almost driving age. My dad sold nothing but hot rods and my brother in junior high school had a Corvette. Of course he No he didn't en el camino

William Huffman  19:19  
high school yet. Oh, El Caminos are sweet. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  19:21  
Like the truck in the back. Yep.

Aaron Bourdage  19:23  
Yep. So yeah, that was Corvette yellow, El Camino. But then later in high school, he had a Corvette but so my dad changed businesses. He went from hot rods because I think you can only sell so many hot rods in northern New Mexico. Yeah. He got into farm equipment.

Aaron Bourdage  19:41  
That is quite the change.

Aaron Bourdage  19:42  
Yeah. So yeah, I'm I'm you know, I'm right at the edge. I'm going to get my first car and I'm thinking about God, you know what, what's my dad? Where's that 32 for I don't have a Camaro or Chevelle or ya know, so we get we sold Ford New Holland equipment. So I think my first car was a pre I want to say, Chevy isn't that a hatchback? Yeah, it was kind of a hatch everything everything was coming apart. Yeah, it was. It was not a good car. There was not a chick magnet neither was I so my car and I went together Yeah. Wow. Yeah so living Rockstar lifestyle I stopped playing sports because I refuse to play with the enemy team and real smart yeah so I just kind of went to school sort of okay. And same things to work for dad worked in the shop and yeah so what

Aaron Bourdage  20:41  
was the mascot for the high school

Aaron Bourdage  20:43  
Bengals the fight and bangles yeah it was a Gallup Bengals which is what tomorrow here in New Mexico should have been like the, you know, tumbleweeds something tarantulas, armadillos Trumpton. Yeah. Not not bangles. Yeah, he came up with that idea. But But yeah, so went to gallop high school for a little bit, and then didn't.

William Huffman  21:07  
Okay, so you just you just quit school? You're like, I'm out.

Aaron Bourdage  21:09  
Yeah, so. Yeah. So again, mom, she's got a lover. My parents never so much, you know, Joe by a college and said that the thing on the hill, that's where you go after high school. You know, that's next. Never. At least the way I remember it. It was never part of the conversation. My mom will probably tell me I'm wrong. So my brother and I, I think the the kind of the expectation was, you're just going to keep working and working in business. Yeah, we're going to shop and that was definitely what my brother was going to do. But my brother was great in school, and he was acquired and did all kinds of he was always good. I got a job at a place called Uncle Hi, watch cartoons. And I was installing cardio equipment when I was 16 1516. Yeah. And a guy named Roy Linder. Smith hired me. And so I was, I was working for Roy and I came to work one day, and Roy said, Man, you know, I gotta let you go. And like, we mean, I'd never, like 15 or 16. I don't even know what that meant, is like, I gotta get somebody full time. You can't be here. Now. If I can I get to get somebody to work full time. Like, oh, my God. That's not I'll just quit. I'll just I'll just quit school in law school. So this is the way New Mexico works. He said, Okay. No, don't do that. No, no. He's like, Oh, okay, you know, maybe made his life easier. So yeah, you get tomorrow. Yeah. So 10th grade. I decided to quit school. I wasn't very good at I mean, I could do school. I just wasn't very good at it. So yeah, I did the big, bold thing and went home that night. And I remember sitting at the table with my dad, and my dad and I weren't really close, because I think I was a pain in the ass. And he was like, just just stay over there. But so I told him, I said, you know, hey, I'm going to drop out of school and go to work full time. And he looks at me and said, Son, that's that's a very adult decision. You know, I know, maybe I will enough. It's Oh, man. There's something else coming? For sure. Yeah. And he said, Where you gonna live? And like, What do you mean? He's well said, if you're not going to school, you're not living here. And 1516 I had to be 16 by then. And I was like, oh, you know, but I told Roy, I was going to work full time, I was going to drop out of school. And again, this is how New Mexico works. Today, you couldn't do this in a small town in New Mexico. I went to the music store where I bought my guitar strings and told the guy that worked out got what was his name, Joe Garcia. And I'm like, hey, you know, I know you've got some apartments. Is there any chance I could rent an apartment? And he was like, oh, yeah, I've got one upstairs above the music storage just in $335 a month. Like, sweet. I'll take it. Good. How? Yeah, so my word years old. All my buddies used to tell their parents, you know? Hey, I'm gonna stay over to Aaron's house. They had no idea that you were you Yeah. So

William Huffman  24:23  
did you become cooler to the chicks now?

Aaron Bourdage  24:25  
Um, yeah. Yeah, my opportunities changed. Yeah, it was it was pretty cool. We had a lot of fun. But it was it was also funny. I get to tell another funny story about my dad. Now you got me thinking about that? Yeah. So I get my apartment. I'm like, sweet, you know, go out to my house. This is how stupid I was. And I got my buddies with me and we go upstairs and start taking my bed apart. And my dad comes up and he's like, Hey, what are you doing? I'm like, Well, I got an apartment. I came to get my furniture. He's like, That's not your furniture. So get, you know, fairpoint I guess I'm sure I was pissed. But he was like, you know, if you go out to the horse barn, you're you and your brother the bunk beds you had where kids are still out there. You said you can take those if you want. So, yeah, my first apartment. I had bunk beds.

William Huffman  25:17  
Okay, so the check.

Aaron Bourdage  25:20  
The check meter went down. Yeah. Yeah.

William Huffman  25:24  
Was he trying to convince you not to break to drop out of school, and you were just like, impervious and like pound sand. I'm doing this or like your old man has been like this his life?

Aaron Bourdage  25:37  
Yeah, I think that was just kind of Yeah, he was my dad was a guy that he literally forged papers to get into Vietnam. Okay, definitely a rebel. You know, he's a guy who he'd never graduated high school didn't go to college. He was just a really hard worker. He's an entrepreneur, and my whole family is entrepreneurs, which is how I ended up I think, where I ended up but no, I don't think he necessarily. I think if truth be told, in a long time later, one of my teachers in school, one of my high school teachers, actually, my dad ended up his second wife was one of my high school teachers. And Sherry And Lisa, this these two high school teachers that that knew me well in school, told my dad and probably what he should have done. He was uh, you know, I could have graduated but he was Yeah, I was, you know, I was gonna do

Aaron Bourdage  26:26  
this went to work for Joe.

William Huffman  26:30  
Yeah, so did you how many a track tear players did you take out and put in cassette players?

