Bootleggers in North Phoenix is a kind of barbecue pit gone the way of a gastropub.
It's a place where a half-pound of sliced brisket can be paired with a well-crafted Old Fashioned served up in a mason jar; cold-smoked chicken wings can be chased with gourmet jelly shots; and a griddled pork belly sandwich is at home next to a craft brew, a glass of wine, or a dangerously smooth offering of housemade apple pie moonshine.
From first-time restaurateur Rick Phillips, co-writer of the food blog EaterAZ and the man behind the Arizona Taco and Arizona BBQ festivals, competition-circuit pit-master Kevin Slade, and with some help on the menu from chef Matt Carter (Zinc Bistro, The Mission, The House), Bootleggers isn't just a welcome addition to the neighborhood, it's a welcome addition to the Valley's barbecue-starved scene.
Here's an excerpt from this week's review:
"Like so many restaurants these days, Bootleggers serves pork belly, but given its cache of stellar, slow-cooked offerings, here it feels less like a novelty act and more a part of the program. Smoked for 10 hours, the deliciously fatty meat, lit up with spicy aioli, beefsteak tomato, and onions between toasty pieces of sourdough, bulks out what is not only the best sandwich on Bootleggers' stellar sandwich menu, but one of the most memorable in the Valley -- the PBLT."
Hungry for more? Read my full review of Bootleggers in North Phoenix here.