Foodie Friday: Small Towns, Big Personalities and Bigger Hearts Make Bear Creek Smokehouse the Ideal Destination for a True Texan Foodie Experience

by Martin Ramirez on January 26, 2024 in Food+Drink,

If you close your eyes and say “Texas,” one or more of these things may come to mind. BBQ. Cows. Fields of grass and tall oak trees. Cowboy hats and warm smiles. Small towns and big trucks. Family. Friends. History. Tradition. Legacy. 


It’s these very elements that Robbie Shoults and his part of Texas represent. Bear Creek Smokehouse is a true Texas icon and a must visit on your foodie adventures.

Picturesque ranchland surrounds the Bear Creek General Store. Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.

The Finest Tour Trap in Texas

Situated on a sprawling 1,500-acre family farm, Bear Creek Smokehouse has become a tourist attraction for small town charm and cowboy culture since its conception in 2018. Famed chef and TV personality Robbie Shoults had the idea to build the General Store, and in doing so, spurred—pun intended—a momentous movement to put Bear Creek and the East Texas town of Marshall on the map.

The recent expansion of the Pit Room calls neighbors and visitors from all over to sit and break bread with one another. Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.

After opening the General Store, the table and retail concept quickly expanded to a more formal dining facility with a pit room. The combined total space is a 350 guest-capacity dining hall and event room designed for weddings, special events, catering services and private parties, all against the backdrop of a picturesque Texas ranchland scene. And of course, it wouldn’t be a true Texan landmark without the BBQ.

Crowd favorites like pork belly are available until sold out, which happens fast! Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.

Carrying Over 80 Years of Smoked Meat Tradition

Robbie brings larger-than-life personality and passion to his style of Texas BBQ. Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.

What makes the food at Bear Creek particularly special is the legacy. Robbie brings generations of Texas cuisine to this menu, wholeheartedly representing the First Family of Texas Smoked Meats with mainstay options like brisket, pork belly and ribs — his favorite. Robbie and his family aren’t above trying anything new, however. His thoughts on BBQ mean “anything that can’t outrun you.” He jokes but it’s true. He cites that BBQ is always a learning experience. “I love experimenting,” he says. This love and excitement for food shows in his work because he is, after all, a famed chef and recurring TV personality on various cooking shows. Robbie has been featured on Huckabee, NTD News, CBS, The List, WGN’s Lunchbreak, the TODAY show, Rachael Ray, and even a five-time guest judge on The Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay. “I love to do the TV stuff, to let people know about our family’s legacy, the food, family faith aspect,” Robbie says, “that’s what made the business successful plus the hard work.”


Normal BBQ spread at Bear Creek includes slow smoked ribs, brisket and house made pickles. Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.

Bear Creek also uses a tri-wood blend of hickory, pecan and post oak, giving it a unique smoke taste. And in true Texas BBQ tradition, they do it just as good as anyone else. Low and slow. Flanked by crowd favorites like baked beans, mac and cheese and cornbread. All this further testifies that Bear Creek Smokehouse is a true BBQ experience that brings in patrons from all around the world.

For the past 80 years, Bear Creek has been a family operated business; now carried by Robbie, his wife Tracy and their children. Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.

Bring Home the Taste of Bear Creek

Like much of the Bear Creek experience, it’s so much to take all in at once. You’ll spend hours here, from getting gut-busting full to perusing the many western and Texas-themed products housed on repurposed antiques. There’s also photo opportunities with a saddled longhorn steer and miniature donkey out front along with cornhole and other outdoor games. There’s just simply so much to enjoy here, you’ll want to stay; which you can because Bear Creek is also a charming getaway. And if by then you can’t get enough, you can bring home the tastes of Bear Creek through their General Store website.

The General Store offers a wide variety of products, from Yellowstone attire to flavorful food options to take home. Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.

From house-made spicy garlic pickles and tamale salsas to charcuterie spreads, you can enjoy the many flavors that Robbie and his family have worked so long on. It’s simply a labor of love that the Shoults have brought to us all. And there’s more to come.

The view from the dining room provides the perfect Texas backdrop to an immersive BBQ experience. Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.

Matching with Marshall

The latest of the Shoults’ endeavors includes a multi-purpose retail and 30k square-foot event space right in the heart of downtown Marshall. Joked as Robbie’s largest antique to date, the Marshall Mercantile brings that same Bear Creek culture of food, faith and family to Marshall’s restored infrastructure. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. On the family’s 80th year in business, they purchased the original Mercantile, established in 1898. While the town’s recent resurgence includes smoother streets and plans for restored common areas and courtyards, the Shoults have made it a family affair to promote downtown Marshall and all its beauty. Robbie has even partnered with the Harrison County Museum to establish the North Gallery, offering free access to Marshall’s past and rich Caddo history to the public. Other additions of the Mercantile include the Marshall Floral Company and the soon to be fine dining restaurant. More to follow on that.

Robbie and Tracy have partnered with Marshall to bring that same Bear Creek culture to a new retail space in downtown. Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.

Given Robbie and his family’s recent expansions, you’ll never know where he’ll lead them next. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, X, and TikTok.

Be inspired by the words and recipes of Robbie and his family with the Bear Bottom Bliss Cookbook. Photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse.


 Cover photo courtesy Bear Creek Smokehouse

Martin Ramirez is a brisket-eating, Shiner-loving, road-tripping enthusiast of all things Texas. This Dallas-born writer / adventurer is ready to take his ‘78 El Camino to find the best in food, fun, and fitness throughout the Lone Star State.