Saddle up partner, there’s a new BBQ sheriff in town, and when he’s not confit-ing duck legs and escargot-ing snails, he’s manning a smoker just a few blocks away.
That’s right, Chef James Porter of Petite Maison has thrown his hat into the Valley’s BBQ ring with the February 4th opening of Big Earl’s BBQ in Old Town Scottsdale.
Big Earl’s (named for Porter’s father, Earl) hits all the BBQ styles from Texas brisket ($14.99) to Carolina pulled pork ($13.99) to St. Louis pork ribs ($19.99).
‘Cue isn’t BBQ without sides and Big Earl’s is slinging $2.99 goods like fried okra, potato salad, coleslaw and mac ‘n cheese.
Look for sandwiches, plates, ribs and combos, and even a “tasty parts” menu section featuring fried sweetbreads, pickled pigs feet and crisped pig tails.
And what’s ‘cue without something to whet your whistle? Big Earl’s is stocking the usual suspects, like Lynchburg Lemonade made with Jack Daniels and draft beers like Bud Light and Shiner Bock (along with some decent craft brews like Four Peaks and Odell). Sweet tea is, of course, also on the menu along with Monster Energy Drink (huh?)
They say the sauce is the secret, although some ‘cue aficionados insist sauce is optional. Big Earl’s has teamed up with the Valley’s Desert Smoke BBQ, headed by larger-than-life Tony Morales. Big Tony has custom-bottled an original Big Earl’s sauce as well as his popular sweet and spicy blend.
Several things on the menu don’t involve BBQ at all, like fried catfish po’boy ($8.99), a veggie burger ($7.99) and southern style sausage balls with hot mustard ($5.99).
But make no mistake, this is a barbecue joint. It’s just one with solid Southern roots, punctuated with Georgia grits and collard greens.
Expect a little fancy cheffing here and there, too. After all, Porter is a French classics trained chef — who happens to love barbecue.
Big Earl’s BBQ
7213 East 1st Avenue, Scottsdale
bigearlsbbq.com (website under construction)
Opens for dinner February 4 at 5 p.m. and opens for lunch beginning Saturday, February 5 at 11 a.m.