Aaron Bourdage  26:39  
Oh, god, it's terrifying to think about the things I did to cars. You don't want a nibbler? Is? You ever used a nibbler? No, it's a piece it's a metalworking machine and a Nibbler basically be a drill a hole in it takes little tiny bites of metal. Okay, so back in those days, you know, all the car doors, you know, there there weren't there weren't speakers in the doors. They were just in the dash. Yeah. So everybody was adding speakers, you know, and better speakers. And, yeah, so I'd pop off door panels and drill a hole in it and take a Nibbler which is impossible to control and just cut a big hole and try to fit a speaker in it. Yeah, I did that all the time. And yeah, we did some crazy stuff. But it was kind of the dawning age where you know, power amplifiers. Were just starting to come out. Yeah. Yeah. So I kind of I got lucky there and, and learned a trade, so to speak. Yeah. And did that for quite a while. I did move to Albuquerque and did it for a while and yeah, okay, so

William Huffman  27:38  
we're 16 we're on our own. We got stories. The old man gave you the bunk beds?

Aaron Bourdage  27:45  
Like do you grocery shop on your own? And like you take care of all of that now on your own?

Aaron Bourdage  27:50  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I was pretty much on my own on the way out again, the way I remember it. Yeah, I think I only had that apartment for maybe six or eight months or something. And then what my one of my buddies, Georgia, Athens, his mom rose. I think she just decided that I probably should do something I probably should live somewhere not on my own. So she took me in, I moved in with the Athens family and live with them. And that was cool. But yeah.

William Huffman  28:20  
All right. So how long so? What did you do next? So how long were you doing car install at that location, like for

Aaron Bourdage  28:28  
a couple well for for ROI, probably another year, and then another company called Paradise automotive, I think, I think those paradise for sure. They needed a car, audio guy, and you know, me being a kid. And I felt like, you know, it was a bigger store across this cross town. And so I went to work for them and did that. And then I was playing music and yeah, that's when we music really got going for us. And so we had a really good band in Gallup and got a pretty good reputation and we would travel and play and so I was installing cardio equipment. And then we were doing the music gig. And that was pretty cool. So

William Huffman  29:12  
that is that straight out of like a book. Yeah, like a teenage angst book. Like you are the rebel that comes in and like, has the high school prom queen like fall in love with

Aaron Bourdage  29:23  
them? Yeah, it was well that didn't happen but yeah, so we we we played music and he's still playing bass at the time. You don't I really haven't for quite a while especially since we opened the store I and and playing bass by yourself isn't a real good time. I guess the way I do it. Okay. So I I play acoustic guitar when I'm just sitting around right on but yeah, very cool. How much bass playing anymore?

William Huffman  29:49  
All right, what Sorry, I

Aaron Bourdage  29:50  
have more questions, but Will's not gonna want my questions. Are you jumping around on the timeline? I'm ready to find out like how it is Missy like how Oh, no, no, no,

William Huffman  29:59  
no. No.

Aaron Bourdage  30:01  
That's a long time for really? Missy. Yeah. Oh yeah. How

William Huffman  30:05  
long have you guys been together?

Aaron Bourdage  30:08  
Bout 11 years. Okay, yeah, we

William Huffman  30:11  
have some time to cover

Aaron Bourdage  30:11  
some time. Okay, I'll pause. Yeah.

William Huffman  30:16  
Don't make me get the bass guitar out and out of serenades we'll wait. Yeah, stop. I'll get the banjo, but I didn't do anything. I follow a guy and Tiktok who makes something called the friendly banjo. Check it out. It's pretty cool. He'd made a three string banjo to teach people play banjo, whatever. Alright, so now you're in Gauss? Neeson, Albuquerque.

Aaron Bourdage  30:37  
New Mexico. We Yeah, we we moved the band to Albuquerque because we were you know, we were a cover band, but we were pretty good one. So we meet your

William Huffman  30:48  
brother. Are you with your brothers? Okay. Oh,

Aaron Bourdage  30:50  
yeah. My brother. He's Eric's a great guitar player. And he he lives up here now, but he's lived up here for God. I don't know. She's probably 30 years now. I say that like it just happened. Yeah. But yeah, so it's me and my brother and friend Azula playing drums. Couple different other guitar players. And a guy named Greg Enya who moved on to he was in a bunch of different bands, tribe a gypsies out in California. He's on some documentaries back in the metal era. Oh, wow. Um, he was friends with like, everybody under the sun. Like, you know, Rock Gods out in California. ended up singing with Carlos Santana on tour. Oh, wow. Don't wait. Right. Greg was like, seriously the most talented human that I've ever met? And, unfortunately died in a motorcycle accident. But he is really really sad because the guy I mean, artwork sculpture. He was a Navajo guy that was just Laguna Indian. Actually, not Navajo but he was just insanely talented. If you ever look up Greg Enya a n a ll. A. You'll find his artwork and his music and he's amazing. That is awesome. Yeah, about him. It would have been a different story. Okay, so yeah, he was kind

William Huffman  32:07  
of like the, the fuel like the the Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  32:11  
you know, finding somebody that can really sing. So I remember when we started school in Gallup, New Mexico, the one of the first things I remember in Gallup, and we went to pep rally, and Greg's band, like a high school pep rally. Yeah. Okay. Greg's band with his guitar player named Dave composts what they played at the pep rally and they did a deal. A couple of deal songs. And the guy saying just I'm just sitting there going, Are you kidding me? That this exists in Gallup, New Mexico, they were it was amazing. So yeah, it was it was pretty cool.

William Huffman  32:44  
That's awesome. So how long are we doing this whole band like, thing like,

Aaron Bourdage  32:50  
the band stuff continued in iterations and, you know, different people in different places, but in New Mexico, and until my cousin came down and bought a car from my dad, my cousin rusty and I were always close, although he lived. So if I had a vacation in the summer, I went to Duluth. Okay. New Mexico. Yeah, from New Mexico, and sometimes in the Cessna, which, by the way, flying across country and assessment with the guy smoking marbles. Yeah, he was my dad. My dad was like, I don't know why you always get air sick. And I'm like, I don't know. Maybe it's the Marlboro? Yeah. Yeah, so we either drove or flew the plane up. And so I got to spend a lot of time with my grandparents up in Duluth with my cousin rusty. And so rusty, now he lives in Florida, but he came down to buy a car and I was just kind of, I don't know, I think I was, you know, at the at a point where I probably shouldn't start adulting a little, you know, stop. The thing was, yeah, music was great. But it was I was still in New Mexico. And I was just kind of, at that point, I moved from Albuquerque back to Gallup and was just kind of flailing trying to figure out what I was going to do. And he was, he was like, Well, you know, why don't you just come back and I'll get you a job in Minneapolis and you move in with me. Okay, okay.

