Food & Drink

Christopher Blatchford: Vegan Barbeque Trailblazer

Christopher Blatchford is just getting started making the world a better place. Selling vegan BBQ out of his Avenues home, Blatchford is saving the environment and the animals, and helping people eat better while smashing the stereotype of bland vegan food.


Blatch’s Backyard BBQ is anything but boring. 

His meatless barbeque has inspired a cult following, and his fan base is dedicated. “Chris’ chicken sandwich specials have to be my absolute favorites because they’re so creative and unique,” says Stephanie Bachman, theslcveggie on Instagram. “The sauces he makes for them are so good, they’re straight drinkable.” 

Jeremy Beckham claims, “You can’t go wrong ordering anything at Blatch’s, but my favorite dish there is probably the vegan Reuben sandwich. I love it because it has a generous helping of protein-packed seitan, and the dish delivers it with a delicious flavor to boot.” 

The menu, available on Friday afternoons, is loaded with tantalizing options. The VBQ (vegan BBQ) mains are a Smoked Vegan Brisket, Smoked Korean BBQ strips, Tempeh Burnt Ends, and for those who are gluten-free, Slow-smoked Jackfruit. 

There are combo meals to choose from, as well as gigantic sandwiches like The Pretzel Monster — a whopping half-pound of your choice of protein served on a pretzel bun topped with house-made pickles, slaw, crispy fried onions, and house-made sauces. Don’t miss out on the delicious sides like Purple Citrus Slaw and Smoked Poblano Potato Salad. Be sure you order the wood-fired rolls to sop up all the flavors! 

Photo courtesy of Blatch’s Backyard BBQ.

Making everything from scratch (and yes, that includes the “meat”), Blatchford is a uniquely talented pit master. His basic kitchen skills originated from doing food prep in an old folk’s home, but his passion for selling healthy, delicious food started when he was only six years old. Inspired by an abundant apple tree in his front yard, he developed his own recipe for apple crisp. Buying the supplies himself, he sold “Apple Chris” to his neighbors, door to door. He even paid his mom $5 to cover the utilities. 

Disappointed by the vegan and vegetarian options at family and friends’ barbecues, Blatchford started bringing his own. Armed with smoked mushrooms and jackfruit, Blatchford showed his meat-eating friends how delicious plant-based dishes could be. When his vegan dishes disappeared faster than the meaty stuff, Blatchford got an idea. Adding a professional kitchen to his house and getting a permit for a microenterprise home kitchen, Blatchford set forth to change the barbeque world. 

“If I can provide an American tradition, a barbeque that is sustainable and that is kind to the animals, and it’s not damaging to your body — I’m a pioneer!” he proclaims. He’s proud that nearly 40% of his customers are not even vegan or vegetarian — they just like eating good food. 

“My favorite thing is changing the game. I’m on the forefront of helping the world be a little more sustainable,” he explains. “Traditional barbeque is not sustainable. It’s harmful to the environment, harmful to the animals, and it’s really not healthy for you.” 

Besides feeding his fans, he also takes pride in showing off his amazing vegan barbeque on social media. His vegan outreach has paid off; customers from all over the country make the trek to Salt Lake City for a bite of his brisket. Take a peek at his Instagram yourself. His handle is @blatchsbbq. . 

Blatch’s Backyard BBQ is open two days a week. Drop by on Wednesday’s from 5:00 – 7:00pm for a rotating meal special that’s sure to knock your socks off! Visit Friday from 2:00 – 6:30pm for the full spread. 

Make sure you study the menu on his website before you visit — there’s a lot to choose from! You can also do a little grocery shopping while you’re there. Blachford says people are surprised to see a full retail area in his home, but where else would he sell his house-made products? He’s located at 186 I Street in Salt Lake City. 

Blatchford is convinced that VBQ (vegan bbq) is the future. He imagines a world where people bring his vegan meats to their own family and friends’ barbecues. He wants everyone to eat vegan, even if it’s just some of the time. By changing the stigma and stereotype of vegan fare, Blatchford hopes to help more and more people begin to eat plant-based food and have a more positive impact on our environment. 

Pretty soon, VBQ will be a household word.

Top image by John Taylor.


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