Moose Creek in Arlington is a barbecue experience

On Saturday, after a tough morning of pumpkin picking, the family and I had worked up a powerful hunger.

We were in Arlington so we stopped in at Moose Creek Barbecue and we are so glad we did.

This is some of the best dang barbecue I’ve ever had. I don’t know how this mom-and-pop shop can make meat so melt-in-your-mouth tender, but it’s proof positive that 30 years in the business can pay off.

This bastion of barbecue perfection is tucked on the end of Smokey Point Town Center. Inside the spit-and-polish restaurant, we were greeted by a life-sized carved cowboy, a smiling and pleasant server and a heavenly smell that made me think we had just walked into a barbecue pit.

Our helpful server guided us through the menu and was keen to suggest I order the barbecue tri-tip sandwich that offered leaner slices of wood-roasted beef. I ordered a side of ranch beans to go with ($10.95).

My husband ordered the classic pit barbecue brisket — a half pound of brisket no less — with a side of slaw ($10.95).

Our son doesn’t know from barbecue so he had a bag of chips. He was much more interested in the huge moose head hanging at the back of the restaurant next to the sign that reads, “Please don’t touch the moose.”

We sat down and studied the menu. The modest tri-fold brochure was filled with lots of enticing offerings from small barbecue dinners of three ribs and two sides ($11.95) to family packs that range from a small rib pack that feeds about four to the “ribfest” that feeds about nine and comes with three racks of ribs and choice of two quart sizes of sides ($75.95).

I gave pause while reading about the Carolina pulled pork sandwich ($10.95) that boasts of a “heap of 20-hour smoked pork, tender as a mama’s love on a French bun with molasses hog wash and a splash of our original sauce.”

Hmmm. Had I made the wrong choice for lunch?

Before my mind could answer, our server arrived with our plates.

One bite and I knew the answer was “heck, no.”

My sandwich was filled to the brim with tri-tip and sauce but somehow by magic, the meat stayed inside the bread. I bit down and the buttery-tender meat and soft bun combined in a synergy of spicy savoriness in my mouth.

But forget the adjectives. My sandwich plate did not come with a knife, so that pretty much tells the story.

The fork was used for the fresh ranch beans bathed in a sauce kicked up a notch with chili powder.

My husband thoroughly enjoyed his brisket. He even ventured to try a little of the bottled five-X Moose Creek Barbecue sauce on the table. But he apparently wasn’t cowboy enough for that kind of heat. The bottled sauce is for sale.

My son happily munched his chips and while eating, we all enjoyed a side helping of music by Hank Williams.

I’ll confess right here that I’ve never been a huge fan of barbecue. Most of what I’ve ordered in the past was too sickenly sweet, as if dunked in a vat of melted Sugar Daddy lollipops.

Moose Creek Barbecue does none of that sissy sweet stuff. The sauce is a robust, full-flavor experience that goes down smooth but with a hint of heat.

On their web page, Moose Creek owners say they don’t copy any other styles but have invented their own using white oak, pecan and apple wood, meat that’s delivered daily from Curly’s Gourmet Ribs and years of barbecue experience.

The owners said that after 30 years you learn a lot, and darn tootin’, they’ve learned to do barbecue right.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424;

Moose Creek Barbecue

3617 172nd St. NE, Suite 5, Arlington; 360-651-2523;

Specialties: barbecue beef, brisket, ribs, pork and chicken

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays

Prices: moderate

Alcohol: beer

Talk to us

More in Life

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Dark gray wheels and black exterior accents provide extra visual appeal for the 2024 Subaru Impreza’s RS trim. (Subaru)
2024 Subaru Impreza loses a little, gains a lot

The brand’s compact car is fully redesigned. A couple of things are gone, but many more have arrived.

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

A clump of flowering ornamental grass or pennisetum alopecuroides in an autumn garden.
My garden runneth over with fountain grasses, and for good reason

These late-blooming perennials come in many varieties. They work well as accents, groundcovers, edgings or in containers.

This Vacasa rental is disgusting. Can I get my money back?

The vacation rental Carol Wilson books for her group through Vacasa is infested with rats and insects. Vacasa offers to refund one night, but can they get all of their money back?

A woman diverts from her walk on Colby Avenue to take a closer look at a pickup truck that was partly crushed by a fallen tree during an overnight wind storm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in north Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / Herald file)
Storm season is coming. Here’s how to prepare for power outages.

The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit.

Do you prefer green or red grapes? This antique Moser pitcher is decorated with enameled grapevines on shaded red-to-green glass.
Grapevine pitcher was made by renowned Bohemian company

Also, queries about grandmother’s coffee set and late husband’s Beatles records and memorabilia collection.

The city of Mukilteo is having a naming contest for its new $75,000 RC Mowers R-52, a remote-operated robotic mower. (Submitted photo)
Mukilteo muncher: Name the $75,000 robot mower

The city is having a naming contest for its new sod-slaying, hedge-hogging, forest-clumping, Mr-mow-it-all.

Death of parent with child. Piece of paper with parents and children is torn in half.
Helping children cope with the hard realities of divorce

I’s important to set aside one’s feelings and find a way to make this challenging transition as comfortable for children as you can.