William Huffman  34:15  
How long did it take you to make the decision? Not that long. Okay. That's what I was guessing. Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  34:20  
that sounds good. Yeah, it was funny because he had a he had a two door car that he bought from my dad. And I was like, I'm trying to think of, like, How much stuff do I have? And really didn't matter. I I gathered up. I literally took the speakers out of my bass cabinet, because I'm like, Well, I can't take the cabinet, but I'll just take the speakers. Okay. Yeah, dumbest thing ever. Like, what? What are you going to do with the speakers? Anyway, so I moved to St. Paul, we lived in St. Paul worked in Minneapolis. So that was 1989. Yeah,

William Huffman  34:53  
just just boom, did it. Yeah. Yeah, it was Wow.

Aaron Bourdage  34:57  
Was 20. Yep.

William Huffman  34:58  
So what now? You're in St. Paul. The booming metropolis metropolis of St. Paul.

Aaron Bourdage  35:04  
But your dad and mom and family are still in Albuquerque are like not my

Aaron Bourdage  35:08  
dad. Mom. Yep, they're all back home. Okay. Yep. Mom and Dad separated and remarried other people. Okay. Yep.

William Huffman  35:16  
And then so now what are we doing? Like, what would you do for work?

Aaron Bourdage  35:19  
Mike? And Rusty was working at a company called Zip sword in Minneapolis. It's like if you can imagine where the US Bank Stadium is on. Yeah, Cago no university right there where you used to be where all the tailgating happened. No. Yeah. Okay. Back when Metrodome was there?

William Huffman  35:38  
It doesn't really matter.

Aaron Bourdage  35:40  
Anyway, right there in the now it's all giant apartment buildings and everything but that that's where his hips are used to be. And he got me a job their job there. Yeah, basically sorting mail and doing dumb stuff. Okay. Yeah. Mindless stuff.

Aaron Bourdage  35:54  
And how long were you there for?

Aaron Bourdage  35:57  
Quite a while? Yeah, probably three years to three years. Quite a pretty good run. I moved with them from one building to another and over in the warehouse district, up up the road in Minneapolis. And I was didn't have a car because rusty had a car but I didn't have a car. So I was riding the bus from St. Paul Minneapolis. And, man, I was just I was so I was just a redneck idiot. I had no idea what was going on. Like switching buses terrified me. I didn't know I was a huge city compared to where I know.

Aaron Bourdage  36:28  
Yeah. huge metropolis.

Aaron Bourdage  36:31  
Yeah. So yeah, but I got got around and you know, started meeting some people and you know, ended up playing music again. And,

Aaron Bourdage  36:40  
and at this point, sorry. Well, I don't mean to be jumping. But I was curious at this point. Is there any interest in barbecue?

Aaron Bourdage  36:46  
Well, in when I was in New Mexico, I mean, we grew up that story. He told me that. Yeah. We when I when I was in La Plata in New Mexico? I mean, there was no there's no McDonald's there was no I mean, it was 12 miles to go to school and there was nothing. There was a really good restaurant called coyote den which did like steaks and lobster and stuff, but we very rarely went there. That was the closest thing to us. So it my Dad cooked a lot. I want to say a lot. Sorry, Mom. Mom's gonna say that's not true. But mom didn't love cooking. My dad loves grilling steaks and stuff and we like I said when we had the quarterback rallies out there, I remember them doing pig roast. And even when I lived in Albuquerque with the band one time we we pit roasted a pig. So I always think about the neighbors because we are these wild, you know, long haired? Yeah, positions that live next door and all of a sudden we're digging a hole in the backyard. They don't know one of them's down

William Huffman  37:47  
there that comedy is putting them

Aaron Bourdage  37:48  
back we we dug a hole wrapped a pig in banana leaves. Yeah, started a fire through pig in dug it up the next day. And it was amazing. So so I've been doing stuff all the time. You know, if you were lucky enough to afford protein I remember at that time, I mean, it was it was I don't think we had plates you know at this band house but we had we somehow pig pit Roast of the pig but I had always been interested in food and I'm to this day. I'm not a fan of fast food. I just it just note for me.

William Huffman  38:24  
No hard pass. Yeah. All right. So we're working in Minneapolis and living in St. Paul. Like quite what's next? Like, like, what are

Aaron Bourdage  38:34  
you? Like, are you just like making it like his money flush?

Aaron Bourdage  38:38  
No, no, no. You know, it was. Gosh, I bounced around for a few jobs after I left them sorta I was a courier for a while. I was driving to courier van from Minneapolis to Rochester every day. Okay. And I was playing music so I would be up until you know, three o'clock in the morning bar close. And load out go home sleep for a couple hours to three hours and get in a van and drive to Rochester. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

William Huffman  39:07  
Good Life decision. Crazy. But no

Aaron Bourdage  39:09  
money. Not No, not flush. Yeah. No, that was a god me and my cousin and a bunch of guys we used to get shown made here. But Meister Brau was glass bottle of beer that you can get. I don't know. Yeah, like eight bucks a case. Yep. It was cheap, whatever. And but in addition, not only was it cheap, but if you brought the cases back, you've got your reefer. So I remember bringing Bo, we were so impressed with ourselves. We'd bring back enough cases to get a case of beer for

Aaron Bourdage  39:39  
free. Congratulations. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  39:42  
But yeah, no, no money. Money was not a thing. So

William Huffman  39:45  
that beer, it's crazy brought that beer up. We were redoing our basement recently. Last year in we're pulling out all the walls and at the bottom of the bottle of beer that the kid who was helping remodel the house wrote a note on there how he's going to be a famous architect one day. I'm dead serious. And I have a

Aaron Bourdage  40:08  
photo of it, put it like in a maestro bra bottle.

William Huffman  40:10  
It still goes with the beer is that in the bottle? And he says in the bottle, here's in the bottle, and there's a note. And he says, I'm gonna be a famous architects decision making and I looked the guy up. He literally is a famous architect in New York now. And that's, that's the known shit. Yeah, I haven't I haven't, I want to take a photo of it. Like, I tried to reach out to him via LinkedIn, but I couldn't get ahold of them. So I think I'm gonna put on social media now with this post and be like, you gotta

Aaron Bourdage  40:36  
get a hold of them. And the first questions got to be why didn't you drink the beer? I'm sure he drinks plenty of other ones. It's weird, though. So he attached it to a beer bottle.

