A Carnivore’s Field Guide to Metro Phoenix

Tempe's Boulders on Broadway is a go-to spot for excellent wings.EXPAND
Tempe's Boulders on Broadway is a go-to spot for excellent wings.
Jackie Mercandetti

There are so many ways to eat meat in Phoenix. It’s hard to know where to start, considering the menu options at local steakhouses, barbecue joints, and breakfast spots. Whether you're a protein patriot or an occasional carnivore, you're in luck. We’ve done the heavy chewing for you. Here’s a field guide to eating meat in metro Phoenix.

Appetizers

It’s almost weird to warm up with meat before a meal, but appetizers like wings and meat and cheese boards should not go unnoticed.

There are places dedicated to wings (ATL Wings, The Wing Counter, et cetera), but you’ll find some great starter wings at Boulders on Broadway, Four Peaks Brewing Company, and JT's Bar & Grill.

Plenty of Valley restaurants also have meat-centric appetizers, including the meat board options at Pig & Pickle and CoR Tapas & Wine. You’ll also find some unique appetizers like AZ/88’s water chestnuts wrapped in Wisconsin Nueske bacon in Scottsdale, and the Sausage Sampler at Haus Murphy’s in historic downtown Glendale.

Start your day off right with a bacon-topped doughnut from Welcome Chicken + Donuts.EXPAND
Start your day off right with a bacon-topped doughnut from Welcome Chicken + Donuts.
Jackie Mercandetti

Bacon

We all say we’re over the bacon craze, but truthfully, you probably aren’t going to turn down a cured strip of porcine goodness when it’s placed in front of you.

Rekindle your love for bacon with the Pig Dip sandwich at St. Francis, the Hog and Chick (do choose the bacon option) at Matt's Big Breakfast, or by adding a thick-cut bacon piece to your burger at The Stand. These options are, of course, in addition to the usual breakfast spots like First Watch, U.S. Egg, and Ranch House Grille.

Bacon also comes in other forms during breakfast. Try the Maple Bacon Donut at Oink Café, the bacon-topped doughnut (when available) at Welcome Chicken + Donuts, and the Maple Bar with Bacon at Rainbow Donuts. For fans of the Bloody Mary, try the Bacon Bloody Mary at RnR, the Bacon Bloody at Zinburger, and the Oink Bacon Bloody Mary back at Oink Café.

You can carb load and get your meat on with the Bratwurst Stuffed Pretzel at Short Leash Hot Dogs.EXPAND
You can carb load and get your meat on with the Bratwurst Stuffed Pretzel at Short Leash Hot Dogs.
Jackie Mercandetti

Sausage

You don’t want to know how the sausage is made, but you do want to know how it tastes. Find a whole section of the menu dedicated to German sausages at Haus Murphy’s in Historic Downtown Glendale. Choose from the Big Smokey Beef Brat and the Kilometer, or try the Nürnberger Bratwürstchen, Guinness Beer Brats, or simply the Original German Sausage made with Thüringer pork sausage.

There’s also a Sausage Plates section of the menu at Brat Haus in Old Town Scottsdale, including the Umami, Chili Brat, and Das Brat. They even have bratwurst options at Short Leash Hot Dogs, including the Bratwurtst Stuffed Pretzel, in which meat has been slow-cooked in Four Peaks Kilt Lifter with sauerkraut onion. In Tempe, Pedal Haus Brewery's grilled bratwurst bites are also a must.

To bring it to the Southwest, Dick’s Hideaway offers New Mexico Sausages – four grilled Schreiner's jalapeño cilantro pork sausages – on their lunch and dinner menu in uptown Phoenix.

Steak

It’s about time we got to steaks, those savory slabs of meat you’re allowed to knife up and fork down in polite society. Metro Phoenix is home to a couple of well-established steakhouses, plus a few steak-heavy entrees worth noting.

