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“Bear Mountain pellets have great smoke flavor, and lots of it. Plus, they’re clean, and I don’t burn through them too quickly.”

Much of Brian Gurney’s life over the past decade has been on the road. Since 2011, he and his wife Shelly have traveled across the country, and even the world, bringing their culinary creations to barbecue competitions of all sizes. The BAD BONES BBQ team has won 19 Grand Championships, 11 Reserve Grand Championships and many more.

Then, in March 2020, right after they returned from Meatstock in Auckland, New Zealand, barbecue competitions across the globe shut down due to the pandemic. Gurney found himself cooped up in his home, which is in the Portland area, with no travel plans and few catering gigs. He saw it as an opportunity to build on the BAD BONES BBQ brand and perfect four long-awaited barbecue sauces.

“It’s taken me two years to get those sauces exactly the way I want them, working with a company to bottle and label the sauces,” Gurney says. “COVID ended up giving me the time to focus on that and finish them."

BAD BONES BBQThe four sauces – Beast BBQ, Hell Bent BBQ, Honey Mustard and Apple Chipotle – were released on BAD BONES BBQ’S website over Thanksgiving. Within 24 hours, they had shipped to nine different states. Gurney’s creations are currently being sold in five stores and distribution is growing. Gurney also plans on releasing five barbecue rubs and two more sauces – Cherry Habanero and Smoked Peach – by spring.

“I worked on these sauces nonstop from March until November, getting the product just right, designing the labels, putting everything into production,” he says. “I’m proud with how they turned out and really happy so many people are enjoying them.”

Gurney has enjoyed cooking and grilling since he was a kid, and he’s always loved barbecue, but he says he wasn’t very good at the start. Over the years, he taught himself a lot of techniques, which came in handy when he and Shelly started competing in 2011.

“When you start to compete, you really capitalize on those self-taught techniques and try to make things better,” he says. “Shelly and I started with small events around the community. As we got better, we graduated to large competitions. We were successful, so we kept going.”

Bad Bones BBQ x Bear Mountain BBQAs the BAD BONES BBQ team continued to win championships and pick up catering gigs, Gurney transitioned from his career as a photographer and graphic designer to full-time barbecue.

“The phone was ringing for food. That was the demand, so it became my full-time work,” he says.

Years ago, at a barbecue event, Gurney came across Bear Mountain BBQ. He immediately loved the natural flavor and the clean burn.

“Bear Mountain pellets have great smoke flavor, and lots of it. Plus, they’re clean, and I don’t burn through them too quickly,” he says. “I love the variety of flavors, especially the new Craft Blends.”

While Gurney appreciates the time he’s had at home to build his brand and new products, he’s ready to get back on the road.

“I really miss the dumpy hotels out in the middle of nowhere that we would stay at as we were driving across the country to different barbecue competitions,” he says. “When we’re in the middle of it all, we didn’t like the dumpy hotels, but now I’m actually missing it.”

He’s also excited to get to see friends and colleagues again, in person.

“When I started barbecuing, I never expected to make lifelong friends from it,” he says. “But we just started meeting all kinds of people. It’s really a great community.”

Gurney has cooked many amazing dishes over the years, but some of his favorites right now are beef cheeks, which he says make great tacos, brisket and beef ribs. He’s shared a couple of his tasty creations, which feature Bear Mountain pellets, with us. Check out his BAD BONES BBQ’s Smoked Beef Ribs and Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf.

As BAD BONES BBQ continues putting out delicious creations and (hopefully) gets back on the road, make sure to keep an eye on what they’re grilling by visiting their website, Instagram or Facebook page. And, if you want to try Gurney’s delicious sauces, click here.