William Huffman  40:45  
In the wall. He just put the beer bottle in the note knowing that someday somebody will be taking this wall down and find it. And yeah, it's super cool.

Aaron Bourdage  40:55  
Awesome. That's ridiculous.

William Huffman  40:58  
Yeah. Oh, okay. So we're returning cases of beer. We're doing great. We're driving to Rochester and we're struggling we're doing fantastic Brahmins on the menu.

Aaron Bourdage  41:09  
Yeah, we Oh, man. There's so many stories now that I'm trying to keep up with so playing music and we ended up my cousin and I got connected with a guy that put on concerts in a little building and I keep saying warehouse district but that's not the modern term for Minneapolis. What is that area? You know where all the metal recycling companies are? Oh, up in northeast? Yeah, wouldn't have. Why am I forgetting what to call it now? Anyway, at the quarry? Yeah. Anyway, yep. So don't matter. We're doing these like underground keggers basically with these bands from all over the place, so we'd booked bands from like Milwaukee and like pretty. Oh, wow. Like, like not not famous bands, but definitely in that area. Yeah. Good metal bands. Good. You know, scream loud stuff. But it was. Yeah,

William Huffman  42:04  
we saw what you said metal Are you like

Aaron Bourdage  42:08  
coming that was coming? Yeah, that was in this era in this area. So it was bands like power Mad City is profits and

William Huffman  42:15  
we didn't know any of those. But that takes the checks. And yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  42:18  
you guys are too young. I'm

William Huffman  42:20  
not a huge metalhead, but I wasn't either Chris hockey on K fan. I'm gonna send him this episode because he's a metalhead. I'm a big

Aaron Bourdage  42:28  
Chris hockey fan. He's great. Yeah, he can relate because he and I are similar. Yeah. So absolutely. Especially the California cruise you're talking about? Yeah. So I went to California, by the way. Sidebar. I went to Los Angeles and and I was like, oh my not for me. Yeah, for me, okay. Oh, no, no, no, no, I had to get the hell out. Nope. Couldn't do LA. I was there for a minute. I'm not even a month.

William Huffman  42:52  
Oh, really? Okay. So quick.

Aaron Bourdage  42:54  
Yep. I was thinking about going to music school out there because I had two buddies that were doing it. But But yeah, no, not for me. It worked. I mean, he did. Well, but he's another guy that's just such an amazing singer. You know, like, like, Greg. I wonder if I wonder if Chris Harkey would know who Greg and I is.

William Huffman  43:12  
I ki knows so much about what non metal bands me now that I think yeah, that's crazy. Okay, so we're in Minneapolis, we're doing underground carriers. Like, when do we get what we consider a big boy job?

Aaron Bourdage  43:30  
Oh, boy, ever? Yeah, that's a tough one. So I ended up I got a job with a company called omnitrax surgical and somewhere along the way, I got a got a gig with them. They were just looking for like assemblers, and just whatever. And I got a job in their metal fabrication department and small family owned medical device company. It's just really, really a cool company. And so I started as a fabricator with them and learn to do well as building surgical retraction systems for this company. To this day, my fantasy football team has been around for 30 years with these guys that I started with. Back in the series. Yeah, yes. And we've got the same group guys. Now my kids in it with us, but yeah, I worked for them and actually worked my way up to running the manufacturing side of that plant. over 22 years. Wow.

William Huffman  44:26  
Oh, wow. So I mean, you went, wow. I mean, you went from vagabond, like, across the country doing some stuff to like, you know, you found like, a spot?

Aaron Bourdage  44:37  
Yeah. Here's what happens, or at least did for me. You, you get somebody pregnant, and all of a sudden you feel like you have to do something different with your life. You know, maybe okay, maybe this courier jobs, not quite what a dad doing. Yeah, so I got a girl pregnant and that definitely changed my life and had me rethinking priorities for sure. So and that was luck. They were they were a great company to work for the Lavon family, Steve Lavon. His dad was it was just a it was a really cool company kind of growing. They've since sold and it's not in town anymore. But But yeah, it was it was great run. So

William Huffman  45:15  
Wow. So you started doing that in the early 90s? Yeah. Okay. And, I mean, were I sure I got a question.

Aaron Bourdage  45:24  
Was it as like a young dad, you know, working during the band scene, like, yeah, that

Aaron Bourdage  45:31  
was the band that I was in for a long time. When when I saw I was in band called psycho head, which was like a Red Hot Chili Peppers. Kind of.

William Huffman  45:41  
Oh, nice. Okay, okay. It

Aaron Bourdage  45:42  
was really fun. Really? I get that vibe. Yeah, we were we did a lot in the Twin Cities we played ever played. mainstage at First Avenue. We played everywhere. Very cool. There's not many bars in town played a bonkers a lot. Well, that was excellent later in life. But yeah, and then that band kind of fizzled. And then my ex wife Tracy got pregnant. Dang it, Tracy. Not getting kidding. I don't know how that happened. Yeah. But yeah. So Tracy and I were trying to figure things out. And she had a good job. She's worked for US Bank, but another, you know, she didn't go to college or so we were kind of trying to, we're getting our act together and trying to figure out how to be good parents and, and we were so but

Aaron Bourdage  46:30  
and that was your son? Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  46:32  
yeah. Evan, yeah, he was born in 95. Yeah, definitely a world changer. Just you know. It can explain it. Yeah. Suddenly, you have this little life that you know, this is like, you know, I was trying to figure out how to feed myself half the time No, my holy crap. But yeah, it got my got my head straightened out. You know, I still play music. I remember taken Evan in the stroller to band practice out in Stillwater with this band I was in called godsend. 50. And,

Aaron Bourdage  47:05  
yeah, it's like ear protectors on

Aaron Bourdage  47:08  
my drum or drummers mom, Jason crumbs mom would take care of and while we're in the basement and played music and come up and scoop them up, and yeah, wow. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  47:19  
Unbelievable. Yeah, it's fun.

William Huffman  47:22  
That's super cool. So do we want to like, is this a two parter?

Aaron Bourdage  47:26  
No, I really want to get to the

William Huffman  47:30  
we're 50 minutes in here.