Durant’s is perhaps the most famous steakhouse in Phoenix, allowing patrons to enter through the back door before entering the plush, sparsely lit dining room. The restaurant's broiled steaks and chops include the 20-ounce Durant’s Delmonico and the 16-ounce Humble T-Bone Steak.

Donovan's Steak & Chop House is another swanky steakhouse made famous by its Honduran mahogany-laden dining room and its USDA prime steaks – including a Peppercorn Filet, the delicately marbled New York Strip, and the Cajun Rib Eye.

Now get ready — here are some other classic steakhouses in the Valley: Dominick's Steakhouse, Steak 44, The Stockyards Steakhouse, Don and Charlie's, and J&G Steakhouse. If you’re visiting Arizona and haven’t a taste of Old West flair, try The Steakhouse over at Rawhide Western Town, or the supper menu at Texaz Grill (we suggest the smoked prime rib). For a hint of the Eastern world in your steak, try the cuts at Roka Akor or Ah-So Sushi & Steak, which is one of those dinner-and-a-show hibachi spots.

Two-meat plate with macaroni and cheese from Joe's Real BBQ in Gilbert.
Two-meat plate with macaroni and cheese from Joe's Real BBQ in Gilbert.
Jackie Mercandetti

Barbecue

You’ve probably seen a couple of Phoenix’s barbecue joints on TV, and for a memorable smokehouse experience, check out Bobby Q – that roadhouse-looking place visible from I-17 between Glendale Avenue and Bethany Home Road by strings of lights and smokestacks. Wood-fired barbecue platters include St. Louis-style ribs, jumbo Texas beef ribs, smoked sliced beef brisket, and smoked pulled pork – plus the massive Whole Hog Heaven platter.

Over in Gilbert’s Heritage Square, Joe's Real BBQ is a popular spot where you’ll find pecan-smoked meats and probably a long line. We recommend the BBQ Sampler Plate, the Meat Plate, and the Jumbo Sandwich.

For some central Texas–style barbecue platters, try Little Miss BBQ, easy to spot by the retro diner sign near Sky Harbor Airport. The restaurant's award-winning Arizona oak- and pecan-smoked barbecue includes brisket, pulled pork, turkey breast, and on the weekends, pastrami and beef short ribs – most of which you’ll receive on some butcher paper with a pickle.

There are many more fantastic barbecue spots in Phoenix, including the Texas BBQ House, Pork on a Fork BBQ, Rhema Soul Cuisine, and the Barbecue Company Grill & Café.

Exotic Meats

We’ve talked beef, pork, and sausage long enough; now, let’s get creative.

Stax Burger Bistro in Old Town Scottsdale offers a house-made Exotic Stax-style burger at market price. We happened to catch the wild boar burger, but they’re known to have venison, duck, and elk on special (it’s best to call ahead and ask what’s available).

Other exotic meat options in the Valley include the Buffalo Carpaccio at Cowboy Ciao, the grilled venison entrée at Wright's at the Biltmore, and the Rawhide Rattlesnake appetizer at Rawhide Western Town.

Meat-Eating Challenges

Sometimes just dining out isn’t enough of a trial, so you may be in the mood to take things to the next level with a few of these protein heavy food challenges.

One that immediately comes to mind for Valley residents is the Durant's 48-ounce Porterhouse Challenge, a single-sitting task which comes with the prize of membership in Durant’s Porterhouse Club should you complete the task. If you enjoy the steakhouse, you can also check out the Gambler’s Choice at Dirtwater Springs in Apache Junction – take down a 72-ounce steak in one hour and it’s on them – and Rawhide’s Ultimate Cowboy Challenge — just finish three pounds of steak in 45 minutes.

You may have also heard of Tom’s BBQ Full House Challenge, Wimpy's Paradise Belly Buster Burger, Giligan’s Bar Colon Buster, Papi Chulo’s Mexican Grill & Cantina’s Big Papi Burrito Challenge, and Chompie’s Ultimate Jewish Slider Challenge – as seen on Man v. Food.

Good thing fall’s coming, because you’re going to have a serious case of the meat sweats.


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