Bootleggers executive chef James Fox agrees there's more interest in barbecue now than in recent years. Just look at the explosion of 'cue-focused television shows, such as BBQ Pitmasters, and a recent MasterCard commercial that features chef Nobu Matsuhisa at Franklin Barbecue in Austin.
"I definitely think it's everywhere now," Fox says.
But unlike in places like Texas and North Carolina, Arizona isn't known for a particular regional style of BBQ. Fox says it's a double-edged sword for pit masters in the Valley. Since many Arizonans haven't been exposed to much barbecue, they often don't know what makes "good" barbecue. On the upside, that leaves the door open for chefs like Fox to do barbecue however they see fit without having to worry about straying from time-honored traditions.
"I wouldn't say we have a style at Bootleggers," Fox says. "I would say it's 'James Fox-style.' I want to make barbecue the way I like to eat barbecue. I don't want to be pigeonholed."