Aaron Bourdage  47:32  
I have a few questions. How did you get to The Barbecue Shop? It means that we're going to skip a few things where it's okay. I really want to know like, how did you open up your barbecue Barbecue Shop?

Aaron Bourdage  47:44  
Um, so we were we were doing all the barbecue competition stuff and missing if you've had the lucky 19 sauce, you know? Yeah, he's awesome. We started. We started lucky 19 eight or nine years ago missing? I did. And we started doing barbecue competitions. And I was telling me earlier we did the World Food championships in Las Vegas. And we started just expanding our universe in barbecue. And, and of course, Tony had Ketopia barbecue supply in the same location. And Tony was a competition guy, but he also sold our sauce for us. Because one of the first places that actually you know, I thought it was oh my god, we ever sauce on a shelf. Now that was pretty cool. So we got to know Tony through competition barbecue, and we're at a we're at a barbecue competition doesn't matter. We're at this contest, and we're all hanging out drinking and I was talking to Tony and he's like, Yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna move back to Iowa. Tony had gone through divorce. And he was like, Yeah, I'm gonna move back home to Muscatine, and I'm like, Oh, really? Yeah. So what are you gonna do with the store? He said, I don't know. I might shut it down. I might sell it. I don't know. You know, so I'm sitting there and doing what Aaron does my brain going a million miles an hour. At the time I was working at 3am out in Cottage Grove, but I was like, God, you know, we got the car to drive home and I looked at Missy acid. I told her the story of with Tony and I said woody why don't we just buy the barbecue store and she's like, we're not buying a fucking bar

Aaron Bourdage  49:19  
six months later, six

Aaron Bourdage  49:20  
months later we owned it so yeah. Just another example of Missy just she's really good at that. Just dragging her feet but she loves it she absolutely she's there every Saturday with me and we have a great time doing it but yeah, she she absolutely loves the store. And you all if you've been there Yeah. wouldn't like that without Missy so

William Huffman  49:41  
yeah. Oh, it's very well, very well organized and sharp and put together and intuitive. Well, Sarah enjoys it even

Aaron Bourdage  49:47  
Yeah, so I have another question though. I can ask my question. How did you meet Missy? Match?

William Huffman  49:54  
Did you really no way. Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  49:55  
yeah, yep. Yeah, We met on match is kind of a so did we. Oh, no kidding. Yeah, that's hilarious. Yeah, we're match mates. Yeah.

William Huffman  50:04 That's right.

Aaron Bourdage  50:07  
Yeah, yeah. Oh, wow. Well, I remember thinking I'm like, oh, there's no way you know, right. I'm a single dad, you know and had my house on Newbury Grove Heights. And yeah, and Missy was the second date I went on. And it's funny because I thought for sure I'm like, This is gonna take a while. Yeah. And so I paid I paid for a year in advance paid for a year.

Aaron Bourdage  50:32  
Oh, I think well, the DO know, I

William Huffman  50:35  
signed a two year lease and I was married before that lease was up. Wow. Yeah, right there.

Aaron Bourdage  50:41  
That's awesome. Yeah. We Missy, it was funny. She always tells people she had like seven more dates lined up. And she she canceled? I guess

William Huffman  50:54  
that one no one. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  50:55  
But yeah. So we we ended up you know, obviously clicked. But I'm like, I've still got this match membership. So when her and I when we first started just hanging out at her house and stuff. I'd get, you know, gotten emails from you know, potential partners on match. And so without missing I would sit there and look at my other options on Matt. Shields who told me I'd go for it. I dare you. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  51:26  
There was this one time that will. I went to close my profile down. And when I opened it up and showed that will was active within two hours. And I was like, was not that mother trucker. Yeah, like this is gonna be a problem. And I am fury. Yeah.

William Huffman  51:45  
Yep. Yep. So here I am. I'm at work at this. At this time. I had a desk job and for a very short period of time. And I she calls me and she's like, why are you on matchday? And I'm like, I was so angry talking about I haven't been on that since literally the first time we went on a date together like no. And I had, I was starting to pull articles because I obviously wasn't the only person who got in trouble for this. If you had the app on your phone, it showed that you were still active. So your profile would be more present or whatever you had. So I had to send her all of these things. They've changed. I don't know. Don't care. Find out that

Aaron Bourdage  52:26  
you spent the rest of that day.

William Huffman  52:28  
I did. I did. I was 100% building a case and I was emailing your articles and I'm like I save I swear to God,

Aaron Bourdage  52:35  
I wasn't on man. I wasn't on match. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  52:38  
So you guys married how quickly 18 months the day we met Wow. So missing are far behind that. But we got engaged like eight years ago and

William Huffman  52:49  
oh, she's still

Aaron Bourdage  52:51  
dragging it out. She's not sure you know. The water. She's heard these stories. So yeah,

William Huffman  52:59  
she still got her app on. Yeah. Dairy. Oh my gosh.

Aaron Bourdage  53:06  
One more. I have a couple more questions. I'm not quite done yet. What do you do for like beard maintenance?

Aaron Bourdage  53:11  
Too much. The funny thing is I don't do a lot. But yesterday I got a beard trim because I'm going to Vegas. Oh, but that's that's like super rare.

Aaron Bourdage  53:21  
You go somewhere to get the beard trim or

Aaron Bourdage  53:23  
Yeah, roosters bred by a bunch more. Yeah, yep. There's some gals there. Okay. I think it was Angela they usually Amanda, but they also kind of take care of me. And it's it's so weird. Like, you know, I don't get haircuts, because I don't have any hair on my head. My head but when you get your beard trim, you know what you don't do? But talk Oh, I mean you can't be sitting there Yeah, it's weird. It's not like you're you know you're not there for half an hour but you can't sit there just jabber dentists when

Aaron Bourdage  53:56  
they start to feel bad for them

Aaron Bourdage  53:58  
because I'm like all talk to anybody but you know Yeah, so I'll just kind of lay there she put she she was she was nicely of yesterday do the hot towel thing. Yeah, I've never had that. I was like the hot shave

Aaron Bourdage  54:09  
is something different. I didn't have

Aaron Bourdage  54:11  
the shave but

Aaron Bourdage  54:12  
how would you know not for me?

William Huffman  54:14  
Oh Mike that's interesting.

Aaron Bourdage  54:16  
What's your beard mean?

Aaron Bourdage  54:19  
Some days yeah. As you've gotten into our 40s things pop up I've just in the past will

William Huffman  54:30  
oh, let's go with that one. Yeah, well moving on.

