Chow Bella

Cafe: Big Earl's BBQ

Making good bbq is not easy. It's an exercise in patience; one that requires discipline and hard work. That's why we leave it to the pros and their fully-equipped BBQ restaurants.

Sadly, it looks like Big Earl's Fancy BBQ is not the place to spend your BBQ dollars.

Music Editor Martin Cizmar on Big Earl's BBQ:

Grab a cheap domestic can at the bar -- just don't make the mistake of ordering the deep-fried pickles as an appetizer. Frying large, moist foodstuffs is skilled labor, and Big Earl's cooks haven't mastered it. One of my three trips was nearly ruined when scalding hot pickle juice burst out of its crunchy casing at the first nibble, leaving me with a bad case of coffee tongue.

The crunchy fried sweetbreads were almost as bad, as the dark and dry breading overwhelmed whatever other flavors were there. The Southwest chopped salad is totally pointless -- boring ol' iceberg lettuce and scattered bacon bits, corn nut-style fried black-eyed peas, and ranch dressing. The grits with shrimp -- I'm allergic to shellfish, so my dining companion sampled in my stead -- were swimming in butter and, I'm told, had a distinct fishiness...full story

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Jonathan McNamara