Bigmista Barbecue: Pig Candy + Burnt Ends-A-Go-Go

Am I the last person in Los Angeles to have visited Bigmista's Barbecue at the Atwater Farmers Market? Because I seem to have been the only customer last week not to realize that Bigmista's is best visited within a few minutes after the stand opens on a Sunday morning, or at least before you browse through the shaggy broccoli at South Central Farms and haggle over frozen goat chops with the organic meat dude. By the time I made it over to the barbecue stand, the ribs and brisket were gone, the pulled pork was finished, and there were only two slices of pig candy left.

Bigmista Barbecue: Pig Candy + Burnt Ends-A-Go-Go
Bigmista Barbecue

Still, some pig candy is better than no pig candy at all, and the sweet, sugar-brushed slabs of double-smoked bacon were about as good as it gets, slightly crisp at the edges but melting away in a great rush of smoky juice. Neil Strawder, Bigmista himself, offered up a double handful of burnt ends, the charred crispy bits and sizzled fat trimmed off the brisket, the last hot link, a bit of sliced tri-tip and a chicken thigh. I got the last of the collards, I think, funky as hell in the old church dining hall tradition. If Bigmista could scrounge together a lunch this splendid from scrapings and bin-leavings, I can only marvel at the possibilities afforded by the food he actually means to sell.

Bigmista Barbecue: Sunday at the Atwater farmers market; Tues. at the Torrance farmers market; Thurs. at the El Segundo farmers market; Sat. at the Torrance farmers market. Menus, hours and preordering information available on their website.

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