Aaron Bourdage  54:36  
Wow, you actually grew some whiskers? I can't

William Huffman  54:39  
but I can't if I don't shave for three days. It's just looks so bad.

Aaron Bourdage  54:43  
Yeah, patchy. It's the worst. Okay, so now barbecue so are you still doing competition is Vegas for fun? I

Aaron Bourdage  54:51  
don't know. We sold the trailer. So we sold the RV. And we've got to figure that out. And yeah, I'm sure we'll do some this year we always do the American oil, which is the biggest barbecue competition in the world. It's amazing. And anybody that's into barbecue should just go to the Royal and just walk around. I mean guys, like, you know, Tuffy stone and you know, just everybody that you'd ever seen on TV for barbecue is there. They're just where is it? Where's the royal? It's in Kansas City at the Kansas speedway. So it's in the infield at the Kansas speedway. There's 500 Barbecue teams. Oh, wow. So yeah, we got we've always done fairly well they're considering so there's an invitational on day one, which is you have to have a grand championship in that year to go to the Invitational and then so that's usually this year is or last year was 250 teams, I think in the end I can't remember was a lot. And then the the the open is like 500 teams. But we got 13 Place ribs in the Invitational. And that was I was happy with that.

William Huffman  55:52  
Wow. I mean, so I've taken a couple of the classes you guys put on? Yeah, I think they're incredible. I mean, we needed another brisket class. Yeah, the competition though. The competition that stuff is man you y'all are you have to really love watch. Like, I love to cook. Yeah. I don't have the presentation. And then the first bite and like, it looks really pretty. Don't get me wrong. But man, like five minutes, clipping one five or whatever. Like, That's just insane.

Aaron Bourdage  56:24  
Yeah, the devil's protein chicken. Yeah. Everybody dreads chicken. Yeah. So missing for chicken. We'll buy two cases of chicken. Yeah. And we'll cook 16 thighs. And we'll turn in six. Yeah, so

William Huffman  56:40  
So how many how many? How many cases how many thighs are in a case?

Aaron Bourdage  56:44  
It depends on how they're packed. But 48.

William Huffman  56:50  
So out of the 48 you pick 696 90

Aaron Bourdage  56:52  
or so and I should say that's for a double when we do a double, which is two contests a row. So most contests we buy a case but but yeah, they're all weighed. They're all weighed before we trim their weight after we trim them. Yeah, it's a lot.

Aaron Bourdage  57:10  
And do you how do you like go about like practicing the recipe or like practicing the craft?

Aaron Bourdage  57:16  
We? We used to it's really hard because certified barbecue judges they're the ones that matter on your opinion. You have to train yourself to think like a barbecue judge what you like like I like spicy food. That's not gonna work for Asian barbecue. So I always called I call it boring as barbecue. It's good barbecue. You've had it Yeah. But it's it's it's not you're trying to not too salty. Not too sweet. Not too spicy. Not too smoky. And pretty. Yeah, so it's just kind of everything right down the middle. Nothing that you when you take a bite. There's nothing that offends you nothing that makes you feel like you're you know, something that to score you down on Yep. So

William Huffman  57:55  
I want the food to kind of kick me in the teeth a little bit like I want to I want to I want to I want to flavor right like and don't get me wrong. The competition chicken you guys cooked was good. It was good. It was good. But like but when when y'all made the ribs that one day like the good ribs and like, like that he was a CZ that the way he wanted to. And it was a competition. That was

Aaron Bourdage  58:15  
Dustin Reese from Haugland. He'll be back. I think it's our April 24. I think we haven't put it out yet. I shouldn't even be talking about it. But yeah.

William Huffman  58:25  
Well, yeah, in the show notes. We'll have a link. You probably sell more tickets now though.

Aaron Bourdage  58:29  
Yeah, we need to get it on the website. But yeah, more space

William Huffman  58:33  
to yep, yep.

Aaron Bourdage  58:37  
True. Yeah. The so Dustin. You know, Dustin's a world champion? Well, no, almost World Champion cook. He's been second place to the American world twice. So he's a hell of a cook. Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  58:49  
So if you were gonna go to the American Royal, like as I guess I guessed. Yeah. How do you do it? Like, what are the tips? Yeah,

Aaron Bourdage  58:56  
you just buy tickets. And you know, you get out there and they've they've got shuttles that bring in. Do it on Friday night. So Friday night, it's weird when you're cooking because Friday nights. If you're in the Invitational, you're like, I get up at four o'clock in the morning on Saturday morning to cook Yeah, so but Friday nights are you know, there's I don't know. There's gonna be 30,000 people there. Whoa, it's a lot it's a lot the whole infield is just packed. Yeah. And there's so a lot of corporate tents you know, like trade. You know, all these companies are out there. There's all kinds of organizations, researchers. But there's parties all over and then they have there's a contest for parties to so

Unknown Speaker  59:40  
so there's their win that yeah, I could throw at you.

Aaron Bourdage  59:43  
You know, for we we stuck beers in our pockets and koozies and everything we can just go wander in. It's awesome. And then I gotta put myself in bed and

Aaron Bourdage  59:54  
get up in the morning. And then with with the Royal With 30,000 other people there is it hard to get food?

Aaron Bourdage  1:00:04  
So on Friday night there's kind of it depends on you know the party you're at. There's usually food around. We always cook in our trailer and you guys if you come out

Aaron Bourdage  1:00:16  
yeah, we'll feed you we have friends in Kansas City won't say no.

Aaron Bourdage  1:00:19  
Yeah, it's awesome. Yeah, it's awesome. It's a really really

Aaron Bourdage  1:00:22  
when is the royal like month moved

Aaron Bourdage  1:00:25  
around a little bit September October. I think I just heard today that it's the first weekend in October again So October 1 or something

Aaron Bourdage  1:00:34  
we just may have to make roadtrip to Kansas City well Oh, don't threaten me with a good time. When we went to the barbecue show last year at the st stadium will was like I don't even need to be at the barbecue like the going around is like a grill fest Yeah, grill fast like how he just walked around? He's like I just want to help northern barbecue.

Aaron Bourdage  1:00:55  
We had so much fun that day. I mean, yeah, we brought out all of our sponsor teams and yeah, he was just a blast.

