The kids love saying the name.

But the wife of one customer was pretty livid when she got the debit card readout and saw “Holy Smokin’ Butts” among the gas and grocery charges.

“She thought her husband was at a strip club,” says Marisa Lewis, who came up with the name and christened her year-old barbecue food truck and month-old brick-and-mortar restaurant Holy Smokin’ Butts BBQ.

And when she and her fairly newlywed husband, Curt — the pair’s been married just a couple of years — signed the lease on their brick-and-mortar restaurant at 1104 S. Wilmot Road back in February, the name kinda stuck.

“I wanted something nice and catchy,” Marisa Lewis said Friday, three weeks after the restaurant opened June 1 following an extensive remodel of the building that originally housed a Lucky Wishbone restaurant.

The Lewises are still waiting for their restaurant-sized smoker to be finished so in the meantime they are smoking meats — everything from chicken and hot links to pork butt and brisket — in the smaller smoker they use for the food truck.

Which is largely why nearly every evening, an hour or two before they are supposed to close at 8 p.m., Holy Smokin’ Butts sells out of its popular brisket and pulled pork, which you can buy by the plate or the pound.

“By the end of the day we are sold out of a majority of the meat,” Marisa Lewis said just before 4 p.m. last Friday. “Today we are already sold out of the brisket. We are open 11 to 8, but yesterday we were literally sold out of all of the meats by 6:30, quarter to 7.”

Lewis’ husband is the pitmaster and the couple has the smoker running 24/7 to keep up with demand and quality, she said. Curt Lewis feeds the fire with pecan wood and smokes the brisket 16 to 20 hours and the pork butt 14 to 16. Chickens, ribs, tri-tip and sausage are easy — 2 or 3 hours max.

Lewis said the couple’s goal is to bring the flavor of traditional Texas barbecue to her native Tucson. She and Curt met in Tucson a few years ago and she followed him to Texas, where she worked in social services and he did IT work. They lived together in the Lone Star State for 18 months before moving back to Tucson in spring 2016.

“We decided to come back to Tucson and start the business up. We wanted to bring authentic Texas barbecue to Tucson,” which includes dry rubbing the meats and smoking around the clock, she said.

Holy Smokin’ Butts BBQ, 1104 S. Wilmot Road, is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Details: or call 329-3088.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch.

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.