WSWE crew spent this past Saturday Downtown Chandler at The Great American BBQ and Beer Festival. This fest is not only titled Arizona’s largest BBQ event, but also has won for “Outstanding Event of the Year.”
We arrived right before the gates opened at noon to find a line of about 500 people anxiously waiting to enter. The aroma of BBQ saturated the air, and we were excited to get in and start sampling some of the 60 BBQ places that were represented.
We walked in and immediately were drawn in by Sally’s BBQ where the friendly Pit Master welcomed us over and invited one of our crew members to help him cook a rack ribs! Of course we had to indulge in “the goods”. We were off to a good start! The St. Louis style ribs were tender, smoky and fall off the bone delicious smothered in a sauce that was slightly sweet with a tomato base.
Since this was a BBQ & Beer fest it was time to pull over to one of the many San Tan Brewery tents and quench our thirst. As we were enjoying our brewsky’s we noticed people devouring what looked like nachos but with potato chips. We had to track down which BBQ place was selling this naughty delight. Tom’s BBQ was offering these BBQ Nachos. Homemade potato chips loaded with pulled pork, bbq sauce and all the usual nacho toppings. Whoa, share this with friends…it was huge!
Next was a sample of brisket from QUp! Food Truck. Mesquite Slow Smoked Brisket was not only visually stunning but delicious! Smokey, extremely tender and juicy! Subtle spices from a rub were present but not overwhelming and only added to the natural flavors of the meat.
As the day went on, the attendance grew. The fest was starting to get crowded. But the layout of the event was well thought out as we walked around with ease. The bands playing at the far end of the fest could be heard throughout and gave a nice festive vibe to the event.
We made our way over to Joe’s BBQ. The ribs were meaty and once again fell off the bone the only way good BBQ does when cooked “low and slow.”
Our last stop was Ragin Cajun Smoking BBQ. The constant line told us this was gonna be tasty! We ordered pulled chicken sandwich, pulled pork sandwich and a Barge Wrap (four meat.) Cajun goodness! The meats were moist which means smoked to perfection with a spicy but flavorful BBQ sauce. The beans and dirty rice were both nice sides that packed a bit of a punch with spicy southern flavors.
Another successful year for The Great American BBQ & Beer Festival. We all not only enjoyed stuffing our faces (and getting BBQ sauce all over them) but enjoyed strolling, people watching and soaking up the sun! It was a finger-lickin’ good day!