Aaron Bourdage  1:01:01  
And the food was so good though. seasonings. You guys I am not a barbecue or I don't really know how I like to cook things fast. So I overcook. And Will is more of them. Yeah, well it's definitely more of that low and slow and like more you're just way more particular than I am. It comes to cooking portrayal. Yeah, yes. But if you need any grilling supplies, spices and I'm not just saying this, like I just consumed the goods and it is so worth it. Okay, so Aaron one more question. What is your favorite grill that you sell?

William Huffman  1:01:36  
Grills device you say device device? Yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  1:01:40  
Oh, man. I'm conflicted because we've got you know, it's our career but so at home we've got a trigger on the deck. For competitions we bring out a drum smoker and are Yoder you've seen my Yeah, so Viking. Yeah,

William Huffman  1:01:57  
so your drum smoker is like the north south lifting right. Not a barrel smoker. Are those a barrel? The barrel smoker. Okay.

Aaron Bourdage  1:02:05  
Yep. The Outlaw. The lol patio is probably my favorite thing to cook on.

William Huffman  1:02:08  
That thing is pretty sweet. Yeah. They're made

Aaron Bourdage  1:02:11  
in Indiana by a guy named Jay Craig. They're, they're literally in the barbecue competition world. There's pretty much Jambo out of Texas. And outlaw smokers out of Indiana. So J does an amazing job. The Outlaw patios are the only ones that they sell through a barbecue supply store like ours. I don't even know how many stores they have in the country now but probably seven or seven or eight. But yeah, that's,

William Huffman  1:02:34  
that's a sweet looking machine. It's like it's also the tire the pneumatic tires on our suite of the big golf cart tire. Yes, it's got the wrapping this Yeah, it's got the rack for the wood underneath. It's got even got the handle to pull it like a like a trike tight like that

Aaron Bourdage  1:02:49  

Aaron Bourdage  1:02:51  
Now, unfortunately, in the modern era, it's about six grand 600.

William Huffman  1:02:57  
Yeah, but it's gonna last you forever because it's like, Oh, what is the quarter inch steel? Yeah. I mean, it's gonna last forever. Yeah, they, they're,

Aaron Bourdage  1:03:06  
it's not something I only asked that because I know Will's gonna want to get one I've wanted I've wanted one for a while. It's like I need to know how many houses I have to sell. If you're listening,

William Huffman  1:03:16  
do you want to support my barbecue? Have I add support Eric store?

Aaron Bourdage  1:03:22  
Basically, is how I like all those. Good job. I like that idea for sure.

Aaron Bourdage  1:03:27  
Can I tell you my favorite device from your store? Yeah, please. Oh, yeah. Our pizza oven. The alpha, the alpha. I am telling you that thing is a game changer. And yeah, we have not used it this winter very much because of the snow and it's on our deck. Right. But I've already decided for my birthday. I just want a pizza party. It will.

Aaron Bourdage  1:03:46  
And we're working on getting the guy up here. Matt Frampton from urban slicer. Hopefully we're gonna have him up for a pizza class. This

William Huffman  1:03:52  
urban slice of the pizza dough yourself. Yeah, actually.

Aaron Bourdage  1:03:55  
So we've tasted a lot of dough. It's our favorite. It is one of our favorites.

Aaron Bourdage  1:04:00  
Matt. Matt's doing a great job. Yes, he's an awesome dude. So hopefully we'll get him up here.

Aaron Bourdage  1:04:05  
So people have asked us about our pizza and I'm like, You guys, this is way more than pizza.

Aaron Bourdage  1:04:09  
funny is when we started selling pizza ovens. I never really thought real I just you know, it was another kind of alley that we could do and there are definitely there's barbecue dorks like me and then there's pizza people. Oh yeah, pizza but massive pizza. So guys come in looking at the equipment. You know the outlaws Yoders and everything and and the gals are really drawn to pizza ovens. Yeah, so I don't know what that is but chicks like pizza I

William Huffman  1:04:35  
need one get get it get a pizza. Yeah, oh man. I've it's it's an all day fun event. I now have several pieces of cast iron because I cook and cast iron in it. Yeah. So incredible. So I can do potatoes. I can you know put the casserole in there and the carrots gosh, the carrots

Aaron Bourdage  1:04:55  
with like this from from fresh and it's amazing. We'll have to have you over All right. Before we wrap up, I have one more question. Sorry. Well, do you. Do you have more questions because I have one more. Me to those. Okay. So, if you were to give advice to other entrepreneurs, what would your advice be?

Aaron Bourdage  1:05:14  
Do it? Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Aaron Bourdage  1:05:19  
Yeah, do it. I waited way too long. I was in my blood. I waited way too long. I feared too much. You know, it's kind of like having a kid actually a lot like having a kid. Clean up some poop. You know? Shit happens, you know? Yeah, yeah, it's a it's way too many people live in fear of doing that. What was it that said that was a Joe Rogan that most men live in quiet desperation, thinking about something he wanted to do and just like, for God's sakes, give it a shot. We need more people. We need more entrepreneurs. We also need more people to recognize that Amazon isn't the end of the universe. There's people locally that are like spending their life trying to make good things for you Ganguly you know so like all the oil next door to us like the popcorn store, like every day when I went to work it's like I look at all these entrepreneurs in these buildings. You know, Maria, the hair salon, which is amazing. Apparently I don't have hair but

Aaron Bourdage  1:06:15  
from what you've heard, yeah, they

Aaron Bourdage  1:06:16  
do a great business. So everybody and we we really have a cool little mall the confectioner's is that they're they're Oh, they're so good. Yeah, they do. There's their stuffs amazing. Yes. Well in the liquor store their courses. Oh, it's cold.

Aaron Bourdage  1:06:33  
And then what is it Jimmy is done at the restaurant? What's the restaurant? Scoreboard scoreboard? Yeah, thank you. Yeah, yep. Well, I love it there. Yo, yo, and the popcorn shop and the oil shop. And of course your shop. Yeah. Like we are definitely loyal to that strip mall. Thank you, America. piece of it. Yeah, just are the final question.

William Huffman  1:06:54  
All right. So we end every episode by asking somebody their top five favorite restaurants. And it doesn't have to be.

