To Martin Dowd, the owner of Dowd’s BBQ, nothing is more important than family. A close second, though, is cooking great barbecue.
As a young boy, Dowd grew up in a large, close-knit family in North Carolina. There, his father and cousin collaborated at the grill and smoker in the backyard, inspiring Dowd’s fascination with the culinary art of the pitmaster.
“Their love for our family inspired them to put so much passion into their cooking,” Martin remembered. “They are true pitmasters. They’d constantly change up recipes and then call up the whole family, who would pop up for dinner. You’re talking about 20 or 30 folks stopping by for an average barbecue.”
Fast-forward to the 1990s, and Dowd, who’d served three tours in Iraq for the U.S. Navy, relocated to the Pacific Northwest and settled down with his family. He brought with him a love for good, old-fashioned Southern cuisine — hot off the grill (or out of the smoker).
Asked about the secret to his sumptuous barbecue dishes, he explained his philosophy. “I never cheat the food. A lot of people these days try to do things too fast. Slow and low is the best way to create juicy, authentic, hardwood-cooked meat.”
He established Dowd’s BBQ in 2003. It’s a family-run catering business and restaurant, where he’s fed the souls and stomachs of his loyal customers ever since. Now, he’s moving into a new location in Fern Hill, set to open soon, where he’ll continue to offer the satisfying, down-home comfort food of his childhood.
Also close to Dowd’s heart is the fate of those experiencing homelessness in his community. “We partnered with Eastside Baptist Church, Tacoma Rescue Mission, Nativity House of Tacoma, and other outreach ministries who utilize my equipment, and we cook meals for the homeless,” Dowd said.
Dowd’s BBQ donates hundreds of delicious, grilled meals every week to those who are suffering and need a helping hand. Dowd’s BBQ offers inside dining (when possible) and take-out, curbside pickup, and delivery of meals out of its new digs at 8239 S. Park Avenue. Dowd’s food truck also delivers full-service catering with customizable menus and barbecue grilling or meat smoking onsite.