Long Beach has plenty of breakfast spots, but none of them take the meal to the extreme that Bigmista’s Morning Wood does. Neil Strawder and his wife, Phyllis, who have filled stomachs at area farmers markets and at their Bigmista’s Barbecue & Sammich Shop, have been going big in the a.m. since last November, serving smoked meats at their restaurant between Long Beach City College and Long Beach Airport. Their logo: a pig standing on a burning log with bulging yellow eyes and a physique that suggests he might fly into a ’roid rage.
From the street, red walls resemble the color of barbecue sauce. Inside, you’ll find wood tables and five seats at a speckled counter overlooking the griddle, stove and fryer. A blackboard menu by the iPad register features meat-centric options (if you’re looking for salad, go elsewhere).
Aaron’s Fatty Benedict ($10), named for a friend of the Strawders, features a buttery sliced biscuit layered with a griddled “fatty” (smoked sausage patty), an over-easy egg and smoked sausage gravy studded with more meat and crumbled bacon.
Bigmista's Morning Wood also serves breakfast bowls made with cheesy cheddar grits, scrambled eggs and a choice of meat. Pig Candy Pancakes ($8) are topped with crumbles of maple bacon that’s been rubbed with cayenne and brown sugar.
There's also the Big Ass Breakfast ($18), which comes with pretty much everything, kind of like the Noah’s Ark of breakfasts. There's Pig Candy Pancakes, two eggs, bacon, fatty sausage and either cheesy grits or sweet potato tater tots. If you're looking for a breakfast sandwich, try the Countdown Burgers ($10); only 30 are made per day. A ground short rib and brisket patty is smoked out back, then piled with sharp cheddar, grilled onions and bacon.
Breakfast ends at 11 a.m., transitioning to barbecue plates, “sammiches” and bowls. Meats such as brisket, pulled pork, chicken and hot links get the lunch spotlight along with sides like potato salad, pineapple slaw and greens.
On Friday and Saturday nights starting at 5:30 p.m., Bigmista's Morning Wood hosts Rib Pop-Ups with potato salad, bread and as many ribs as you care to eat.