Looking for a bit more meat with your weekly produce shopping? Last Friday, Bigmista's Barbecue -- aka former banker Neil Strawder and his family -- set up shop in the prepared-foods section of the Eagle Rock farmers market, giving nearby Hawaiian Chicken some friendly competition.
For those not up on the Bigmista's craze: Last November, the Long Beach-based operation began bringing their meats (which have been smoked for eight hours), to the Watts farmers market before quickly adding a slew of others markets to their repertoire: Atwater Village, Lawndale, Torrance and El Segundo.
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"Next thing I knew I was quitting my job, this was going so well," says Strawder. That was February. On this particular July evening, the team, consisting of Strawder, his mother, his father-in-law and his wife's cousin, seemed to be off to another good start on their first visit to Eagle Rock, where they were selling $4 BBQ sandwiches and Bigmista Samplers: ribs, brisket, sausage and pulled pork for $17.
Because Strawder learned his craft from pit masters around the country via BBQ-Brethren.com, his barbecue cannot be easily categorized as Texas-style, Kansas-style or so on. "It's just Bigmista-style," he laughs.
Eventually, Strawder would like to open his own spot, a kitchen with a take-out window. For now, though, he's happy to ply appreciative carnivores with pig candy -- strips of apple-cured bacon topped with caramelized brown sugar and cayenne pepper -- before they explore what the rest of the farmers market has to offer.
Bigmista's Barbecue: every Friday, 5-9 p.m., Eagle Rock farmers market, 2200 Merton Ave.