Detroit BBQ Company pitmaster Tim Idzikowski dies at 36


Metro Detroit’s chef, restaurant and barbecue scene is mourning the loss of one of its pit masters, known for making some of the best barbecues.

Tim Idzikowski, 36, owner and co-founder of the Ferndale-based Detroit BBQ Company, died Thursday, his wife, Tracey Kane, said. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Idzikowski was known for his skills and know-how as a barbecue expert. His food truck was popular at events like the annual Ferndale Pig & Whiskey Festival. Kane said the festival was where the couple first met. The outdoor summer event celebrates barbecue, whiskey and live music.

“He was loyal and generous,” Kane said. “He would give you the shirt he had on his back. He adored our two dogs, Ruthie and Mo Mo.”

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Idzikowski hired children with autism and would work patiently with them, Kane said. He was known for his generosity in providing food to people in need, Kane said, as well as to many food causes, friends and sick animals.

A native of Fair Haven, Michigan, Idzikowski honed his barbecue and meat-smoking skills on his own. According to the Detroit BBQ Company website, Idzikowski started with his brother Zac and another friend selling ribs and chicken in 2009 at the Grosse Pointe Farmer’s Market, primarily to make money from beer. Things went well and the owners expanded their barbecue knowledge by learning how to make pulled pork and other barbecue items.

Together they started a restaurant business and bought a food truck.

“He’s done tons of weddings, graduation parties, birthday parties and everything,” Kane said. “This winter he stood outside our house making sure ‘a pig was roasted’ for a memorial service for a guy who always wanted to have one.”

Kane said that although the pandemic has upended Idzikowski’s work as festivals and events have been canceled or gone virtual, Idzikowski hasn’t let him down. He started doing curbside service and bringing the food truck to neighborhoods.

“He was so worried about keeping his employees paid. He had people who depended on him. He didn’t take it lightly. He made sure they got a decent salary and were taken care of. charge,” Kane said.

Metro Detroit chiefs took to social media to express their condolences and grief over the news.

Brendon Edwards, co-founder and owner of Metropolitan Kitchen and Bar in Detroit’s West Village neighborhood, wrote in a Facebook post that Idzikowski’s passing was a loss.

“He’s reached out to me multiple times to offer his support, more often than most. Offering his services for our wedding, coming to brunch/popups and texting regularly. Man. What a loss. He could be outspoken, can -to be a bit rude but I always saw him as sincere.He called people on their BS and yelled at great people with no request.

Chef Matthew McGrail, co-owner and executive chef of Cork and Gabel in Corktown, knew Idzikowski through the restaurant business.

“Tim was a funny, loud, opinionated guy who literally made the best barbecue I’ve ever had. He never had a problem trying to help anyone with advice on how to make a great barbecue. barbecue, which failed to reach his level, and he was always ready to help.”

Reva Constantine of the Great Lakes Culinary Center said, “Tim had the best Texas BBQ in Michigan and we ordered it all the time!”

On the Pig & Whiskey Facebook page, Idzikowski is remembered as “the heart and soul behind Detroit BBQ Company and that he was a pillar of the community. Like most things in his life, no one has took barbecuing more seriously, or had more fun doing it., than Tim. At every Pig and Whiskey since we started, no one had a long line of customers waiting, or a greater number of satisfied customers.

Idzikowski is survived by his wife; parents, Tim and Lori Idzikowski; Zac and his wife Katie; his sister Kelly Idzikowski; and nieces and nephews Zachary, Zoey, Zara and Zane.

No funeral arrangements have been made at this time.

A celebration of his life, according to the Detroit BBQ Company, is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Batch Brewing Company in Corktown.

“The (Detroit BBQ Company) staff have stepped up again and we will be providing food. If you feel the need to tip them, Tim would have loved that,” Kane wrote.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to Focus: HOPE or Detroit Dog Rescue.

Contact Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press food editor, and send food and restaurant news to: Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

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