Aaron Bourdage  1:07:02  
This is going to be interesting since Aaron doesn't like to eat out. Yeah,

William Huffman  1:07:05  
it doesn't like fast food. Okay, so like, like, it can be because of the soldier like detail. Yeah, it could be because of nostalgia. Like we have somebody who says I'm off guard because he used to go there with his mother all the time. Yeah. And it doesn't have to exist anymore. And it can be anywhere in the world. So we'll go ahead and start with number five. I

Aaron Bourdage  1:07:22  
had some ideas but now you said doesn't have to exist in the world. Yeah. Could be anywhere in the world. Yeah. Oh, man. Now you're gonna really I gotta stick to my original answers or I'll be sitting here in this chair, staring at the wall for 30 minutes. Coyote den in New Mexico is awesome. been gone for 40 years? Probably bet that place was great.

William Huffman  1:07:42  
So I'm going to the next one. Yeah. Okay, I got it. I gotta get number four. I guess are cool. I gotta sound cool. Oh

Aaron Bourdage  1:07:51  
God, I don't even know if we're going in order. But okay, so that doesn't have been ordered coyote dens gone. Oh, man. So growing up in New Mexico. I mean, there's so much great food down there, but I can't even really think of places. I can't think of the names of any of them right now for some reason. But any if you go to Gallup, New Mexico or Albuquerque, New Mexico get green chili on anything like, even when I was a kid at Pizza Hut in New Mexico, you got a green chili pepperoni pizza was phenomenal cereal. Fast food, but I don't like fast food. But in New Mexico, there's a place called Lata burger. And they have green chili cheeseburgers that are frickin like hatch

Aaron Bourdage  1:08:34  
green chilies. Yep, absolutely. The other IRA. Oh, God. That sounds really good. It does sound good. There could be a barbecue class on this. Yeah. So

William Huffman  1:08:42  
good. All right now we're good at number three.

Aaron Bourdage  1:08:46  
Locally, I think Missy and I are big fans. Baja house. Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Neyman ranch steak, and they're crazy chicken and yeah, so we that's kind of our go to if we're gonna go. We were going out with some friends of ours. Then we just and we're like, debating by House was so delicious. Yeah, they do a great job. And it's just it's kind of a fun atmosphere. Yeah. Huge. And I think it's, it feels like it's a little unknown, but their food quality is just amazing. Yeah, street corn. Oh, treat corn. I would just just give me a cup of it.

William Huffman  1:09:21  
Yeah. It's so good. Yeah. I don't share that when I get that. Yeah, it's so good. All right, we'll head over to number two.

Aaron Bourdage  1:09:30  
Ah, I'm a big fan of Sixsmith. Yeah, okay. You know, you can't beat the lake. You can't beat the it's Nathan, our middle kid. worked there for a bit so that was cool.

William Huffman  1:09:45  
ambiance there bourbon bacon.

Aaron Bourdage  1:09:47  
begging me it comes with a man. Yeah. And what do you do with the bourbon and you get it so

William Huffman  1:09:54  
I used to dump it on it. Now I dunk it.

Aaron Bourdage  1:09:58  
Do you and I haven't dunk it. I don't know. on it and then uh, yeah, I probably take half a shot,

William Huffman  1:10:02  
I would say because that's I want to.

Aaron Bourdage  1:10:04  
I want to save a little bit. Yep. Yep. But yeah, they do a really good job. Really, really good food.

William Huffman  1:10:10  
If you don't know what that is six minutes on my Zetta somebody's Baja, so yeah, absolutely.

Aaron Bourdage  1:10:15  
Yeah, like Lake St. Louis. Is it Lake

William Huffman  1:10:19  
St. Yeah. in Baja the house is. So Billy owns it. Billy used to own Billy sushi right there. As soon as I opened up sushi fix and now he owns Billy sushi downtown. And but yeah, it's a great restaurant and such good quality and oh, yeah, fantastic. Number one.

Aaron Bourdage  1:10:42  
I might have to go to Okay. Because it's different things. So the place I go to all the time that that's just kind of my go to and the guys we order lunch for the store and stuff and it's a hang. You can you can find me there most nice. We spent a lot of time at wild boar in downtown Hopkins and they've they've got a really diverse menu and they they're kind of always keeping things going and I'm I'm a big football fan. I think they have at freaking TVs in there. My Sony TVs. The

William Huffman  1:11:17  
Yeah, no, we over we there is a few things we didn't cover but that's okay.

Aaron Bourdage  1:11:21  
Yeah, yeah. So wild boar is really, really good. You know, for burgers and, you know, just it's barfing around the corner. Honestly, if you're a cheese curd person out there cheese curds. They're the best. Oh, wow. I honestly didn't pull tabs. Oh, yeah. Okay. Yep,

William Huffman  1:11:38  
that's all yes. That I mean.

Aaron Bourdage  1:11:40  
Oh, your cardboard crack? Yep. Been there done that. Yes. Missy. Your most? Yeah.

William Huffman  1:11:48  
I have to carry a certain amount of cash with me when I go and I cannot pay my debit card. Yeah, that's that's, that's the only way they can't bring a bank card. Nope, nope. All right. And then what's your number one point a?

Aaron Bourdage  1:12:00  
Well, one that I just feel like I got a shout out for Missy. Lago taco and in Excelsior is really good.

Aaron Bourdage  1:12:07  
We have not been there. Yet. It's it's

Aaron Bourdage  1:12:11  
for my liking. You know, New Mexico style green chili. Yes. Not so much like, the way I grew up, but it's always really good. It's a really small place. But, but yeah, they've got good food if you get their their spicy red sauce. It's the fun thing about as you know that they make it because some days I'll get it. I'm like, holy crap. I'm sweating like a pig. And other days. It's just hot. Yeah. So you know, they're making it in house. And but yeah, they're there. They're great. That's awesome. It's really good stuff.

William Huffman  1:12:44  
That's awesome, man. Well, I appreciate you coming on today. Hopefully it fulfilled all your wildest dreams and expectations.

Aaron Bourdage  1:12:50  
I've never talked about myself so much my life, if I was writing for me is

Aaron Bourdage  1:12:53  
like, tell us more.

William Huffman  1:12:54  
Well, there's, there's more stories, like we can just come back and be like, just do a storytime. Yeah, and just be like TAS of Coors lights and just start going down rabbit holes. shit that you should have done, you know, or do or should have not done or whatever.

Aaron Bourdage  1:13:06  
Yeah, there's a lot of that. It's been good. We didn't even know. We could. Yeah. Correct.

William Huffman  1:13:13  
Yeah, I'm just saying, there's a lot of stuff. You're gonna have to back you're gonna have to come back man because we're gonna we're gonna go down some rabbit holes. But uh, thank you so much for allowing us to kind of go through your life in the timeline and super appreciate it. As always, we out deuces