Chandler's Great American BBQ and Beer Festival: The Good and the Not-So-Good
Ando Muneno Montana Q
Chandler's annual BBQ bash suffered from some initial missteps but rallied to deliver the meat + fire = delicious equation we so crave.
Saturday's noon opening time was pushed back by nearly 30 minutes, reportedly because of problems with the fire department vetting all the vendors (or because security discovered someone trying to bring in a gun, if you believed some of the hushed voices in our line).
Further, due to a lack of signage, people tended to unnecessarily bottleneck in various places. More on that later. But once inside, the venue was large enough to accommodate vendors of all sorts and a sea of hungry BBQ lovers.
Ando Muneno Montana Q's Asian inspired BBQ was one of the best things we put in our face.
TJ York admires his Raging Cajun Smoking Barbecue pulled pork loaded potato.
The soul-sucking lines at food festivals can be an exercise in madness, but thankfully not at this BBQ festival. While we were there, lines rarely took more than a couple minutes to queue through. Even better, there were plenty of vendors so it was possible to just move on to another eatery and loop back to check on busy ones later. Unlike some festivals, virtually all of the vendors here offered a $2-5 sample or a sample plate. Not only did this appeal to those of us trying for a smorgasbord of BBQ, but the ease of slapping some brisket or pulled pork into a sampler kept the lines moving.
Of course, the most important thing is the food, and here the Great American BBQ Festival delivered in spades. Both local and national BBQ professionals were represented, and all of the barbecue we sampled was excellent. Our favorite was Montana Q, whose rib tips were buttery soft and smothered in a spicy and faintly fruity sauce.