Looks like the smoke's gone out at Big Earl's BBQ. The home of "old school 'Q'" in Old Town Scottsdale has shuttered.
Opened in January 2011 in a standalone white brick building at 7213 East First Avenue (formerly Jac's Pizzeria), Big Earl's came courtesy of Scottsdale-based JABD Enterprises. The restaurant filled a niche for Scottsdalians tired of driving to Joe's Real BBQ in Gilbert or Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue in Cave Creek to get their 'cue fix.
JABD Enterprises initially brought on James Porter (Petite Maison) as Big Earl's chef and operating manager, with Porter creating a menu of barbecue dinners and sandwiches as well as appetizers and sides such as Southern-style sausage balls, pork belly, and Carolina-style cole slaw.
In February 2012, Porter ended his affiliation with Big Earl's, but not before he and the restaurant were visited by Adam Richman of Travel Channel's Man v. Food in late 2011. And in January 2012, just before Porter's departure, two Big Earl's fans had themselves tattooed with the restaurant's logo.
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Chef Luis Mata (Such Is Life, Plaza Grill, Tapas Papa Frita) stepped in to take Porter's place and transitioned the menu to regional Mexican cuisine with less emphasis on barbecue.
A source tells me the restaurant has been closed since last Friday.